INheritage: Boundary of Existence
If games were evaluated on first impressions alone, INheritage would be an instant ten. The care and attention to detail lavished on its presentation is commendable, and obvious from its opening cut scene, a beautifully drawn, anime-style affair, complete with score and voice over. It lays the foundations for the story, a fantasy revenge narrative in which a schoolgirl (Nala), traumatised by the death of her sister at the claws of a monster, is tasked with defending her city against further attacks. She’s accompanied by Reta, a tiger and mentor of sorts, whose interactions with Nala form the core of the story.
This narrative serves as a framing device for a series of side scrolling shoot-em-up battles. The controls are as intuitive as you’d expect, with Nala and her companion manipulated via your device’s touchscreen around waves of demons, all the while hurling a steady stream of energy at them. The enemies respond with coils of their own ammunition, many of which will require some complicated finger acrobatics to dodge. It’s chaotic, fast-paced and, thanks to creative character design and sharp colours, just as aesthetically pleasing as that opening cut scene.
The game doesn’t bore, but nor does it invigorate, instead choosing to adhere closely to the well-worn grooves of what has come before. Side scrolling shooters (as both a genre, and a mechanic implemented into other games) are common enough for most gamers to have encountered them previously, and to be familiar with how they play. This familiarity is tapped into, but never elaborated upon, never enhanced with a fresh idea or mechanic. There are a few additional features (some unlockable weapons and companions, as well as Game Center integration), but they don’t add much to what is, fundamentally, a very simple experience.
The simple nature of the levels is also at odds with the flashiness of the presentation, particularly the story. Despite a number of dramatic narrative developments, the mechanics don’t develop along with it – level one is, apart from a difficulty boost and some new enemies, pretty much the same as the final level. This disparity leaves the game between two stools, with a story crying out for a more complementary set of mechanics, and a set of mechanics crying out for more depth. Neither side is satisfied, and the game itself never fully satisfies as a result.
If you happen to be in the market for a simple shooter, though, you could do worse than INheritage. Its animation, voice acting and polished presentation are exemplary, and fans of anime should find much to appreciate in the storytelling. It’s just a shame that, for all its crisp technical proficiency, the actual experience of playing the game doesn’t quite live up to the splendour of its packaging.