Inochi Project First Look
By Nathaniel Liles
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you guys have been frequenting the site, you may have seen an announcement that I wrote for a game called Inochi Project that has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign. For their initial goal of just £30,000, Forward For hopes to bring us one of the most customizable games of all time, centered on robots whose parts can be swapped and combined in millions of different ways. Combine that with gameplay centered on obtaining even more parts and a Pokémon-style combat system, and we might just have a hit on our hands. I took the liberty of trying out the free demo of Inochi Project that can be accessed through their Kickstarter page or by clicking this link to get a better idea of how everything works in practice. What I played was merely an early alpha, but do the signs of a good game exist within the demo already? Let’s take a look and see what we can expect from Inochi Project.
The demo is divided up into three sections: Character Creation, Overworld Exploration/Training, and Battles. I’ll cover each one in detail, paragraph by paragraph, starting with the character creation tools. If you’ve played Spore, you’re halfway there already, and a couple areas of the interface are extremely similar to Spore, but the art style that this game follows is very different and highly unique. Everything is robotic and based off of an animal, with some of the animals in the alpha being a small chick, an orangutan, a crocodile, a small rabbit, and a panda. There’s one other base model, maybe a puma, but I don’t know for sure. It looks like a puma, but no name is given and it walks on its hind legs. After choosing your base model, you can change out parts at will, switching in a panda head on a bird’s body with a left wing and a right arm. You can also go with legs or wheels, and your right-side limbs don’t have to match your left-side limbs, although if you want wheels, they come as a set. You can also apply textures and colors to the various bits and pieces of yourself and create some pretty great things. This alpha kit alone has more customization than most MMORPGs do at character creation, so this demo is off to a good start.
Now let’s talk about the navigation. Navigating the overworld and the game’s skill building system are both demonstrated in the “Training Area” segment of the demo. Unfortunately, since this is an early alpha, you can’t play as the robot you create in the character builder, but that’s okay because the demo lets you play as the chick, which is adorable and fun. The overworld character controls surprisingly well, I must say, and navigating the little racetrack provided is really fun. Playing through this demo a second time, I still made a dozen laps around the track when I booted the demo back up because it’s just fun to play this game. There’s also a bit of shooting, but it’s a bit boring and I didn’t do much. It’s a cannon-based gallery shooter with a crosshair that doesn’t mean anything, but it serves its purpose. What’s the purpose, then? Building up your stats. Every checkpoint you pass on the racetrack gives you experience points in your Speed stat, and every target you hit with the cannon boosts your Aggression stat. It works a bit like Skyrim; use a skill, that skill becomes stronger.
Combat plays out just like Pokémon, and it works really well. It actually gets a bit more interesting than Pokémon at times, because you can choose your moveset from an ever-expanding pool of moves before every battle, being able to adapt to every situation and encourage experimentation by allowing you to use different skills without sacrificing old ones in the long run. It embraces Inochi Project’s focus on customization in a really nice way.
Final verdict, I would definitely put Inochi Project on your watch list. It has a great art style, quirky music, and enough customization and promise to make this a highly successful game. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in the demo, but if you’re not quite sold yet, I encourage you to go on over to Kickstarter to check the campaign out yourself, and if you like what you see, maybe give the demo a try.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nathaniel.jpg” ] Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free at http://nathanielliles.bandcamp.com/. [/author]