Here we go with another title that has been out on PC for a while already and now is out there for console owners to give a go. That title is The Inner Friend and is the latest one to get out there from Playmind on the PS4 and Xbox One. It garnered some great praise the first time it launched, so it only made sense to give it all a go on the consoles here. Something that can be hit or miss in general and now we get to see if The Inner Friend still holds up. That is why we are back with another review out there and this time to see if this "experimental psychological horror" title is just the next title to add on in there.
I cannot really go into the depths of the story for The Inner Friend here, as that is one of the core aspects of the game. The basics I can give are that you are playing what seems to be the inner "friend" of a different character that is going through all of the memories of the past. Well, more of the traumatic ones to help narrate what happened and lead to where the game ends. That sounds very generic, sure, but it what is needed to make sure you can go into The Inner Friend with as many blinders on as possible.
The biggest issue I seemed to keep running into for The Inner Friend here is the fact that it was designed for the PC and it shows when going with the console controllers. The main character you get to play with moves a lot like a tank to start and then flows into something a bit more fluid. This would be perfectly fine if some of the puzzles mixed in did not require a bit of precision to make it through. Specifically, some of the platforming sections where you can land looking a different way and pressing backward or forwards can make the character lurch in the direction based on the current direction the character is facing instead of what is intended. It is something you can learn to deal with, but it is extremely annoying when trying to make it through some of the more shocking sections.
The next biggest gripe for The Inner Friend all stems into something that could have been a huge selling point. Many titles out there pride themselves on not holding hands in a game. That is something that goes down in The Inner Friend here. Unfortunately, in other titles, there is some kind of context to things to help you figure out what to do. Something glowing in one section that stands out or some kind of environmental queue to drive you forward. Those seem to be missing in the game here and it is easy to lose focus of what is going on. Not a huge deal when exploring the world, but when you need to run away from dangers, it is something that is needed so you can make it through without getting a game over screen every 15 seconds.
Without going too deep into it all, I will have to praise that story delivery in The Inner Friend and the story in general. It touches on some of the things that many could ignore in a real human's life that can direct how they currently live. If that makes sense at all. The game takes a deeper look into some of the trauma that can cause later issues in life and The Inner Friend walks us through something that could be a therapy session for many out there. It hits home and makes one think about things. At least it did for me here. It is something to know here before diving in as that could lead to it not being a title for everyone.
The next thing I found was fun in The Inner Friend was the look and feel of the world and characters here. You can see some of it from the images and videos out there to get a better understanding but all of which is also telling for parts of the story. The main character we get to play as is always shifting and a partial being to a mostly hollow creature and it all looks to flow in well with what is going on with the story. Something else that goes well for The Inner Friend in terms of the enemies and other things in the world. It all feels like the distortion a memory can have for things when making things the horrific being we can imagine them as. Even if they are based on something a bit more human out there.
I mentioned it before, but The Inner Friend is not going to be a game for everyone out there. It is a bit more on the psychological side of things than the horror side of it all. The story can be hard to follow for some, but the target audience here will fully understand what the developers were aiming for when all is said and done. That is how it felt for me at the very least. That is not to say that others out there cannot find any kind of deeper thing in The Inner Friend, but that is what you should focus on before giving the game a go. Especially when you look at how the controls moved over from the PC to the consoles here. The story is what will make you stick with the game if you cannot learn to manage the controls.
I give The Inner Friend 20 Hidden Objects on the Hidden Object scale.
The Inner Friend — Launch Trailer
The Inner Friend was developed and published by Playmind for the PS4 and Xbox One on April 28th, 2020. The PC version launched on September 6nd 2018. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.