Aspire: Ina’s Tale is a new puzzle side-scrolling game created by Wondernaut Studio and published by Untold Tales, and we were given a copy for the Nintendo Switch to try out.
In Aspire: Ina’s Tale, you play as titular character Ina, a young girl who is being held captive in a mysterious tower that feeds off its captive’s dreams. Waking up, she ventures onward to discover who she is and what secrets the tower holds. As you progress you will encounter other captive characters that ask for assistance, each wanting to learn about themselves in order to learn about their ties to each other and the tower. Ina discovers that she can harness the power of light energy, and this is used to solve puzzles and fend off the darkness and the creatures that also dwell inside the tower.
Aspire: Ina’s Tale is your basic 2D platformer with lots of platforming and puzzle-solving, either with pressure pads, light energy, or moving boxes to gain height for jumps. The puzzles themselves are fairly straightforward, and once you learn how the light energy section works, there will be puzzles requiring you to light multiple things at once. Seeing as you only have enough power to do one at a time, you’ll really need to get your thinking hat out.
The graphics are beautiful, and while the character designs and animations may not be the most complex compared to other games, the colour palette is dynamic and vibrant. Each area you will come across has its own unique look, and at times the camera will pull back and give a larger view of the tower itself, and it is amazing to see the sheer scale of it. As beautiful as the graphical design is, the audio takes it to the next level.
While there is a lack of spoken dialogue, the real masterpiece is the soundtrack. The music composed for Aspire: Ina’s Tale matched perfectly with any events unfolding at the time. They start off with some relaxing piano melodies, but as the game moves forwards and you are in darker areas, the relaxing piano will amp up and become mixed with the beastly growls of your pursuer. It is just a chef’s kiss.
The control scheme for Aspire: Ina’s Tale is easy to learn, but in saying that, I did happen to notice more than once that the action involving the depositing the energy spark seemed to randomly change from hold down to a simple press. This resulted in a few deaths for me, as it either didn’t line up on hitbox or by the wrong use of action command. The game itself is fairly easy when you get a good base knowledge of what to look out for, particularly when it comes to jumping gaps and climbing ledges, and it could have been harder towards the end, but that’s just my opinion.
In conclusion, Aspire: Ina’s Tale was an engaging and fun experience. The ending was predictable but the journey from start to finish was worth it. I definitely would recommend it to players that love the 2D-based puzzle games.
- Unique and gripping story
- Amazing work on the graphical elements
- The audio and soundtrack are perfect
- Good range of puzzles that were not overly hard
- Slight issue with depositing energy sparks in puzzles
- Needed a difficulty spike toward the end
- The ending was easy to predict