Recently the horror shooter snore-fest that is Inner Chains was released into the Steam store. Through a mixture of hype and stunning trailers showing off horrific yet graphically impressive landscapes, Inner Chains was set to be a great success and a fun full length feature to sink our sharp teeth into. But what the developers at Telepaths’ Tree have given us is far from expectation; we had a chance to play through the title ourselves and here’s what we thought.
A Dying Planet of Dead Gameplay
As a nameless inhabitant of a world on the brink of burning, Inner Chains takes you on a short pilgrimage to find safe haven within a hellscape. The world is a decimated mess, and from the ashes rose a strange alliance between machine and nature. Through symbiosis, bio-mechanical lifeforms prosper and prey on the helpless and oppressed remnants of humanity.
After coming to the realisation that nothing good can come from following the Caste, the ruling order of the world; you must try to reach “the last hope.” Your goal is to find sanctuary and make it there without falling victim to the humans, flora and fauna that are all hungry to see you dead.
The story told as you journey through the world of Inner Chains is a hard one to follow. Not because of complexity or deception, but because there isn’t really anything there to follow. Most of what we gathered on backstory actually came from the Steam description since very little is explained within the game itself. Again and again you’ll find odd murals of incomprehensible text. It’s not till you’re able to read them later on in the play-through that you realise that they are nothing but meaningless religious passages regarding the ruling Caste.
Where’s the Fight?
Inner Chains claims to be a FPS horror that promises exciting action and some fear inducing features. However, the only thing that’s scary, is just how boring Telepaths’ Tree managed to make the game! It’s simply dreadful; over the course of the five hours of gameplay you’ll find yourself walking, running, collecting letters, flicking switches, fighting just a handful of opponents and then walking some more.
Throughout the game you’ll meet three human foes. The victims, the Caste followers and the flame Caste. The slow zombie-like victims pose little to no threat; most of the time it’s better to just walk on by. The followers on the other hand will have to be dealt with. You’ll find that they will either choose to shoot you with arrow-like bullets or give you a bit of a shock with an electricity based weapon. Once you’re in possession of any type of weapon, these followers are easy to take down and are not considered a challenge in the slightest.
The third and final human enemy are the big boys. These beefy Caste come armed with a flamethrower of sorts, fiery enough to turn you into a smouldering mess. We found the best strategy is a well-targeted shot to their fuel tanks for an impressive explosion. We will not being going into detail about the Boss of Inner Chains, but we will say this; it’s nothing to look forward too. Be warned that periodically the game may stutter and can become very disorientating; we do hope this is fixed by the developers at a later date.
Along with the humanoid enemies you have your bio-mechanical foes and a strange canine creature that can be a little unnerving at first, but is easily defeated and doesn’t appear often. The deadly hybrid plants however do spawn all over the world, but are extremely easy to bypass; the only entertainment you’re going to get out of them is a fun trap for other mindless baddies to walk into.
Dotted around Inner Chains you’ll find charging stations and checkpoints, both taking on the form of strange plant machines. The checkpoint does as you would expect and the station will provide ammunition and replenish your health. These way-points are fairly easy to spot due to their glowing exteriors.
A Gorgeous World with Interesting Audio
Now, we have been pretty negative about Inner Chains so far, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t elements to the game that deserve merit. We were particularly impressed with the graphics and visuals that Telepaths’ Tree created. The look of the landscape was comparable to that of H.R. Giger, famous for his peculiar art-style and creation of the Xenomorph design for Alien. We often found ourselves distracted by our surroundings; enthralled by the beautifully designed backgrounds of mechanical monoliths and asteroid-ringed skylines.
In any horror game, background music and sound effects are essential to create a particular ambience and to keep us on the edge of our seats. Inner Chains only gets it half right unfortunately. The distant sounds of despair and destruction do well to provide the player with a mood well suited for an apocalyptic planet. However, the developers didn’t do so well with the individual sound effects. We found that at times our character would end up making over-exaggerated sounds that felt jarring and a little cringy. The game failed to isolate unique moments of sound, making for a mess of groans, speech and explosions blasting in our eardrums. These moments truly pulled us out of the immersion and ruined any semblance of a horror game.
After the intriguing trailers and enticing screenshots we, like many others, were highly anticipating the release of Inner Chains; and much like others we found ourselves underwhelmed and disappointed with the result. Telepaths’ Tree have clearly put their all into creating a beautiful world for the player to experience; unfortunately at the cost of sub-par audio, lifeless gameplay and extremely lacking content. At a price of £16.00, we do not recommend you purchase this item. Inner Chains get’s a no from us.