General game information
Game name: Inner Chains
Release date: May 18, 2017
Price: US$ 19.99
Available on: Steam
Genre: First person shooter
Developer: Telepaths Tree
Inner Chains is a first person shooter set in a strange world where leftovers of past technology have merged with biological life, creating a weird biomechanical environment. Humanity has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former glory, with a local cult controlling the population through their knowledge of old technology, and it’s up to the player to find a way of getting out of this wasteland alive.
Setting and story
The world of Inner Chains is a dark, desolate place full of remains of earlier civilizations. Destroyed rocketships loom in the distance, telling us that humanity may not have originated in this planet, but aside from what we can infer from visual cues, there isn’t a lot going on as regards story. The game uses a made up language with its own alphabet, and without finding the letters which are scattered through the map, we won’t be able to read any ingame written texts.
The player’s main aim is to leave this weird planet behind, as the ruling caste of priests believes that the world is rotten and it can’t be saved. In order to achieve this goal, we will need to travel through dangerous places full of enemies and treacherous biomechanical flora.
Sadly, even though the made up language is a nice touch, the story is poorly presented and all but incomprehensible.
Inner Chains starts like a walking simulator, forcing the player to visit a number of locales without having any weapons equipped. During this section, the only real enemy will be the planet’s flora (strange tentacle-like plants that will lash out at us if we come in contact with them) and while we won’t be able to kill them, some NPCs may help us along the way. After this relatively short segment is over, we’ll obtain an electricity based weapon which will feed on our life force if it runs out of ammunition. Sadly, the game’s combat isn’t a fun affair. Human enemies will run towards us like headless chicken, and the biomechanical fauna will lash out at us if we get in range. Later down the line we’ll acquire two more weapons, a flamethrower of sorts and some kind of gun, but the core of the combat stays the same (the only new addition is that we can burn the tentacle plants). A melee option is also available, but considering that the enemies always react the same way when being hit by our punches (and that they die slower than when hit by our ranged weaponry) I tried to avoid relying on it.
Aside from fighting enemies from time to time, we’ll have to solve some light puzzles and find letters if we intend to read ingame texts.
If we get hurt or run out of ammo we’ll have to find some biomechanical terminals which interface with our body/weapon and will replenish our life force and ammunition supply for specific guns.
Graphics, sound and performance
Inner Chains is beautiful in its own twisted way. The game’s environments are incredibly detailed and the texture work is excellent. Lighting effects are also very well done, and the weapon models fit the art style perfectly. Sadly, performance is a big issue here. I wasn’t able to hold 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution on a rig that should be more than capable of that (Ryzen 7 1700, 32GB, GTX 1070) and I also experienced frequent stuttering and a fair share of crashes.
The soundtrack is competent if a bit forgettable, and the sound effects are relatively good, fitting the dark and foreboding atmosphere well.
Inner Chains‘ excellent art style is its only redeeming feature, as Telepaths Tree‘s debut first person shooter suffers from awful gameplay, poor storytelling and widespread performance issues.
3/10 – Poor.