INheritage: BoE

INheritage: BoE

An arcade shooter with visual novel elements!

INHeritage: Boundary of Existence is an side-scrolling, 2D arcade shooter with rich, visual novel-style storytelling released by Tinker Games. The game is set in Bandung, Indonesia. Though the game's menu and text are written in English, it features great Indonesian voice acting. The game is free-to-play and can be played offline.

The story is set upon Nala, a young girl who became the city's protector against the otherworldly spirits called the Yaksha. After losing her bestfriend and finding herself on the verge of life and death after an encounter with an evil Yaksha, Nala was rescued by Reta, a white tiger guardian spirit. In exchange for her life, she was transformed to a guardian herself.

The gameplay is pretty simple. You'll control Nala as she flies through the city and eliminate all the evil yakshas you encounter. She starts with a default guardian spirit Reta, projectile type (focused spell), and special attack. This can be changed once you unlocked Nala's new abilities. The game clearly explains that you need to protect Nala's magic core since this is the "hitbox". To control her, you just need to drag your finger on the touchscreen. There's no virtual joystick so you can freely control her 8-directional movement. Nala will be firing her projectiles automatically. She'll be fully powered immediately so there's no need to collect additional power ups. However, destroyed enemies will drop energy orbs that she can collect to increase her score before they fly off the screen.

She'll have three shields that will disappear one by one if she gets hit. Once all the shields are removed, the next hit will kill her. The shields are permanent and they don't reset after completing a scenario. When hit, Nala will perform a counterattack where multiple slashes will appear randomly in the screen. At the end of the stage, Nala needs to defeat a Yaksha boss to complete the scenario.

Missions follow a linear storyline which are portrayed in a visual novel style. If ever Nala gets shot down in any of the scenarios, players will be given a chance to continue. If the player is unable to continue, his/her progress will be deleted and he/she needs to start again from the beginning. By default, players are given one Continue credit. The game's only microtransactions are the options to give players extra 10 continues or unlimited continues. Both options remove the intrusive ads that may appear when you're playing the game with your device connected to the internet.

The game's visual presentation is heavily influenced by Japanese visual novels. The character designs are anime-inspired yet somewhat distinguishable, especially from the local folklore they were based on. The story scenes are vividly illustrated and the background images set the mood perfectly. The scenes are also completely given life with excellent voice acting. The subtitles help non-indonesian players understand the story as it moves along. The BGM is also mesmerizing since it changes regularly and accordingly depending on the scene or location. This sets up the mood of the story perfectly.

The game is free-to-play but having only one Continue greatly limits a free player's experience in the game. It seems that the best way to fully enjoy (and complete) the game is to have unlimited continues. Adverts are intrusive since they take the whole screen. You can prevent these ads from appearing by playing the game offline. Microtransactions are limited only to two options which revolves around giving players additional Continue credits and permament ad removal. One Continue is just "too few" for a player to enjoy what the game has to offer. If the developers added more Continues for Free players and give them chance to delve deeper in the story and Nala's other powers, then it will give them more reason to spend money to unlock the full version of the game.

The game blends an interesting story narrative and fast-paced arcade shooting in an interesting formula. The ability to change Nala's powers and abilities gives players the much needed versatility though a wide range of adversaries. However, if the story fails to captivate the player, the arcade shooter portion of the game will become repetitive and too linear. It may be too much to ask for now but the game has a lot of potential. For example, having multiple endings or routes is a plus, since the game is virtually one-half visual novel. Or let the players have a linear story in their first playthrough then tease them with the hidden routes or extra endings after they complete the game.

Inheritage is a hidden gem, in terms of design and presentation. I admire the developer's simple yet beautiful design. They didn't put too many features that will mess up the menu, and they omitted non-essential stuff that may ruin what the game intended to portray. If you're a fan of visual novels or shooters, you may give this one a try.

4.3 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Apr 15th 2015

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