Aspire: Ina’s Tale Review

To sleep, perchance to dream… and in the waking what will come?

The answer to that question lies in Aspire: Ina’s Tale: a little adventure, puzzle platformer with some rather exceptional music.

Ina is a young woman who has been sleeping and dreaming in a tower for an unknown amount of time. For some vague reason, she has finally awoken, and now she must traverse the tower in order to escape and return to her village.

Along the way, Ina will bump into a few other characters who are also trapped—in their own ways—in the tower. Most offer helpful advice on how to get out, but some are determined to keep her where she is. 

Charismatic NPCs.

Ina must creep through dark dungeons, jump around a beautiful forest, and even manipulate the spirits of the tower to escape its clutches. All the while discovering how she’s changed from who she was, and where she will fit into the world after she escapes.

Before the Tower, Ina was the spiritual guide/priestess of her village; this has given her the power to communicate with spirits. Pressing and holding X will pull the selected spirit to Ina, and pressing X will attach the spirit to any possible nearby object. Since this is a 2D platforming game, you’ll also be relying on the jump button (B) a whole lot to get around.

Unfortunately, there are some small frame rate issues, and while this isn’t a precision, high-speed game like Super Meat Boy, it can still make some of the more precise platforming unnecessarily frustrating. There are some intense scenes where Ina must run from scary foes, and those kinds of adrenaline-fuelled situations never benefit from performance issues. 

Ask and ye shall receive… the spirit’s blessing.

The game suffers from a few minor glitches too. I experienced one room where I was supposed to flip a switch to make an elevator platform rise, but the switch wouldn’t respond to any button presses. These situations create frustration and wasted time; you think you forgot something and go on a wild goose chase through the area you just cleared when the only thing that works is resetting the game. I also had it crash on me at one point. 

But checkpoints are extremely frequent so, luckily, there is never the fear of losing a lot of progress. 

The game has a slow progression, and a low difficulty cap. There are a few new elements added to the platforming as you go, but nothing that will challenge any hardcore platforming fan. 

Discussing what is going on with the characters you meet, and trying to figure out the world around Ina is quite interesting. Unfortunately, these character conversations are few and, because of the metaphorical nature of the story, none of your questions will be concretely answered. This might frustrate some gamers, but others may enjoy the fact that a game about a girl who has been dreaming feels like a dream itself. 

How do you really know if you’re awake or dreaming?

There are some things to love about Aspire: Ina’s Tale, namely, the art and the music. The artwork is so lovely, and there is a different theme and colour palette for each area that helps convey the feel of each level. For example, the dungeons are dark and grey and full of plenty of vertical bar-like shapes, while the forest is full of curves, rich browns and delicate pinks that give off a more tranquil vibe. 

And the music is stellar! The person tickling the ivories for Aspire: Ina’s Tale is a definite professional, and you’ll likely find yourself getting goosebumps every now and then simply because of how well the music accompanies each scene. 

Come to Aspire: Ina’s Tale for the art, and stay for the music. 

Aspire: Ina's Tale £11.69


Aspire: Ina’s Tale is easy on the eyes and ears, but a little harder on the hands. A short and sweet little puzzle platformer, while it doesn’t present a challenge, the art and soundtrack are worth sticking around for.