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Almost immediately after the announcement of Aspire: Ina’s Tale, they began to compare with Gris. And that was a game, as you know, not only devastatingly beautiful, but also capable of surprising with gameplay, and its dramatic, sad and at the same time bright story, supported by aching piano modulations, gave strong emotions, which in the final in my case condensed into a mean male tear. Why am I talking about Gris so much? You guessed it – because Aspire: Ina’s Tale, being a very beautiful game, will hardly surprise you with the gameplay and certainly will not lead you to the stingy male. Still, it’s not a pity to spend one evening on it.

Player cover
girl and tower
Aspire: Ina’s Tale and Gris share similar storytelling principles. And here and there we play for a girl who finds herself in an immensely beautiful, but strange and obviously unrealistic world, full of metaphors and symbols, so at first it’s not really clear what is happening here. Moreover, the girls’ relatives appear here and there – in Gris there was a mother, and in Aspire – a father, to whom the heroine seems to want to return.

The picture here is really beautiful.
But in the end, in both games, despite all this ornate symbolism, they are talking about quite understandable things. Gris is about accepting grief and wanting to color the world again with different colors, and not look at it only through the prism of black and white longing. In Aspire, the girl also at some point talks about the desire to paint the sky with colors, but her story is about freedom, about the stubborn pursuit of it, the desire to break out of prison in order to find something new, her own, even if it will be scary along the way and dangerous – it’s better to try than to be locked up.

The girl can no longer be persuaded.
The mysterious living Tower became a prison for Ina, and the girl, in turn, is the heart of the Tower. Ina slept for a long time, trapped in eternal dreams, and the Tower satisfied her hunger with her dreams. And so the girl woke up and decided to find a way out, although the Tower resists this and unleashes its guards on the heroine.

Dogs are just flowers.
I warned that the story is full of symbolism and metaphor, so take it as you wish. But the essence, I repeat, is clear – the girl woke up a dream about freedom. Another thing is that this story does not evoke the same emotional response and empathy as in Gris – it is simply less heartbreaking. Although I also want to follow her to find out how it all ends and what it was all about. Moreover, on her way to freedom, Ina meets different characters – a jester, a thief, the Architect of the Tower, and even the Guiding Light, who dissuades the girl from fleeing, but still points out the way out.

And everyone has their own memories that can be found and given to them. Not that these are finely crafted characters with their own stories, but they enliven the plot and look organic in their places.

Some need help first.
Puzzles and hide and seek
Aspire: Ina’s Tale, like Gris, is a puzzle/platformer with jumps and puzzles, but no combat. Puzzles are built on the ability of the heroine to control the spirits of the Tower and drag… well, of course, boxes. There are three spirits in total – the white sphere charges the boxes with energy so that if they are next to the pedestals, they activate them and open the doors; the green square makes the boxes grow up or in breadth, turning into a convenient bridge or into a tool for pressing two buttons on the floor at once. Finally, the purple triangle allows the boxes and platforms to move, transporting our girl and lifting her up like an elevator.

The ability to control spirits opens up gradually. And the most interesting begins closer to the end of this short story, when we need to juggle two or three spirits at once. For example, first make the box rise up, and then increase it, having previously brought another platform under the box. There can be many options, and if at first the puzzles don’t make you strain at all, then in the last third you still have to think at least a couple of times – there are really interesting situations and combinations of abilities.

Well, a special spice and tension in all this is brought by tags with guards, from whom you need to run away, hide or get rid of cunningly.

Some people are very afraid of the light.
In the final, during such sales, the ability to control spirits will come in handy. Nothing particularly complicated, but the tension is felt – and this is enough in this case. Just because this game is no longer about puzzles, and even more so not about action and chases, but about contemplation and aesthetic pleasure from the scenery.

And you can’t get rid of this guard so quickly.
Only the most convenient and obvious control when switching between spirits can upset, which is especially unpleasant just in such situations that require speed. And a couple of times the dialogs didn’t activate or the icon of the desired button didn’t appear on the screen – I had to reboot from the last checkpoint or connect / disconnect the gamepad.

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