INSPIRE Review – Self-sabotage at its finest

Reviewed April 14, 2024 on PC




April 12, 2024


Husman Games


Nick Husman

A futuristic top-down shooter that allows you to play with different technological combinations sounds cool on the surface. Exploring new environments, taking down enemies, and improving your abilities as you progress further amplifies that promise. But these ideas must be executed correctly or you can run into several problems that interfere with the experience. INSPIRE might look cool but unfortunate problems appear shortly after you start playing.

Wielding a variety of weapons and experimenting with different modifiers is fun. Figuring out the optimal way to battle enemies is engaging. Different lands also offer new enemies to battle. The combat system has numerous quirks, however the story and navigation are essentially non-existent. INSPIRE sounds great on the surface, but it’s impossible to ignore the problems or let them pass.

INSPIRE puts you in the shoes of a Collector, someone who does odd tasks for money. While you are out on a job, an alien invasion begins and it’s up to you to defeat it. The Collector fights their way to the alien’s landing site to battle the leader and stop the invasion in its tracks. Since the aliens went all-in with their invasion, they are destroyed and only a few remnants are left. As a summary, the story makes sense. In the game itself, the story is almost non-existent.

The Collector doesn’t have missions from the organisation or some overall motivation to save everyone. You happen to be in the wrong place at the right time, and suddenly it’s up to you to stop the alien invasion. There’s no build-up, exposition, or explanation to give context. The burden of saving your city and the world falls on you because you are the player. It’s not a strong start and doesn’t clarify any details as you progress.

INSPIRE begins like a typical RPG with a character trying to make their way in the world. Then very quickly that setup is thrown out the window once the aliens arrive. Even if you defeat the alien leader, your hard-fought effort isn’t acknowledged, with your accomplishments seemingly brushed aside and feeling anti-climatic. It’s odd to throw out the plot, especially when the game isn’t that long to begin with.

If you know what you’re doing, INSPIRE only takes about an hour to finish. As if the game is aware of that fact, it deliberately makes navigation unclear. Getting to the final boss and finding other locations is obscure and you waste precious time finding everything. You don’t have arrows telling you where to go or learn how to transition to different areas. It’s as if the game wants you to get lost to artificially extend the game length.

The different lands are exciting to explore but it’s easy to get lost. Enemies are present everywhere and you don’t have much time to verify your location. But the map never shows your present position, only verifying you are in an area. It’s up to you to use the landmarks to narrow down your location. You also don’t transition through areas; you must find gates to go from one area to another. That’s also assuming the environment’s odd graphic glitch doesn’t slow you down.

INSPIRE doesn’t pause when you open your inventory or map, leaving you vulnerable to enemies. Unless you know what you want, it’s easy to get killed just because you were taking your time. That leaves less time to figure out where you are and more time trying to figure out where to go.

Combat in INSPIRE has its strengths but it can also be clunky. You can fly around, use a flashlight, or fire missiles. Your jetpack is useful for quick escapes but you don’t move much faster than enemies. You have a flashlight but it’s almost pointless since night visibility is already decent. Missiles can be used anytime but they also cut off the jetpack’s usage. Rather than being an assistant, it’s a tool. Your main form of combat is your weapon but it’s not as great as it sounds.

You start with laser pistols but can purchase various armaments at the store. Not only is the store difficult to find, earning money isn’t easy either. Enemies occasionally drop money and you can find it in belongings but the intention is to have you fight to earn your weapons. You can also harvest resources to sell but those are rare.

Shooting at enemies is easy and they have several attack patterns. The enemy types change depending on the area. One area focuses on fire, another with electricity, and a third area with poison. There’s decent variety to work with but weapons don’t always work as you imagine. For example, the grenade launcher has odd physics where a projectile is lobbed at an enemy and must land before any damage is dealt. It makes combat difficult since you don’t know how your weapon reacts.

Enemy attacks also have weird physics. Lasers can occasionally pierce through rocks, hitboxes don’t always match up, and you can get stuck in the environment. Despite the fun you get from customising different weapon options, there’s almost no reward to combat. It’s often easier to run away than battle because fighting doesn’t have a point. Combat feels pointless outside of testing, stripping the charm away as a result.

There is nice electronic music when you fight, but unless a swarm of enemies attacks you rarely hear it. Boss fights or Sentian Obelisk battles are your only chance of hearing music for long periods of time. Otherwise, it’s the soothing ambient music of nature that isn’t balanced evenly with combat.

INSPIRE tries to be something great but it trips over itself in several ways. The game fails to live up to its potential and is easily finished within an hour. There’s not much of a reason to keep playing, though there’s certainly potential to learn and improve the next time.




  • Environments have a beautiful design
  • It's fun customising your weapons
  • Soundtrack is banging... though also fleeting


  • Combat is more frustrating than enjoyable
  • Game is very short, takes you around an hour to finish
  • Navigation guides are non-existent which forces you to explore

INSPIRE could have been great fun but it holds itself back in many ways. Despite having a nice soundtrack, beautiful environments, and a decent shooting experience, the many flaws drag the title down. It’s too easy to get lost, difficult navigation feels like a deliberate design choice, and combat ends up being frustrating. It doesn’t help that the non-existent story is confusing and is quickly thrown out the window. There’s a lot of potential INSPIRE squanders, which is a shame given the promising ideas.