Inner Vision, a flixel visual novel, from debuting developer Sunil Rao, tackles one of the most important subjects, and one of the most difficult to do justice: suicide. Based on the author's own experiences with depression, Inner Vision presents you with three individuals contemplating killing themselves, and asks you to talk with them. Obviously, you cannot hope to solve all their problems in the course of a single conversation, but maybe the responses you click might help in some small way, and that's enough. Whenever a game designer explores a serious theme, they face the dual concerns that either the subject matter will overwhelm concerns of quality design, or that aspects of the medium will prevent the subject being given its due respect. As a very short and very personal game, Inner Vision does succeed in maintaining that precious balance.
The game's prose has the sense of genuineness that can only come from personal experience, and, going by the response so far, what it has to say has struck a chord with quite a few people. What's more, while the game faces its subject with compassion, any sentimentality is undercut by the presenter of the story, Yama, a cigarette-puffing skeletal-embodiment of discouragement and a truly vicious piece of work. You'll either want to see more of him real soon, or never again ever. Admittedly, the themes of Inner Vision make an objective review difficult: those who see something of themselves in the characters of the game will, of course, be much more willing to forgive the occasionally clunky writing. But, if nothing else, Inner Vision gives a sympathetic peek into the minds of people afflicted with depression. It's not at all subtle about its message, but it's one many deserve to hear: "You are not alone."