Before I start, there will be no spoilers here. I’ll mention very little about the plot and the screenshots are from very early in the game, so fear not!
I’ll cut to the chase with this one. Inside is as near to perfect as you could hope a game to be. This is the next game from Playdead, the team that made the wonderful Limbo, and this takes everything from that game and improves on it. Most importantly of all (for me anyway) is just how atmospheric it is. Every moment, every scene, drips with personality and little details that create a world worth exploring. After finishing it, I went back through some of my favourite areas again just to see if there was anything I missed (there was). You might be able to tell early on that this is going to be a very positive write up.
You play a young boy, seemingly trying to break into a mysterious complex.
Inside is a puzzle platformer at heart, which is normally something that would put me off. I’m not a fan of timing based leaps of faith, or awkward multi-level puzzles. Maybe I’m not smart enough or too impatient to figure them out, but I’m just not a fan. Here though, the puzzles are pitched just right for me. They’re not overly complex, but there’s just enough depth to them to give you that satisfying ‘Aha!’ moment when you work out what to do. They mostly involve moving platforms around, throwing objects, or using other characters in certain ways (I’ll say no more!). They never get to the point where they block your progress for long, allowing you to move the story forward. The game is very well paced in that regard. The controls are sharp and will rarely cause you to slip up. Any mistakes you make will likely be your own.
The world the game builds is quite mysterious and deliberately explains very little.
Much like Limbo, there is a story here but it’s not 100% clear what it is. Nothing is explained to you. There is no dialog, no text, just visual cues that hint at what this world is all about. Every scene has a disturbing, bleak atmosphere that demands to be explored in the hopes you can glean a little more information about just what is happening and why is this boy involved. I’m not going to say much for fear of spoiling anything, but the characters and locations you come across suggest a very dark world, and the may well leave you with a lot of questions about the game, and yourself.
Most of the game appears in a very muted colour scheme.
The world is mostly very dark as you travel through the various environments, but the occasional shaft of sunlight will highlight stark colours and give a brief moment of respite from the oppressive atmosphere. The characters themselves have a simplistic look to them, but it’s the animations where the game excels. Every movement is stunningly lifelike, little animations such as your character looking at something odd in the background, or crouching and placing his hands on a wall when someone is searching for him. Deaths also receive a lot of detailed animation and are somewhat unpleasant when you consider your character is a child. Whilst graphics are absolutely not everything in a game, but when they are done well, in such a unique way, they do nothing but improve the experience.
A rare splash of colour will give you a moment of hope in this dire world.
Inside was developed and published by Playdead. I played the game on XBox One and would recommend this to anyone. This is an experience that you will remember for a long time and is absolutely worth your time and money. A must buy to my mind!