Inside, the latest from Playdead Games, developers of the massive indie hit Limbo, is a side scrolling adventure game where you play as a nameless red shirted kid as he goes through the most rigorous and terrible moments of his life. You will be attacked by vicious dogs, random strangling strangers and creatures that can’t even be explained. The difference between Inside and Limbo is that with Inside you’re trying to liberate people who have been kidnapped by a cult.
In an industry that seems to shy away from taking risks and stick with the mundane, Inside is a breath of fresh air that keeps you guessing through the entire experience. Every chase is intense, every puzzle is challenging but rewarding, and you won’t predict anything that will happen next no matter how you think the game is unfolding. There were so many moments when I was pressing the keys harder than I needed because of how nerve-wrecking the gameplay can be. For example, there’s a puzzle that involves you tricking an underwater nightmare demon into going into the wrong side of the pool so that she’s farther away. After that you have to jump into the opposite side and out swim her.
The puzzles are clever and while they’re not extremely challenging they still make you think. From floating air boxes, naked lemming people, and tricking dogs so that they don’t rip your limbs off, there’s plenty of variety within the game to keep it feeling fresh. The controls are very simple and work really well with solving each puzzle. For the PC version, you only have to use the arrow keys and the right CTRL button. Sometimes I would forget about the CTRL button but it can easily be changed to whatever you’re comfortable with.
The graphics in the game are simplistic, but very beautiful. The characters have no faces but you can still hear the emotions that the characters are going through. Every ten minutes I was playing the game I kept saying wow to what I was seeing. From the lush forests from the start to the beautiful ocean at the end there’s always something gorgeous to see. I will say however, that a few times the environment was too dark and I couldn’t see anything. It only happens very rarely but it’s still a tad bit of a problem.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say if you enjoy the weird, paranormal, and downright freaky, then definitely consider spending the $20 on this title. A drawback of Inside is that it’s roughly 3 hours long from start to finish and has no replay value. However, the game is so well executed that it will stick with you far longer than most. This will be something that people talk about for years to come and is quite possibly one of the best games I have played this year. It may not be for everyone, but it’s still an experience that deserves a fair chance.
Review copy courtesy of Playdead Games