Hunted and alone, a boy finds himself drawn into the center of a dark project.
GAME NAME: INSIDE
PLATFORM(S): PC, Xbox One
GENRE(S): Action, Adventure, Indie
RELEASE DATE(S): 7 Jul, 2016 (Steam)
Hunted and alone, a boy finds himself drawn into the center of a dark project. – From Steam Description
Please note this review may contain spoilers.
As you can see from the extremely short Steam description of INSIDE, this is a game that requires very little saying about it, you cannot talk about INSIDE without potentially spoiling INSIDE.
INSIDE is a game where you play as a boy and like the Steam description states, you find yourself drawn into the centre of a dark project, something that is bigger than yourself, something larger than your understanding and I will try not to say too much about the story itself as spoiling it would spoil the game for you which would reflect negatively on my score of the game.
When LIMBO was released I purchased it on both Xbox 360 and I played it, I didn’t know what to expect and pretty much went in blind, only looking at a few screenshots which interested me further into purchasing the game, a fantastic decision, that was six years ago and in the past six years we have been many games attempt to convey an atmosphere and sense of dread that LIMBO managed to and fail.
Now, Playdead, the creators of LIMBO have released their next title, INSIDE and they have managed to show everyone that they are the masters at telling an atmospheric and extraordinary story without saying a single word.
INSIDE is in a very similar vein to LIMBO, it is a sidescrolling puzzle platformer where you play as a child and you’re running away from something, you don’t know what it is and you never get told what it is or what you even need to achieve but the game explains it to you slowly throughout the story and learning in this manner without being told a single thing is extremely satisfying, the game is realised in 3D, it features subtle but convincing colours, a very muddy look that helps convey the sense of dread but also enough colour in the right places to give a sense of wonder as to what is happening, you really get a sense that you are in the presence of something bigger than you.
SPOILER ALERT UP AHEAD!
The puzzles within the game are challenging but not frustratingly difficult, a lot of the game relies on trial and error, the game will get you to trip up somewhere in order to teach you a lesson that you need to learn in order to progress, for example: In the opening few minutes of the game, as you are running there is a log that you are unaware of and haven’t been made aware of, going into this game blind, only predisposed to the footage on the game’s store page you will trip over this log and you will experience the consequences of doing so, this in turn teaches you about the importance of progressing, escaping and being aware of your surroundings.
A lot of the puzzles put you in similar trial and error situations to this and when you realise what the game is trying to tell you, the puzzles are straight forward but also very clever, each puzzle will use elements of what you have been previously taught in order for you to progress but it doesn’t place you in situations where you require a certain amount of skill to achieve something, it will never give you a gap to jump that you can only make if you’re skilled enough to jump at the right time, it will, however use the surroundings to make you believe this is the case and that you’re escaping situations by the skin of your teeth
The game looks extremely impressive, even for the simplistic art style that it showcases, every single piece of this game has been crafted with such care and attention that it all looks and works together beautifully, in some places even stunning and I found myself quite shocked at how fantastic and real the world looked and felt.
Now I haven’t mentioned the controls but do I need to? The game uses the same mechanics as LIMBO did and even though you’re now in a 3D environment, the controls are just as tight as LIMBO and in some of the platforming sections feel even better than LIMBO did, I played the game with my Steam controller using the official configuration from Playdead and it was a pleasure to play.
INSIDE is a game that I would recommend everyone play, even if you don’t think it is your cup of tea, it is an experience you need to have, whether you hate puzzles in games, whether you hate platformers, you will appreciate INSIDE. By saying nothing the game speaks volumes, it expresses feelings that many games with extortionate budgets could only hope to achieve, it grips you and will not let you go until the very end, it is creepy and will envelop you with a sense of dread but also hope but most of all it is easy and fun to play.
– Fantastic Atmosphere
– Great sound design
– Brilliant story
– Solid controls
– Not too difficult but still felt like a challenge
– Has secrets to keep you playing
– Somewhat similar in control and narrative to LIMBO
– I experienced a few crashes playing with Steam Link
– The game ends (I was hoping it wouldn’t)
Thanks for reading and good gaming.