Inside – Review

Six years have passed since Playdead’s intimidating platformer Limbo hit the charts. Since then, their debut game took over all platforms by storm, constituting the perfect example of how indie games can keep pace with big budget titles. Can Inside follow this premise, or will it perish in its self-induced limbo of expectations?

Everything’s a spoiler

Writing a review about a game that can be completed in about three hours is terribly difficult. Every single piece of content will affect you differently when it takes you by surprise – and Inside has a lot of such moments to offer. The game left me speechless several times, and one what-the-fuck-moment followed the other. If there’s something to say about this game that doesn’t take away too much from the actual experience, then it’s the gameplay and the great visuals. Inside obviously feels quite Limbo-esque, with dark two-dimensional platforming and lots of clever puzzles to solve. This title, however, doesn’t rely as much on platforming skills as Limbo did, resulting in less moments of frustration and being stuck.

INSIDE_01

Calm but intense

Presentation-wise, it follows the exact footsteps of Playdead’s previous work. Inside is dark, grim and uses almost no background music – only subtle background noises and sound effects will accompany you on most of your way, leaving you in constant tension and alertness. At the same time, it doesn’t feel too much like Limbo. While picturing violence in the same disturbing way, it differs in enough ways to make me feel like playing a new game, rather than a successor of an old one.

INSIDE_02

On the run

Maybe I have to reconsider my statement from before. I couldn’t even spoil the story in one sentence if I would want to. The boy in Inside is escaping, but in spite of completing the game, I’m not exactly sure why. Backstory and context is non-existent, so that everyone can build their own story around the happenings of this game. And simply because there’s so much room for interpretation, the ending Playdead presents is quite unclear, weirdly executed, and left me deeply unsatisfied. Sure, there’s a second ending to this game, but the first one failed to top the brilliant setup off.

INSIDE_03

It’s inside your mind

Inside is a truly terrifying piece of art, which left me speechless more than once. Just like its predecessor, it combines beautiful yet disturbing imagery with a story devoid of actual words, which consequently leaves a lot of room for own theories and interpretation. It perfectly compares to a famous painting – most of the people will be stunned by its art style, but only a few of them will believe to fully understand its meaning.

What we liked:

  • Breathtaking atmosphere
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Spot-on soundtrack
  • Grim setting

What we didn’t like:

  • Unsatisfying conclusion

9 rating

Shinigaming

This review was written using a Xbox One review code provided by Playdead. What do you think of artsy games? Does Inside appeal to you? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

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