Finally, game developer and publisher Playdead gave their fans a unique experience reminiscent of the developer’s famed Limbo which released in 2010. When I had played Limbo years ago, I was extremely impressed with the creativity and uniqueness within the gameplay, story and art direction. Being a game developer myself in the artistic discipline, I found experiences such as Limbo refreshing and inspiring. Playdead’s new title, Inside, which I played on PS4, did not fail in delivering a unique, surreal and sometimes creepy storytelling experience.
Inside is a puzzle platformer style game where you play as an escaped boy in a scary, relentless, and unforgiving world. The story unfolds exclusively through the wonderfully crafted environments and visuals. The environments speak volumes in their subtle yet detailed design and artistic use of shape and light. The eerie and methodically placed lighting has a key role in developing the sense of space, depth and scale while adding to the creepiness factor of the game. The game is largely monochromatic with occasional color subtly sprinkled throughout the environment, sometimes emphasizing interactables or other details. Simply put, this game is gorgeous to look at and expertly crafted in such a way that the visuals are also a part of the narrative. The sound of Inside is composed by Martin Stig Andersen, who worked on the music for Limbo. Martin’s ability to create such uncanny and beautiful sounds perfectly compliments the gameplay and helps tell this mysterious story.
Inside is a pretty linear platformer (again, think Limbo) with interesting puzzles to solve along the way. The player controls the unknown boy with various actions within the environment while avoiding guards and other hostiles, moving objects, swimming and more. Like Limbo, death is usually imminent, so the player has to avoid a lot of situations that might get them killed.
For those of you who like exploration, there are a number of achievements to unlock along the way that can be easily missed via hidden rooms and bunkers. Playdead has also added an alternate ending as a treat to players who explore all of these areas.
Inside should take about 2-3 hours to complete yet the game is extremely memorable and satisfying and leaves one with the feeling of the unknown. If you want an experience that will instantly captivate you with beautiful visuals, smooth design and an alluring narrative, Inside is definitely a masterpiece to enjoy.
My Rating: 5/5
Inside is available on PS4, XBox One, and Steam for $20. Be sure to check it out!