You are a boy. You are in the woods. You need to keep moving. This is how Inside, the puzzle-platformer developed and published by independent studio Playdead, starts off. No words are spoken as you navigate the towns, sewers, and buildings ahead of you. Inside instead has you draw your own conclusions as to what is happening around you.
Certain things are a given, men with blank faces and guns are not your friend. However, the real fun in Inside comes from piecing together the situation in which you have found yourself. Where are you going? Why are you going there? Why don’t people have faces in this world? All of this questions will be answered in due time. Ok, most. Most of these questions will be answered in due time. Fine, none of these question are answered at all.
The visuals in the game tow the line between eye catching and downright haunting. Playdead has managed to encapsulate the feeling of running scared and injected it into every scene imaginable. Everything from the shades of the forest to the murkiness of the water makes you feel unsafe. You don’t know where you are going but you want to get there quickly. It also doesn’t help that the deaths in this game are brutal. From being used as a chew toy for a hungry dog to being drowned by something that can only be described as my worst nightmare, you will not want to be caught by any of the things that stalk this world. My nonexistent ninja skills were really put to the test on this one.
The controls are surprisingly tighter than I expected coming from playing Limbo, another game by Playdead. That is until you get the the last few levels of the game. I don’t want to give anything away but the game changes tone in a major way once you start the last few acts. This change makes navigating the environment somewhat of a hassle and the puzzles get slightly annoying. Other than that, the game runs smooth.
In fact, my biggest gripe with Inside is that I wanted to know more about the game. Even if they’d added a semi-annoying info bank like Destiny did, I would have been OK because the world looked that interesting. The world is full of interesting items and environments. At one point there is an incredibly destructive machine and the only thought going through my head was, “why would anyone need something like this?” Inside could have easily been a TV or novel series and it would be a best seller.
The game is also relatively short, coming in at about 3 hours total play time. The levels have a small amount of replay value but you wont be playing this one over and over again. Much like Limbo, the first thing you will want to do after you see the credits fall is discuss it with a friend. It’s a story that begs to be talked about, fought over, and picked apart. Why did this one thing happen? What did this one section mean? Who are you really?
The internet is full of theories that I wouldn’t read until after you experience the game for yourself. Inside is a gem in the current gaming world we live in. It is a game that doesn’t need over the top graphics and competitive multiplayer to be good. It didn’t need a day one patch to be playable. It wasn’t broken on PC upon launch. You don’t need to play another game to understand this one. Inside is just a good time, period.
If you are looking for a great game to play in a group setting, Inside is the game for you. I played this with my best buds and we all had a great time piecing together the mystery in front of us. Inside is available on Steam as well as Xbox . It will be available on August 23 for PS4.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
An Amazing Ride, Hands Down
Graphics - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Story - 10/10
+ Haunting Graphics
+ Great Puzzles
+ Immersive Game-play
+ Impressively Interesting World
– Slight wonky controls towards the end