A lonely child in a dark and dangerous woodland brings up memories. This time, though, the Limbo developers have excelled themselves in terms of creating a frightening environment. Despite a similar beginning, the game takes us to places we could never have imagined.
As with the last platformer, we have no notion who the hero is or what has happened to the world around him. Inside, which has no narrative and almost no musical accompaniment, unveils reality to us with each finished puzzle, only to surprise us with something utterly unexpected and thought-provoking in the climax. At each step, the youngster finds barriers that make entering the enigmatic complex filled with traps and mysteries difficult. Poor controls based on movement, leaping, and one interaction button are enough to provide a lot of diversity in the puzzles, much like in Limbo. We manipulate items, avoid abrupt hazards, hit elevator buttons, and leap on crowded platforms. There are many more intriguing answers, but detailing them would ruin the excitement of finding the offered narrative.
At first glance, it is evident that the authors’ style has shifted – from a gloomy game of shadows to a more explicit portrayal of the universe. The color palette remains dark, but objects and colors are more distinct. The boy’s scarlet T-shirt stands out against the gray shapes seen along the way. When the hero moves by numerous things – he may jump on the box but also avoid it – we rapidly get the impression that we are moving beyond the merely two-dimensional area. When someone shines a spotlight from deep within the site, we might hide behind an object. In Limbo, such effects were not utilised. Inside’s distinct atmosphere is tough not to adore. We are continuously apprehensive, listening to every sound, yet we can’t help but wonder what will happen next. The game’s diversity of riddles and technologies keep us moving forward with interest, much like the hero. Inside does not disappoint in terms of difficulty. Some of the challenges in Limbo need not just inventiveness, but also steel nerves, particularly in the arcade sections. This latest Playdead game is perfect. Escape or avoidance sequences are well-balanced and conclude quite fast. The game is supposed to be easier than its predecessor.
Perhaps this is the only drawback that some players may notice. After immersing ourselves in the fascinating world of Inside, we hardly pause for more than a few minutes, only to be greeted with the closing credits three hours later. However, the finale is so out of the ordinary that it’s difficult to criticize the designers.
Inside is a brief yet fascinating game that, like a silent film, conveys a lot without using words. Playdead developers were able to build something special that will live on in the recipient’s memories.