I have never played Limbo, the 2010 release for indie-developer Playdead, so I had no idea what was happening when I first picked up Inside.
I still don’t, actually.
Inside is the latest side-scrolling puzzle platformer from developers Playdead. Touted as a spiritual successor to Limbo, Inside was originally released on the 29th of June for the Xbox One, closely followed by a Steam release date of the 7th of July. Finally, Inside was released on the PS4 on August 23rd, which is the version of the game I have played.
The premise of the game is simple. When the game starts, you are left in control of a young nameless boy in a red shirt. As you begin to move through the game world, there will be a number of people that you will have to avoid or outrun as they chase you down. There is no explanation of who these people are, or why they are chasing you. Are they inherently evil, or are you just a bratty teen hiding from a search party?
Gameplay itself is also simple and straightforward. The controls are crisp and responsive, with the only issue being that there is no tutorial or dialogue to explains how to move certain objects (its square by the way).
This lack of dialogue continues throughout the whole game, so that you are playing as a nameless boy, running from nameless men for an unknown reason. You would think that with no dialogue, a background soundtrack would be that much more important. Surprisingly, Inside has no background music to speak of, which is actually something that just works for this kind of game. It really makes you feel like you are running and hiding, with the only sounds being your footfalls as you run through abandoned buildings.
At only about 3 hours long, Inside isn’t a very lengthy game. Playdead have opted for quality over quantity, and while this is a great, engaging game, I’m not sure if it is a game that I will be picking up and replaying any time soon. That isn’t really a reflection of the quality of the game, however. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, the games I really enjoy and replay are those with engrossing story lines and characters, that grow and change as you play. While Inside is mechanically and visually an amazing game…it just isn’t my cup of tea.
The Good: Great visuals, soundtrack (or lack thereof) fitting for the game
The Bad: No dialogue or explanations or mechanics
The Final Verdict: While Inside is a great game, it just doesn’t press my buttons.