Game Review: INSIDE

Release date: 2016
Version played: Xbox One in 2019

A spiritual successor to Limbo, INSIDE is a 2016 2.5D sci-fi, puzzle-platformer video game developed and published by Playdead. Taking control of an unnamed child, players navigate a hostile landscape, avoiding or fleeing from adversaries as he attempts to gain access to a massive, sprawling laboratory complex and do… something with whatever is inside.

+ the animations from everything in the game – the Boy, the antagonists, any animals and whatever else is lurking – are all exceptional. The contextual animations, such as climbing a block from the end, from the side, from the water etc all look gorgeous and flow perfectly no matter if you’ve just been moving it to the side, or running for your life from ravenous dogs
+ the level design is varied, but all following the same theme throughout. From the immediate darkwoods to the intentionally labyrinth-like passageways of the main facility, no area outstays it’s welcome
+ the story, as best I could piece it together, is full of twists and turns, and left just open enough that any and all discussion is as valid as any other. I could understand if someone felt the story was too bare, but I found there were enough big revelations to keep the general idea of things
+ the soundtrack is relatively bare, with silence, or quiet noises being very careful and intentional choices, and the few moments were things do get loud have that importance and tension punctuated incredibly effectively
+ the ending. I can’t even say why, it just took things to a wild new level

– much like Limbo, the game is very short, and I was once again able to complete the game in two sittings, totalling about three hours. There are some hidden extras to go back to find, but overall I don’t feel the need to replay the game any time soon

Should you play this game: Absolutely. This is currently a free game on Xbox via the Games with Gold promotion, and at that low price of free, it is a game worth playing and an experience worth having.

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