Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Windows (not yet released)
Inside is the second game from Limbo developer playdead. At first glance, it only looks like a better looking Limbo, however, after my first ten minutes with Inside it was abundantly clear it’s so much more than that. Inside takes every idea Limbo had about puzzle platforming and refines and expands on it in incredible ways. Limbo was a great game; Inside is damn near perfect.
The opening and premise of Inside are nearly identical to that of Limbo. You play as a faceless young boy, running through the woods in a Cronenberg filled nightmare realm. What the guys at Playdead really got right in setting the atmosphere here is the lighting. Just when you think the dreary gray tones are getting to be too much, that little sprinkle of sunlight through a barn door or a cracked ceiling reminds you that safety may be just around the corner.
One of the strongest points of Inside’s puzzle design is blending the solutions seamlessly into the background. A box you may need to climb onto a ledge won’t obstruct your path while running, but a simple button press will have your character moving it into place. The animations surrounding such actions also blend with little to no effort. It’s because of design choices like this that Inside’s puzzles feel so natural. Every puzzle feels like you’re overcoming a real obstacle, it’s never anything as simple as pushing a log to cross a gap. It’s evident how much this team learned from Limbo.
Much like that of its predecessor, Inside isn’t much for linear story telling. It has that sort of, dare I say, artsy appeal. Inside has a story to tell for sure and a pretty interesting one at that, but it won’t come out and say it directly. You have to draw your own conclusions based off everything going on in this strange world, but I won’t spoil anything here.
The game takes about 4 hours to complete and is more than worth your time. The last half-hour or so alone showed me why this game has been scoring through the roof. You can pick it up on Xbox One for $19.99 now and on Windows starting July seventh. There’s no doubt in my mind Inside is a must play for 2016. As always thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments.
Score: 9 out of 10