Inside is arguably going to be one of the hardest games I’ve ever had to review. I can’t say much of anything about the actual game itself without giving away spoilers. But here’s what I will tell you:
Playdead’s follow-up to Limbo is something truly special. As with Playdead’s previous game, there’s no dialogue, very little music, and absolutely no explanation of what’s going on. It’s a game that places you in a world and expects you to interpret what’s going on for yourself.
At its core, Inside is your basic, run-of-the-mill 2D platformer. There’s a number of different puzzles, platforming sections, and enemies to run away from. What makes Inside so amazing though is its world building. When I play 2D platformers, the last thing I’m really expecting is to be immersed in its world. Sure, there’s pretty backdrops in a lot of platforming games, but rarely are they so much so the focus.
Inside takes you to a mesmerizing world of dark grays and sometimes red and doesn’t tell you a thing about it. The gist of what you can gather is that you’ve entered a very oppressive and violent world, and that’s really all I can really say without spoiling what’s to come.
Unlike Limbo, Inside’s environments include an insane amount of detail. Each environment is meticulously crafted and holds plenty of clues as to what’s going on in the world. When playing the game, if you want to piece the narrative together, you’ll really need to look around and take note of everything going on. Most open world adventures can’t even match the care and immersion of what Playdead have developed with Inside.
Inside’s environments are varied and each time you enter a new area you’ll feel a sort of dread at what’s to come. The world is mysterious and often times can even make you feel a little uncomfortable. It’s a weird sensation to feel in a video game, but that’s just how well Inside’s world is realized. Its history is something you’ll wonder and think about through your entire playthrough.
Everything in Inside is polished and not once did I run into a glitch or a puzzle that couldn’t be completed. A lot of the gameplay revolves around trial and error. You’re going to die a lot, but the game never punishes you in a way that makes it feel unfair. Checkpoints are reached quite often so death won’t set you back too far. The game is challenging, but not too challenging that it will break your immersion or forward momentum through the game.
There’s one specific puzzle in the midsection of the game, however, that seemed a bit unnecessary and wasn’t very fun to complete, but that was honestly the only section in the game that I really had any trouble with. Thankfully I found a hidden achievement in this area and getting that achievement was quite a challenge.
The controls, the animations, and the gameplay all do exactly what they need to do to make Inside feel like an almost flawless experience. It took four years for Playdead to develop Inside and it certainly shows just how much time they took to make this the most polished experience possible, and there’s no other way Playdead could have gone about it if they wanted you to feel completely immersed in this dark and zany world.
There’s more I want to say about Inside, but all that you really need to know is that it’s an experience worth experiencing. It’s polished, it’s beautiful, it’s dark and thought-provoking. It’s a game that requires you to think and explore for much longer than the three to five hours it takes to complete.. Inside in an instant classic and you owe it to yourself to indulge in its beautifully oppressive world .
We don’t hand out 10s often here on OnlySP, but Inside is one of those games that truly deserves to be ranked among the very best. Playdead didn’t really grab me as a staunch fan with Limbo, but Inside has me eager to see where they take me next.
Inside was reviewed on Xbox One with a copy purchased by OnlySP.
Developer: Playdead Games| Publisher: Microsoft Games | Genre: 2D Platformer | Platform: PC, Xbox One | PEGI/ESRB: 16+/M | Release Date: Out now on Xbox One, July 7 on PC