Inside is the highly anticipated second game from independent, Copenhagen-based game studio, Playdead. Inside seems not only reminiscent of the studio’s first game, Limbo, but almost reimagined and revamped in terms of style and gameplay. Something that fans of Playdead will be fond of.
My first hands-on impression of Inside is that although it is a 2D platformer at its core, what stands out the most is the beautiful yet dark art direction, fluid controls, and overall tone of fear and curiosity. Something that Playdead seems to consistently nail is the attention to detail in every little thing the player sees and interacts with.
The animations are absolutely stunning, from the red-shirted protagonist to the variety of enemies you’ll come across. The immediate attachment you feel towards the protagonist and the instant distrust of all others around is something I haven’t truly felt in a game in a long time. Without giving anything away, I have not yelled “OH NO!” so many times while playing a game. Whether it’s the way the lights shine through the night or how the trees and grass dancing in the breeze, every single detail is perfect. Not to mention the game’s sound design! Playdead made a name for themselves by making one of the best atmospheric thrillers to date with Limbo, and Inside certainly knows how to set the mood. Whether it’s the spine-tingling score or one of the numerous, visceral sound effects, Inside will keep you pushed to the edge of your seat every step of the way.
Inside, similar to Limbo, is a puzzle platformer. Thrown in with no introduction or controls, the game makes it pretty easy to pick up on the mechanics. At the start, puzzles seem logical and fluid enough but the further you get into the game, the more challenging they become, often resulting in a visceral death. Each puzzle is unique and interesting, you just have to know where to look for the next clue.
Inside definitely has an interesting and compelling story but it’s hard to put into words. In fact, there is no dialogue in the game. At the beginning of the game, you are thrown in with no narrative or context to anything, the further in you go into the game, the better you understand what is happening in the world around you. Even near the end, there are still some elements you may not fully understand in your first play through. However, with that being said, it leaves just enough to the imagination and leads you into the story fueled by your curiosity to find out more about our red-shirted character.
Inside was nominated for 5 awards this year at this year’s Video Game Awards and took home 2 awards (Best Art Direction and Best Independent Game). Deservingly, Playdead and Inside has been receiving endless praise from gamers and press alike, and that includes us here at GNN. Inside is a stunningly beautiful game that’s easy to control and mechanically flawless. Its art and atmospheric tone draw you in yet give you chills when you get too comfortable. Its gameplay is challenging but rewarding, stringing you along to the next puzzle making you want more. The game makes you ask why. Not just about the puzzles but about the story and life as a whole. Inside is a treasure, one all should cherish and experience.