PlayDead Studios were responsible for the highly atmospheric and critically well-received Limbo six years ago. The minimalistic presentation — both in colour palette and audio layers — belied the stylistic game-play.
Players needed to decipher both how to play the game, work through some ingenious puzzles, and also try to interpret what it all meant by games end.
Well, if you loved Limbo, prepare to be equally perplexed in a wonderful way by Inside.
Again we are tasked, with getting our little boy moving incessantly from screen left to the right. And that is all you know to begin with.
Why are we doing this? What is going on in the game?
At times you will be perplexed, and seemingly only a gruesome death will teach you what not to do, but if you are observant, and sometimes fast enough, you can go through this relatively short experience without repeating a puzzle set-up.
At other times the perplexing thoughts will turn to just how will you solve the latest barrier with the tools at hand. Inside provides enough “ah-ha” moments that by game's completion you will feel like Einstein.
The real tricks here are the subtle clues. Without giving too much away, the game is genius in both introducing and then twisting the mechanics of puzzle-solving. It is rare indeed that the same path to a solution is re-used, and if it is, it is only because a different form of the solution presented itself in the past.
Graphically, and more importantly, aurally, Inside is a wonderfully engrossing experience. The aforementioned subtle visual clues are integrated into both landscape, animation and story development in a magnificently effective manner.
For many, this will simply feel like Limbo 2 in the beginning, but by game's end there will be so many lingering brain-stamping impressions you will be questioning everything.
How did you feel walking out of the theatre after 12 Monkeys? Inside is the video game version of that feeling.