“I just want a short distraction – 30 minutes, maybe an hour.”
That was my mindset when I picked Inside out of my long list of unplayed but installed games on my harddisc. Turns out you can finish the game in 3.2h in a single session …
I had no real expectation except for knowing it was one of the finalists in one of the bigger indie awards thingies and that I liked the screenshots a lot. Little did I know that I was about to play a new Limbo. And I really liked Limbo. I had no clue at the time it actually was made by the same team that made Limbo!
After having played this I must say Limbo feels like the #2 of the “little boy getting killed in horrible ways” genre. And while I liked some riddles better in Limbo Inside offered a much nicer presentation and story telling. And I enjoyed the overall flow better too.
The game starts by putting you into a very real world like Dystopia and masters the storytelling by giving you a lot of well timed sequences you play through that set the mood. I guess I missed a couple of death scenes as I was not immediately aware this is a Limbo and you want to check out every horrible way the little kid can die … but as many of the horrible deathes are similar enough I can live with that just fine.
Then little by little you are driven away from the idea of the real world and the game becomes more and more surreal. Until they start to really break even the rules of the physics that govern a fair amount of the riddle solving in Inside.
Now were visuals in Limbo were mostly flat Inside goes for the full 3D treatment and plays all the time with amazing light effects. And despite picturing a gritty dystopia there is a beauty to the desolation that just captures you. I seriously cared about the little fellow on the screen and often had a hard time having him die on purpose – the sometimes too lifelike animations make it hard to ignore that isn’t real life but just a video game.
The riddles managed to hit a perfect spot for me. None so complicated that they turned frustrating but just challenging enough that I was not able to just figure them all out at first sight.
And you get to explore and look for generators … and I did not find them all meaning I really need to go back again some time and have a new playthrough where I pay attention to them more. Normally I do not do that – but Inside managed to tease me in a way that really makes me want to see what I might have missed for having missed some …
Long story short – this is a game you do not want to miss! And this is also a game you do not want to play with little kids! This is made for adults and it is just as much art as it is a game. Now I can’t wait for the next title they will make, because if the trend continues it will turn out seriously mindblowing!