Inside Review

Inside Title Screen

Inside is puzzle platformer released by Playdead in 2016. It is available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and as of 2017, on iOS.

Inside, unlike its predecessor Limbo, makes good use of 3D animation. The animation in Inside puts more emphasis on surroundings and interactive objects as opposed to the human characters. You will find no humans with distinguishable faces or limbs, you can, however, tell them apart by their clothing and actions.

While Limbo used a black and white color scheme, Inside uses various muted colors to build the tone of the game. The protagonist is dressed in red and black and besides various animals you come across during gameplay, most other objects are different shades of black, brown, and grey.

Main character in game. An example of the color scheme of red, brown and grey.

You travel across many different places as you play. The game opens on a young boy in the forest, clearly on the run from some unknown pursuer. Playing as the boy, you have to hide and maneuver correctly to get past obstacles such as armed men in masks, attack dogs, and electrified stunners. After making your way through the forest you encounter many interesting locations. You pass through an empty farm, run along rooftops, make your way through abandoned buildings, you try to remain undiscovered in government labs and you explore underwater depths.

Inside is a basic puzzle platformer that uses side-scrolling mechanics in an interesting and innovative way. Being 3D, you can view your surroundings from different angles as you progress through the game, revealing new ways to interact with objects around you. You need to solve many puzzles throughout the game in order to progress each stage, whether that means using a mind control device to direct the movements of zombies or timing your movements to avoid being detected and terminated by soldiers or machines.

Game play screen cap for one of the game's puzzles

Inside is a game without any dialogue or narration. Instead it reveals elements of the story to you with what you see in the background and where you travel throughout play. While nothing is confirmed in game, what I’ve gathered from my experience playing is that our protagonist lives in some sort of totalitarian society where it’s citizens are rounded up and experimented on for military purposes to be made into mindlessly obedient soldiers and workers or into lethal inhuman weapons.

Main character stands in line with zombie like NPCs

The only menu you interact with in-game is the menu at the beginning where you begin playing or resume your game. There are no difficulty settings as the game is at a fixed level. I played Inside on Xbox One and found that it ran very smoothly at 60 fps. The game never lagged and never crashed like other games I have played on this console.

Inside has no musical soundtrack. Instead, it uses noises you would expect to hear from your actions. If you fall, you hear yourself hitting the floor. If you are electrocuted, you can hear the static running through your body. When you dive into water or struggle against an enemy, you hear vigorous splashes and violent grunting. These noises penetrate the silence, setting the unnerving tone of the game. The long silences make each individual sound feel more important and provides a sense of urgency and consequence to every action you make.

I personally found Inside to be very fun to play, and as it only takes roughly 2 hours to complete I believe playing it is a great way to spend a free afternoon. Being especially fond of puzzle games I will definitely be replaying Inside again in the future.

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