Inside - Incredibly engaging from beginning to end
Inside is a wonderful and haunting adventure - the second near-masterpiece from Limbo developer Playdead.
Like Limbo, the gameplay is very simple: you must walk, jump and grab objects in order to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. While Limbo was a 2D side-scroller that used silhouettes to hint at the third dimension, Inside is a side-scroller in a three-dimensional world.
In short, it is absolutely stunning. Long stretches of minimalistic melancholy interspersed with vast monolithic constructs of epic scale make Inside one of the more aesthetically pleasing titles released in recent times.
As you progress through Inside, you experience stretches of quiet and calm punctuated by scenes bordering on the absurd. These little - sometimes humorous, often brutally violent - twists often incite feelings of curiosity and confusion, inviting the player to venture deeper into the game.
For this reason, Inside is a particularly memorable title. Even days after completing the game, I often find myself recalling some of the more graphic scenes with a mixture of mirth and disgust.
Inside's environment, one that is predominantly grey and mainly consisting of brutalist architecture depicts scenes of a dystopian future, where human experimentation prevails. Hordes of mindless, empty humans are scattered around the world. Often, they will follow you only to meet violent ends. Other times, they will assist your quest by catching you as you jump from otherwise fatal heights.
Inside relies very heavily on puzzles. Solving these conundrums can be so simple as to leave the player thinking 'was that really it?', or as complex as to leave you pulling your hair out in frustration.
Limbo was a game that suffered to a certain extent from overly-daunting puzzles, sometimes resulting in the carefully-built tension evaporating after multiple deaths in the same location. Inside almost falls into this trap, but thoroughly redeems itself in the final act of the game, which is nothing short of flawless.
Inside is a game that showcases the importance of aesthetic and storytelling in video games.
There are no voices in this game, yet it tells an incredibly engaging tale from beginning to end. A picture tells a thousand words, but Inside tells a thousand stories.