Real Talk By: Haggy
Inside, the latest game by Playdead, is the spiritual successor to Limbo. Like the previous title, Inside features a boy trying to get through a dark, creepy world while solving simplistic puzzles in a visually stunning and outrageously well-animated fashion. I’d almost call this Limbo II, if it wasn’t for the fact that they’ve not only added color, but added a far better sense of depth and three dimensions.
The player first starts at a rather cleverly made title screen, which basically just requires the player to start moving right to start the game as it’s already loaded in everything (As well it should as the load time is actually a bit lengthy) If the player wants to see options and things like that, they can always access the menu and it’s rather clearly set up. Being such an artistic game, there aren’t many options aside from Resolution that the player can change graphically, but it’s well optimized and doesn’t need too much to run well.
The next thing the player will notice is, the outrageously smooth animations. Seamlessly going from a run, to a balanced walk, to a sneaking creep it is definitely a strong point of the game, possibly the strongest point amid the dark backgrounds and motifs. Really the only thing I can complain about with it’s movement is that the controls on PC are a bit weird on default (Yeah, for some reason we hardly use the arrow keys to move, and Right Ctrl as a grab button is almost unheard of unless you’re left handed) but that’s definitely a personal gripe, and I’m not only able to change that, but I’m sure controller users will be just fine here.
After you’re done gazing in delight at how the young protagonist moves, it’s then up to the player to notice the dark and grim world they occupy. Simply put when I was playing this I was getting the impression that I was running from some sort of genocide, as the themes of pigs to the slaughter are, sometimes literally, playing out before you. This also leads to some quite tense moments as this plays into some of the obstacles you have to overcome as the game progresses. (Bear in mind, this is only what I felt at the start of the game, the rest I’ll save for you to find out yourself.)
If there’s any complaint to be found in this game is that the puzzles are relatively simple most of the time, and whereas it is a stunning and moving game, you don’t really do much more than just move right and solve some puzzles. It’s definitely an experience, that deserve some awards, but I don’t know if it’s the best indie game of the year. Granted, we’ve been rather spoiled in that regard as 2016 has at least given us plenty of good indie titles so how could I complain?
In short, I really appreciate this game. It’s visually stunning and a master class of how to tie-in good, weighty animation to controls. It feels almost analog even though it’s digital. That alone would’ve been a good accomplishment if they hadn’t also made a great visual world to have you move through.
4 Out of 5
+ Great Animations
+ Great Aesthetic
+ An Amazing Value at $20
– You Basically Just Move Forward
– Some Puzzles Need Work