Out of all the games that I have played this year so far, there hasn't been a game that has been such a surreal and amazing experience as Playdead's newest game Inside. To sit here and explain everything about this game would be a huge disservice to anyone interested in playing this. This is because this is truly a game that needs to be seen to be believed and a game that everyone should go into fresh without any preconceived notions about the story.
Inside is a very simplistic game and it only uses the control pad and two of the buttons, one for jumping and the other for interacting with the environment, but even with these simplistic controls, this is one of the most engaging games I have played all year. I would often get mesmerized by this game's beauty. For each area of the game, everything just looks so incredibly beautiful and there are a wide variety of environments to admire. From the dark forest at the beginning of the game, to the haunting underground caverns, to a strange and mysterious research facility, you can tell that Playdead put a lot of time and attention into all of the levels in this game. Nothing seems out of place, or there just for the sake of it. Everything, in every environment in the game seems like it's there to serve a purpose and to further reveal to you the incredibly mysterious story going on.
As for the story itself, I honestly can't explain much about it. Mostly due to spoilers and for the fact that this game is something you really need to experience on your own, because it's crazy and is one of those games that is really going to make you think as you play it. I also love the fact that this is one of those games where the story isn't told to you as much as it's revealed to you. Through each section you go through, things will start getting more dark and it will pretty much be up to you to come to your own conclusions as to who, or what, this boy is running from and what is his ultimate goal. Just when you think you you have figured out what might be going on, the game and the narrative seem to shift to a completely different direction, leaving you with more questions than answers. It's that change in narrative however that makes you want to keep moving on to see what else the game has up it's sleeve and trust me, there are going to be things going on that you would never expect, right up until the games conclusion.
This entire game just feels as smooth as a hot knife through butter. Never once in the entire game did I have trouble missing jumps, no trouble swinging and landing on platforms, no problems whatsoever. A perfect example with this is a puzzle where you have to set a box on fire and then throw it over sprinklers so the fire wont go out. Throwing the box over the sprinklers and catching it on the other side again went so smoothly and there are so many other platformers where a simple tasks like this could take forever. The puzzles in the game offer a lot of variety as well and are incredibly satisfying when you complete them. There were only a few puzzles in the game that took me a while to figure out and there was only one where I truly got stuck. Thankfully, save points are plentiful so if you feel like you missed something or you want to reset a puzzle, you can always reload the previous section of the game and start over. The plentiful save point are a great thing as well because there are a few puzzles in the game that can result in instant game overs like one which is almost like a rhythm game where you have to walk in a single file line, in unison with other people and you have to match their movements.
The game itself isn't that long. I finished it in about four hours and I only got stuck on one of the puzzles. Now I feel like this might be the part that upsets other people who have finished it because personally, I found the ending of the game to be a little anticlimactic. When the credits started rolling, I sat there with that "wait, it's over" reaction because I had so many questions that seemingly had no answers and it seemed like the game could have kept on going. Thinking back however, it wasn't all bad as the more I thought about it, the more I realize that it's part of the beauty of this game. Like I mentioned before, the story is revealed to you instead of told to you so a lot of what's going on is really going to be up to your own interpretation and is also one of those games where you are going to immediately want to jump on any message board you can and discuss your thoughts and theories with other people.
Inside is unlike anything I have ever played before and was an incredibly experience from start to finish. Do not look up anything about this game. Do not have anything spoiled for you. Go into this game not knowing anything and enjoy the game for what it is. An incredible gaming experience that you won't soon forget.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me