Inside Video Game Review
Written by John Colianni
Released by Playdead
Developed by Playdead
2016, Rated M
Game released on June 29th, 2016
Platforms: PC | PS4 | Xbox One
Video games are as differing as any movie or book. The varying amounts of immersion is incredible. Whether you want to travel to the deepest reaches of space to shoot aliens in their faces or to know what it's like to run a farm (because that's literally how boring you are), the possibilities are endless. The games that happen to follow a specific narrative can leave players just as fulfilled as reading their favorite novel or rewatching their favorite cinematic experience. It's no wonder that the video game industry outsells box office numbers each and every year. Indie developers Playdead are no strangers to creating compelling story and game play that can rival any big budget film.
Inside starts as a boy wearing a red shirt is running through a forest from men with flashlights and vehicles with spotlights. Dogs are set loose to run the boy down. The player will guide the boy through a series of beautifully designed environments blending in with zombie-like people, controlling a submarine and interacting with other creatures to unfold the mysterious narrative from beginning to end.
There's a specific beauty to Inside. Much like it's unrelated predecessor Limbo, Inside relies on the player to progress the story by completing various puzzles based on item movement, platforming and timing. As the puzzles are completed, the reward is moving to a new and gorgeous location to tackle yet another area. While some may seem intimidated by this type of game play, Playdead is smart to not make anything that cannot be figured out with a little time and brain power. Paying attention to very detail is also important, as certain collectibles can be found in hidden places throughout the explorable locations.
While tackling the challenges and locating hidden goodies is the main way to progress in Inside, the real reason to play is to experience the game's art direction and sound design. Brilliant use of color is used to highlight important interactive objects. There aren't many musical cues that the player will hear but popping on a pair of decent headphones and turning out the lights will add another level of immersion that few games can rival artistically.
Inside is a game that the less you know about, the more enjoyable the end result will be. While not everything is spelled out for the player at any point throughout the story, coming to my own conclusions and revelations is why Playdead shows us once again that they are the masters of this genre. They've have brought 2D puzzle platforming to the next console generation with their own flair that will be just as exciting to play in their next release, whenever that may be.