Playdead, the Danish team that brought us the enchanting Limbo have struck again with their latest title, Inside. Following on from the success of Limbo, this 2D action platformer takes everything that made Limbo the superlative title that it is, and expands it even further.
Inside, like Limbo, places you in control of a nameless child protagonist, dropped into a dark and rather sinister world. As you begin, you watch as hordes of placid, cattle like humanoids are forced into trucks and moved, to where and for what reason is not immediately obvious. That said, neither is the reason for your aversion to the people trafficking these husks nor their obvious dislike for you.
Starting in a wooded glade you must run, jump and hide from these traffickers as being spotted with no means of escape will result in a very brutal and undignified death.
Tumbling through the undergrowth, evading rabid guard dogs and torchlight wielding thugs, a basic thread of a story unfolds in front of you. Despite the lack of dialogue, or perhaps in spite of it, the draw of navigating one more level to find out more about this dark, perturbing and confusing world provides that five more minutes appeal that kept me pushing through the levels. Testament to how well structured the game is, the further through I progressed the more reticent I became to continue as it became obvious that the further I moved forward the deeper into the traffickers world I delved and the likelihood of remaining undetected faded to nothing.
The deeper down the rabbit hole I took my little mute “Alice”, the more complicated and challenging the puzzle sections of the game became, culminating in a dramatic and jaw dropping final act that left me scratching my head and wondering what the hell just happened. With only the minimal of interaction with the world, with only the ability to move left, right, jump or grab, the puzzles are difficult without being obtuse and feel in keeping with the environment around you.
Whether that be utilising your grab to move a crate behind which you can hide, up to activating a lever that propels you into the air atop a weighted block, the simplicity of the controls never make you feel that the puzzles are beyond your achievement.
Without a doubt, Inside is this year’s water cooler game. If you have played it, you will actively seek out others to talk about it, and it appears that is precisely what the developers wanted.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 9/10 Format: PlayStation 4 Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a digital copy of Inside for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 3 days . For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.