Limbo is one of those indie games that was cool before is was cool to be an indie game. It's one of the go-tos of that scene when talking about how it blossomed, and it is a much-loved puzzle adventure. Its spiritual successor from Playdead is Inside, an equally dark and unique side-scrolling puzzler that tries very hard to sell the studio's maturity and to eek out its own place in the indie annals, but does it succeed?
Here's a snippet from our review:
Now, that intro is not meant to derail the game as a whole. From the outset Inside is an intriguing and engaging little beast. It slowly and masterfully presents you with wonderful puzzles and progression, without a single word being uttered, or displayed on-screen. It takes cues from games as far back as Another World as well as the studio’s first opus, Limbo, and through all of this a sort of mystery forms. You’re playing as what appears to be a young boy escaping from… something. When he’s caught, or when you fail a puzzle or succumb to a dangerous part of the environment, he dies gruesomely. And through all of it, you just don’t know anything.
Click here for our full Inside review
In fact part of its marketing boasts solving the ‘mystery’ of the game, but at its close you’ll be more confused than ever. It’s the part of the experience that makes me so unsure about any of it. It’s almost as if Playdead had a tech demo someone in the studio built in Unity and they tried to contextualise a game around it. You could easily argue that the whole thing is meant to be left up to interpretation, but I think that’s a bit of a copout because games, by design, are an interactive form of storytelling that should supply enough agency to the player to master their own fates. And in Inside, this couldn’t be further from the truth, once the credits roll.