INSIDE Xbox One Review

March 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Playdead  Developer: Playdead  Genre: Puzzle Platformer  Players: 1

Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch

You might not necessarily know what is going on when playing INSIDE, but it’s definitely a game that can be described as hauntingly beautiful and also thoroughly captivating. Developed by Playdead, the Danish development team responsible for the much loved Limbo, this is a game that will stay with many long after its conclusion. It’s also a game that took me over three years to play, hence the very late review.

As the story is told without dialogue, things are kept pretty simple and the narrative is spoken to you through simple visual language. Taking control of an unnamed boy, you soon realise you are on the run and being hunted, and things just get more bizarre from hereon.

Like Limbo, INSIDE is a puzzle platformer, and it’s a very good one too. The game has some very impressive animations and physics, and many of the puzzles make use of objects. There’s some very clever puzzles in the game, and while it can tax your brain at times, these still offer some very logical solutions when given some thought.

Puzzles also make use of groups of mind-controlled people, whom will follow you everywhere you go until their purpose is served. These are definitely some of the most interesting puzzles in the game, as working out how to use these minions is all part of the fun. These groups sometimes grow in number during certain sections, and they’ll even throw you and catch you, which are both helpful actions when situations call for them.

The game has more colour than Limbo, but only just.

INSIDE also has a number of stealthy sections, as well as some chase scenes. These sequences will get the heart pumping and will most likely make some feel rather panicky. Whether it’s stealth, chases or puzzles, there’s definitely some trial and error involved, and just like Limbo, you’ll see your character experiencing some rather brutal deaths, but despite the frustration, the game is never anything less than engaging.

At 3-4 hours in length, INSIDE seems to speed to its conclusion, and I really wanted it to continue. There’s so much packed into its brief playing time though, that it all collectively makes for an unforgettable experience. In fact, INSIDE is easily one of the best of its type.

Visually, INSIDE’s beautifully understated colours and lighting makes for a game that instantly drew me into its sad world. The minimal use of sound is also effective, and it all comes together to form a very atmospheric game.

In conclusion, INSIDE is a work of absolute brilliance. There’s some very clever puzzles, remarkable animations and physics, beautifully engaging visual and sound design, and a game full to the brim with memorable and surprising moments. Its brevity is a bit of a drawback, but this is definitely a must play game in my book that, otherwise, has so much to offer in its brilliantly bleak world.