Review: Inside – Indie Gaming Masterpiece?

BY:  TIM ABRAMS

Inside is the newest game by one of the most prolific Indie game developers around – PlayDead  and Microsoft Studios. These studios became a legend after releasing the game Limbo back in 2010 on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade. Six years later, Inside returns gamers to a similar style of play: linear story, hard puzzles and an immersive atmosphere. So does Inside stay true to the studio’s first masterpiece, or does it slowly bore the gamer?

Let’s start with a look the graphics. The game is all about its atmosphere and the color scheme and it portrays it shockingly well. For starters, the background throughout the whole game is dark, bleak and depressing. It helps to show the severity of the situation the main character is in, as well as convey a state of suspense and anxiety in various stages of the map. The protagonist is the only character wearing a red colored shirt, which is the only variation in color in the game with the exception of red buttons, yellow wires and lights, and the slightly blue water. The game portrays contrast exquisitely well, showing the protagonist in red, showing the enemy or antagonists wearing masks and finally showing the people who are mindless slaves sharing a gray palette with no faces at all.

The game mechanics are excellent. Running and jumping is proportioned the right way, as well as gravity and falling are just adjusted well. Something new in this game that the developers tried was swimming. In 2010’s Limbo, falling into water was a death sentence, and not only did they implement swimming well, it has become a core mechanic in the game.

The only thing that I could possibly see being a problem with this game is the confusion at the start. The game obviously wanted to have the same feel and scheme as Limbo, so there was no explanation of controls or anything at the start of the game. That might be more of a personal problem though, and no one else has proclaimed this issue, but newer players will have to catch on quickly in order to play the game.

The story is very secretive in Inside. For starters there is no dialogue at any point in the game. So the story mainly consists of the player guessing why the protagonist is being chased by masked wearing people. The game shows the gamer many points of interest in order for them to draw their own conclusions. Those points include secret machines, the protagonist using brain control helmets and then having the protagonist hiding in plain site with those same mindless slaves.

The game is truly amazing, but I can’t help but feel something is missing. The lack of plot is not really an issue for me, and even the surprise ending (and believe me it’s a huge surprise) left me feeling like “wow, is that really it?”. I think the prolific developers could have given us something more: whether it be another twist, a couple more stages or a few more moments of relatability with the protagonist.

With that being said, this game is worth its weight in gold. The puzzles are hard and vary, the game does not get stale and is relatively short. This means Inside is another hit game from Playdead and Microsoft Studios  that leaves the gamer with a more enriched experience. Indie games have become a staple in both the Steam and the Microsoft communities, so seeing a great Indie developer get another smash hit makes a member of both of those communities, very happy. Inside is available on the Steam Marketplace and the Xbox One store.

Inside gets a 9/10 from TMN.

 

For TMN, I am Tim Abrams.
An extra note: I want to thank everyone who read the articles or viewed my videos, it means a lot to both TMN and myself. For more content on either video games or events in and around FHSU, keep visiting TMN.FHSU.EDU.

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