Playdead’s Inside is a title that any gamer who enjoys side-scrolling platformers or horror games should pick up.
Released about a year ago, Inside is a subversive and occasionally terrifying glimpse into an Orwellian dystopia. Players assume the role of a small boy who has to navigate such unsettling scenes as a ruined pig farm and a conga line of brainwashed drones; pretty spooky stuff, and not just because Halloween’s right around the corner. Here are five reasons why Playdead’s Inside is worth playing:
Silky Smooth Platforming
Inside is a must-own for fans of puzzle platformers. The game packs dozens of puzzles that range in sophistication from simple physics puzzles to the likes of anti-gravity. Much like Limbo, Playdead’s previous title, Inside spaces these puzzles out at a masterful difficulty curve. Pro tip: the key to solving most of Inside’s puzzles is finding opportunities to permanently change the game environment. The solution usually tumbles forth from there.
When Inside isn’t challenging players to solve physics puzzles, it’s throwing terrifying foes at them. Whether it’s henchmen in white masks or a pack of feral dogs, Inside’s young protagonist (and therefore, the player) have a lot to fear in the game’s dour world. Just like a proper survival horror game, Inside provides the player with no means of self-defense save running. Usually, players have to keep an eye out for an escape route while fleeing these foes, so attention to detail is key. Just don’t die; the death scenes are… visceral, to say the least.
Superb System Performance
Whether it’s an old potato laptop, a monster rig, or a console, Inside runs well on systems of all shapes and sizes. That feature may not sound all that exciting on paper, but considering how many broken games are released these days, good system performance is no longer a given.
Inside’s narrative is told only through implications, not verbalized exposition or dialogue. The result is a profoundly unsettling (albeit alluring) tale where everything is shown, not told. Players have to piece the story together as best as they can from what plays out on screen, a storytelling technique that makes Inside’s impact linger long after completion.
All of these elements combine to form Inside’s intoxicating atmosphere. Few games provide as deep and gritty a vibe as this title, or are as proficient as sucking players into that vibe.
Players who like to be drawn into textured worlds with rich emotions should consider Inside. It stands out from other platformers because of its attention to detail, and remains memorable long after playing because of its unmistakable vibe. It’s a game that benefits from smoothly stringing horror, puzzle-platforming, and atmosphere together into a single cohesive experience, one that makes it among the best platformers of the last half-decade.