Review Roundup: If you haven't heard about INSIDE it's a crime, it's killing it in reviews
I think... I think I need it.
The creators of LIMBO are back in a serious way. The team at PlayDead have released their follow-up to their first creation to reviewers ahead of the July 7th release and it's absolutely killing it in reviews. INSIDE may not have caught your attention, but it should have.
The dark game, both in story and in graphics, has been hailed as a contender for Game of the Year by quite a few people.
The story, the puzzles, the deaths, the detail -- all of has come together in INSIDE to be an experience that is haunting and shocking, but entirely addicting. Most reviewers have scored the game anywhere from a 9 to 10 out of a 10 point scale, with a few outliers scoring the game with an 8.
The parallel to Limbo feels necessary when talking to people who haven't yet played Inside; after finishing it, it feels wholly unnecessary. Inside stands on its own merits as a superbly captivating and moving experience, one that's bound to be on your mind in the time you spend away from it. Someone once told me that the games you can't stop thinking about when you're not playing them are the truly great ones. I'm inclined to agree. Inside fits that mold even though we've seen others of its ilk before.
Inside has excellent gameplay, thoughtful puzzles, and deadly obstacles that are entertaining to avoid – but it feels wrong to call the game “fun.” The full experience, from its opening moments to a finale that left my mouth agape, is a strangely uncomfortable one. The world’s implied history immediately pulled me in, and it’s an experience I can’t put out of my head. My chest tightens as I recall the feeling of entering new areas, succumbing to surprise deaths and witnessing its many unexpected moments. By the end, I felt as though I had lived through someone’s horrible dream, and I couldn’t wait to do it all over again.
This is a beautiful, haunting, and memorable game, a worthy follow-up to Limbo. Its puzzles, although rarely difficult, are engaging complements to the story. The real achievement of this game, though, is the way that it crafts its narrative: detailed environments convey the bizarre world that you travel through; introspective moments are filled with minimalist sound design and just the barest touches of music; and the things you must do to complete your journey force you to confront the realities of humanity, freedom, and existence. The puzzles might not bring you back to play it again, but the opportunity to learn more about the world alone is enough motivation to return to Inside's dystopia.
Inside very clearly builds upon what made Limbo great, and in fact builds something greater. Its unimaginable twist may leave you dumbfounded, confused, and quite possibly speechless, but it will fuel heated discussion with your friends about its meaning, its message, and its intentions.
Inside improves on the groundwork laid by Limbo. It deftly balances its elements. It could so easily have been too dark, too funny, too preachy — but it always stops just shy of going too far in any of those directions. At a glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it hews a little too close to its predecessor. But Inside achieves something that Limbo didn't: It actually lives up to its opening moments, delivering astounding setpieces and an unforgettable final sequence.
Inside delights from start to finish. Don't miss out on what will surely be one of the best games of this generation.