Copenhagen developer Playdead’s Limbo first exploded into the indie gaming space in 2010, showing off an artistic and visually distinctive experience that challenged what could be achieved by a game at the lower end of the price spectrum. Now they’re back with Inside’,which continues to prove they are anything but a one hit wonder.
Inside certainly contains the unsettling tonality and atmosphere of Limbo, but turns it up to eleven. The original washed out, black and white colour palette has been re-invigorated with subtle splashes of distinct colour here and there, which leads to gorgeous level design later in the game, with lush green forest environments and sparse farm yards brought to life.
Similarly, the atmosphere and tone of the story this time around are equally as sparse, with interpretation of the events left up to the player. You play as a young boy running from a sinister force, but aside from that very little else is directly explained. Cryptic as it is, I prefer to say as little as possible as the game deserves to be experienced with as little prior knowledge about its twists to provide the best possible experience. That being said, the connotations and plot are much darker and disturbing than their previous entry, resembling a more ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tale’ affair.
Puzzles and platforming comprise the bulk of the gameplay, and this is where the game really shines. The puzzles rarely stray into guide consultation territory, but provide a decent enough challenge for those that seek it. The range of different puzzles on offer is quite impressive and occurs naturally within the game. Limbo was packed full of collectable eggs and Inside is no different, with a number of orbs that could be collected in each section. Once completed, the game has a very useful scene selection tool which allows for those completionists to pick up any they missed first time through.
The area that may cause contention would be the price point. At £15, some may consider this slightly steep for a game that only takes around 3-4 hours to beat. However, I think that the addition of collectables and an additional ending for eagle eyed gamers out there makes it well worth the asking price.
Playdead have now built a strong track record of providing brilliantly thought-provoking experiences which grow more ambitious and extraordinary with each outing. In an industry where generic and near identical titles are released year on year, experiences which offer something that provokes discussion should be encouraged as much as possible.