Shortly after the release of Limbo, Playdead began working on Inside. Two years ago it released on all major formats, but the gorgeous hellacious dystopian game has just now made it to Nintendo Switch. Here's our review of the twisted title!
A Dark, Disturbing, Science-focused Side-scroller
If you ever played Limbo and thought, “Boy, that was dark.” then get ready to play Inside, the more scientific, experimental-based game from Indie maverick, Playdead. In Inside, you play as a young boy that arrives in a dark forest, similar to Limbo. However, the difference with Inside is that it’s better lit, with more vibrant colors. Upon your arrival to the forest, you see some shady men kidnapping humans and putting them in a truck. Your journey to discover the destination of this truck takes you across a dystopian world of famine, chaotic weather, terrifying underwater creatures, and human experimentation.
Much like its predecessor, Inside doesn’t utilize voice to push the plot along. Instead, it uses fear and curiosity to move you from stage to stage, and it doesn’t take long for that to start. From the jump, Inside grips you with its fascinating story, as you try to understand what is going on, along with not getting caught. The moment I started running through the forest, trying to escape the clutches of the captors, and getting shot for my trouble, I found myself gaping, eyes wide, unable to let go of my Switch. Admittedly, I like to play my Switch with the TV on in the background, it’s my own form of multi-tasking that I enjoy. However, within the first 2 minutes of Inside, I turned off the TV and put all of my time and attention into this game. That’s how mesmerizing Inside is.
At times, throughout my playthrough of Inside, I found myself doing motions with my body that I’ve never done during a playthrough, much less for an indie title. The fear is so prevalent, it caused my body to jolt with adrenaline, which allowed for curled toes, kicking motions during jumps, lip-biting, and frequent exclaims of, “Ah! Get away”, “Come on, come on, come on” and “Oh thank God that’s over...what the hell is that??”.
While the story and the characters featured within keep you on the edge of your seat, it’s the puzzles that make this game exhaustingly fun to play.
Before I played Inside, I thought Limbo had pushed the boundaries for the puzzle genre. That’s when Inside said, “Hold my beer”. Inside features complex, yet disturbingly entertaining, puzzles that require gamers to think outside of the box. In fact, sometimes it requires gamers to think outside of your character to get by certain situations. That may not make sense, but there are moments where you must don a certain device to control experimented, almost lifeless, humans that have lebotomized. Using this device, you must recruit and use these characters to solve puzzles and allow the young boy to move forward.
Other puzzles include, trying to make your way through the hellish environment of a pulsing storm, escaping a swift-swimming long-haired The Ring-like child as it tries to capture and drown you, and outsmarting dogs and humans, hell-bent on ending your life. Inside isn’t a very long game, it’s easy to finish within one sitting, but the puzzles and terrifying elements of the game leave a lasting effect.
The Switch Effect
Much like how it was for Limbo, there aren’t many discerning features on Nintendo Switch. The graphics and artistry are featured beautifully and suffer no degradation from the TV to the mobile console. Inside is able to be played with detachable Joycons, but no motions are available. It’s a great mobile title to have on your Switch, for playthroughs on the go, but there are some downsides for owning.
For starters, the price for Inside is $19.99. That’s pretty steep for a game that is beatable in one playthrough. However, you do get your money’s worth with a quality story, that include challenging elements. Plus, there is an alternate ending that is mind-blowing as it is boggling. The other downside is the 1.4GB storage the game takes up on your Switch. Granted, if you have an external MicroSD card, that’s not a huge deal, but for others that continue to struggle through the grind of only having 32GBs, that’s a lot of storage to give up, especially when you consider the 116MB storage count for Limbo.