Author: Liam Riker
As many of ya’ll are aware, my area of focus on the Gamer’s Smorgasbord, is not horror games or puzzle/platformers. That being said, I haven’t been playing many ARPG’s the past month besides Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance HD from the Kingdom Hearts 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue collection and a bit of Dark Souls 3 in preparation for “The Ringed City” DLC that just came out a couple days ago. Once I get to “The Ringed City” location in my profile (which unfortunately might be a while, since I restarted the game in New Game +) you can definitely expect a blog posting about my experience with the last Dark Souls DLC ever. But for now, I thought I’d talk a about a little game that’s caught my eye and nearly won Game of the Year for 2016. That game, Inside, is the subject of this blog post.
I was a massive fan of Limbo, when I first played it 3 years ago, and believe that game is worthy of being called a masterpiece in its own right. However, after playing a bit of Inside, which is the spiritual successor to Limbo, a couple days ago, after my friends bought me the game as a belated birthday gift, I can confidently say, that Inside completely blows Limbo out of the water.
Inside overall has a better aesthetic, with more beautiful and yet still simplistic graphics, and is able to give the player a greater player experience due to the greater depth the developers added to this game, both in terms of the scale of the environments and levels, but also in terms of the complexity of the puzzles. The player isn’t just trying to survive a nightmarish landscape where everything wants to kill him as in Limbo. While the player is still trying to navigate a very dangerous environment where they are very vulnerable and where nearly everything does want to kill them, there is so much more to the game’s level design and puzzles than simply surviving obstacles. The player will have to at times puppet other zombie-like humanoids through mind-control, operate a submarine, and even SWIM to solve the game’s puzzles.
I really do want to emphasize how great it is that the player is able to finally swim in Inside! This adds a completely new layer of depth to the mechanics and feel of the game, that wasn’t present at all in Limbo. Whether it be his ability to climb fences like Spiderman, swim acrobatically, or just the fact that he doesn’t break both legs and bleed out to death when falling from a moderate height, the main character of Inside actually comes across as quite the bad ass! The game developers did an excellent job this time of balancing player power and the overall sense of vulnerability they want to get across through their game’s ambience. The player still feels at the mercy of the game’s environment, but they don’t get needlessly frustrated when their PC breaks in half from the slightest of logical damage taken.
Another element that I feel Inside contributes to the 2D side-scrolling puzzle/platformer genre, is how well the game uses it’s sense of a minuscule z-axis. While the game is very much 2D, the player is given the feeling like they’re interacting in a semi-3Dimensional world. This combined with the greater scope of the game’s environments, provide for an overall more captivating and improved player experience.
From what I’ve been able to gather so far, Inside takes the best elements of Limbo: its simplistically presented concept, controls and art style, mixed in with a horror-like feel due to the game’s brutality and dark story material, and expands upon it with more complex puzzle designs, a more immersive and appealing environment, and greater player power and interactivity. I can’t wait to progress further in Inside and see where the game takes me. I’ve been enjoying every minute so far!
Keep an eye out for upcoming postings continuing my Dark Souls 3 Boss Battle Countdown and Resident Evil 7 review series, and in addition I will likely be writing a blog post for reviewing Inside, for when I do beat the game, and for “The Ringed City” Dark Souls DLC. Until then, thank you for dropping in to The Gamer’s Smorgasbord.