Known primarily for its 2010 release Limbo, PlayDead, an independent game studio, has just put out their latest contribution to the world in the form of a side scrolling speculative fiction horror named Inside. The game follows the exploits of a young red-shirted boy as he evades shady military men and morally bankrupt scientists.
Purchasable via Steam at around $20 NZD, the game is well worth your money and a few hours of your time playing it. It’s a fantastic little gem of a game that calls to mind classic pieces of speculative literature like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as well as some of the more visceral body horror of David Cronenburg (The Fly) and Stewart Gordon (From Beyond).
Using a monochromatic color palette and 3D animation in 2D side scroller space, Inside is beautifully cinematic. Whether you’re sneaking through a dark forest, strolling in between the plants of a towering cornfield or driving a submarine around a semi-submerged city, the art style is truly fascinating, oddly surreal and always engaging.
Much of the game revolves around figuring out how to progress to the next area. New places to explore are often opened up to the player via solving different puzzles. While many games in this genre make use of puzzle solving as a major game mechanic, Inside stands above the rest through approaching the tired puzzle solving trope from a fresh and interesting angle. Players will find themselves defying gravity, swimming in the sky, and controlling zombie-mind slaves while pushing further forward into the game’s mysterious environment.
Finally, what truly makes the game worth your time is its ability to tell what can be interpreted as a fairly literary story through no dialogue whatsoever, and still have it be totally engaging. This game truly grasps the writing technique of showing instead of telling, and allows minor background details to formulate the story as well as NPC interaction with each other and their environment. It focuses on body language, and establishes mood through a tonally appropriate soundtrack, allowing for the player to truly stop and contemplate the strangeness of the game’s ending.
If you want to play a game with an unusual approach to storytelling, but still want the intellectual stimulation of puzzle solving and unravelling mysteries, then I highly recommend you buy and play Inside. Although the game is seemingly simple in its initial premise, Inside is in actuality thematically dense video game that deals with the issues around scientific experimentation and that elusive unnamed thing that makes us human or inhuman.
Have You Had A Chance To Jam This Cool Title?
If so, what did you make of it? Let me know in the comments below, as this is the kind of game that should encourage conversation about its concepts equally as much as the techniques it uses to convey them.