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Inside

Developer / Publisher: Playdead
29 June 2016
Inside - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.86 / 5.0
0.5
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1,879 Ratings / 11 Reviews
#387 All-time
#11 for 2016
A lone boy wanders into a dark city. Solve puzzles to reach the depths within.
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Despite being a pretty short game, Inside is packed with thrilling gameplay. Each chapter presents unique and difficult puzzles and situations to figure out. The plot isn't really directly stated so it leaves it up to interpretation, which makes it much more interesting. The game looks really nice to me and has like the best lighting ever. There's so many unexpected abilities and actions you can do throughout the game that makes it better and better throughout. There's even a little bit of horror to some parts. All the insanity leads up to a pretty unpredictable and wild ending, which is one of my favorite game endings.
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"Video Games" is an art medium that flows with so much potential energy to evoke the strange feelings of living in this particular moment in the late history of humanity. As we come to face the consequences of a society that has valued it's worth based on the advancement of technology and it's service of capital, "video games" is a very specific medium that could have perhaps only been birthed within this societal arrangement.

As a relatively young medium it still in 2022 would struggle find a legitimacy in the already established art worlds of the 20th century and before. There's a number of reasons for this, I am not bothered to list them. But I would say that the "art" of producing a work in this medium is not given a particular focus and when I say "art" I mean an approach to the expression of human consciousness, representing one's world. It can be a particular selfish, solitary and highly individualistic practice in being an "artist". My favourite art is usually one with a uniquely specific vision, one which can express something about reality that mere words dare not touch. The myth of the "lone creator" is something to unpack on another day but there is truth in the individualistic vision that art can express. Game dev courses will generally focus on the technical aspects on game creation
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(written aug 3, 2016)

Upon launching the game, two words greet you: “PLAYDEADS INSIDE”. Those are the only two words you see in the entire game. INSIDE sells on its vagueness and mystery, shown by one of the only two trailers showing the main character walking, jumping and scaffolding through the vast world, reaching his destination: a large window, crowded by men in business suits peering curiously at whatever the camera can’t see.

INSIDE is a puzzle-platformer about a boy making his way to…something. That is the premise of the game, but its execution is what makes it intriguing. Subtly is key in INSIDE; the boy’s sudden panting in clutch situations, character animations which portray emotion beautifully, the game building its scale. Every aspect of it had tons of passion put into it, so much so that I can explain without spoiling the brilliant ending.

INSIDE’s gameplay doesn’t stray too far from it’s predecessor, LIMBO; platforming with ICO-like physics, jumps, and puzzle-solving throughout. Having not played LIMBO, I cannot fairly compare the two, but nonetheless, the gameplay is very well-done for the short, one-shot experience it is.

INSIDE is a game that sells on it’s mystery. As such, it’s a very story-driven experience, but not in a way that defeats the purpose of being a video game. In fact, it blends the gameplay and storytelling beautifully. With so little going on visually and no cutscenes or loading screens from beginning to end, the way you experience the story is purely through gameplay. That sounds obvious, but in a regular game, it’s “get to this area, defeat this many enemies, expositional cutscene, more gameplay, expositional cutscene.” In most cases, the gameplay is contextual to the cutscenes predecessing or follow that section, but with INSIDE, gameplay is context.

The puzzles aren’t necessarily mind-boggling fun, but they aren’t a chore, either. There’s your typical block-pushing and object-fetching, but blocks with propellers or mini submarines that can jump out of water spice up the gameplay just enough so it’s not overwhelming while being juxtaposed against the game’s dreary setting.

On top of this, INSIDE accomplishes something many puzzle games don’t: every puzzle feels like a part of the world. You never say “oh, wow, what a COINCIDENCE that this block JUST HAPPENS to be here.” Puzzle mechanics work in tandem with the environment, rather than making the puzzles and having the environment forcibly adapt. Puzzles aesthetically matching the game world and keeping the atmosphere alive is a crowning achievement for any puzzle game.

The game’s design is astounding from top to bottom. It goes for a minimalist, bleak art style, but is never an eyesore. The graphics look almost polygonal, as many textures in the game are flat, dull colors that lighting adds depth to. No one in the game has a face, either, creating a sense of anonymity in the characters. These aspects create a sense of emptiness and dreariness to the entire world of INSIDE.

One of the most incredible subtleties in this game is what the player can pick up from the character animations. In the beginning section, the boy has to hide from guards searching a forested area. You can tell from the guards, how they move, how they search, that they’re not looking for you; they’re trying to make sure that you aren’t there.

These brilliant portrayals of emotion through body language stay strong throughout the game. One section has you falling into a line of people walking in a line, but they almost look like zombies. Some are stomping, dragging their arms, while others are stumbling, barely able to keep their heads up.

The boy character, while in the line, attempts to walk very robotically in order to match the consciously absent individuals, but when the line stops, he keeps his head up, scrunched near his shoulders, constantly taking slow, scared peeks at the camera observing him.

A lot of these animations, especially the ones with the line of people, add a weird quirk to the game. Within the depressing and disturbing world are these lively, almost humorous animations that make it seem like a black comedy about dystopian societies.

The story of INSIDE may not be much on paper, but again, execution is key, and one of the most flawlessly executed parts of this game is the world building.Moving from one section to the next, a forest into a testing site, an ocean into a facility, feels natural and connected. As absolutely humongous as the world is, everything feels like it’s not just pasted together; there’s never any hard cuts in the environments, all the sections blend into each other seamlessly.

Not only does INSIDE establish its world amazingly, but it establishes the scale just as well. One section in particular comes to mind, where the boy jumps into the mini submarine, and sinks into the bottom of an ocean-like tank, where the submarine’s flashlight shines onto the outer shell of a dome that seems to spread out for miles. There are domes within buildings within domes; INSIDE keeps pushing the limit of how stunningly gigantic its world is.

The sound design is yet another one of INSIDE’s strong points. Sounds of footsteps through soil and on concrete, guns firing, sounds unknown to this planet; it all sounds disturbingly real. The most disturbing thing that the sound design of INSIDE amplifies is the boy’s actions. His breathing gets fast and panicky whenever he’s on the verge of death. When he’s swimming, he makes spastic gurgling sounds to alert the player that he’s drowning. Getting mauled by a dog lets the player hear the sounds of bones snapping. It goes to show that one of the most brutal and horrifying things in the game is the most human.

The music is droning, dark, and can only be described as “surreal ambiance.” Not much else can be said besides that for the few times it plays; it only serves to add to the sense of uneasiness and darkness of the whole game rather than a thematic soundtrack.

INSIDE is a short experience that thrives on its mystery and abstractness, creating one of the most suspenseful and breathtaking games this year.
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keublitz 2022-12-10T05:31:22Z
2022-12-10T05:31:22Z
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Can lightning strike in the same place twice? Of course, it can, and it does very often depending on the elevation of the place or object that it’s striking. Why then is this question a common myth and or rhetorical question that people ask? It’s because lightning is an ambiguous force in which the effectiveness of it on the collective human consciousness relies on the random nature of lightning that is perceived to have. No one would scurry indoors if lightning was a creature of habit, striking the same place over and over like that piece of land owed it money. I bring this up because it seems like Danish game developer Playdead was anticipating the same level of effectiveness by striking the same place twice with their lightning that was Limbo. Instead of making a sequel, Playdead followed up their 2010 indie hit with a spiritual successor called Inside. I make no exaggerated claim here when I say that Inside is the same game as Limbo. I understand that indie developers may not have the big-budget, glossy attributes that triple-A developers have, but they at least have the ability to produce something discernible from their previous outputs. Inside is the same foreboding, linear odyssey of ambiguity crafted as a 2D puzzle-platformer that Limbo was. The only difference is now Inside has a crisper frame rate thanks to next-generation technology and it has a less monochrome color pallet. I’d lambaste Playdead for releasing the same game twice, but there is something crucial to Inside that doesn’t make it a carbon copy of Limbo. Instead of diverting from the gameplay of Limbo to make Inside discernible from it, they’ve added more depth to the narrative to try to make something more substantial.

The uncanny resemblance Inside has to Limbo starts to become apparent from the beginning scene. A young boy in a red shirt sans glowing eyes is running around in the woods with an aura of panic and unease. Already, the environment doesn’t look as alien and hostile as the one from Limbo, but the player will soon learn not to come to conclusions like this upon first impressions. Just a few yards into the forest, the kid comes across two guys talking to each other near a generator. The kid will briskly jump off of a ledge and snap a twig in the process. One of the men hears this and turns on a flashlight. If the player is caught in the flashlight’s reach, the men run after the boy and subdue him, and the player can’t do anything to escape their grasp resulting in a “death”. Further, into the forest, a dog will chase the boy down while barking violently and gnashing its razor-sharp teeth. If any of these dogs catch the boy, they’ll tear out what appears to be his trachea in a bloody mauling that signals the kid's obvious doom. Any of these things that are most likely familiar to the player would’ve been refreshing in Limbo, but are far more threatening than anything in that game here. Inside is practically a stealth game in this regard. I claimed in my review of Limbo that it was not a horror game like everybody described it as, but I would make somewhat of a case for Inside. I believe that all effective horror media needs to have some grounding in something that resembles reality. The world of Limbo was far too ethereal to hold any substantial weight in the realm of reality. The monochrome visuals along with the ambiguity of everything in the game made it feel too much like a dream. As they say, a dream no longer becomes scary once the person wakes up. Inside is far more grounded thanks to the more realistic, albeit depleted-looking, world the protagonist finds themselves in. The environments in Inside are a little more domesticated and familiar to the player than the ones with the unvarying visuals presented in Limbo. The setting of Inside has a looming aura of oppression that gives the game its tension. The land that makes up this setting looks like it’s been sucked dry, almost like the mist that permeates this land is the exhaust from the tailpipe of the domineering machine that runs this place. Either the boy is a native of this land or he’s in the outskirts of somewhere completely without hope, trying to find his way out or trying to find aid. The horror here is not a naturalistic one where the land is inherently dangerous, but rather a man-made terror with sentience. There’s something more harrowing about horror with an agenda rather than an environment that is just meant to be visually spooky.

Before I get ahead of myself trying to decipher the experience of Inside, I can’t properly review a game without even slightly discussing its gameplay, even if it’s a minute detail. As I’ve said before, Inside and Limbo aren’t merely two games made by the same company. Inside is practically a carbon copy of Playdead’s last title in terms of gameplay. The player will run on a 2D axis sequentially with little to no interruption besides the platformer puzzles that add a hint of zest to the player’s journey. The platforming is minimal and the player will most likely fail many times attempting to do these before they succeed. The description I just gave for Inside’s gameplay could easily be the one for Limbos, but there are a few differences. Inside feels much more lenient with its checkpoints and individual puzzles than its predecessor. After dying during a puzzle in Limbo, the game would take the player back into the action without giving them a chance to prepare themselves. Inside on the other hand lets the player prepare for the challenge which feels much better than the game propelling the player to their imminent dooms. Inside has a lesser amount of sections in which the player has to act fast before something kills them, but the few moments where these come to play are much better executed. Inside adds a few new features like controlling a submarine with a propulsion mechanic, swimming, and controlling a mass of flesh with its physics . One gameplay feature that is essential to the core of Inside’s vague narrative is the mind control feature. Limbo had a mind-controlling slug that would latch onto the player and control their movement, but Inside has turned this into a bonafide mechanic. The protagonist will latch their heads onto a mechanism hanging from the ceiling at many points in the game. This will trigger one of the innocuous, slouching pale people that the protagonist encounters in swarms throughout the game who controls almost exactly like the protagonist.

Why is a mind control mechanic so pertinent to Inside? Because it highlights the core themes of conformity that the game conveys in its narrative. Discussing fascism concerning Inside’s “story” is relevant because the dystopian themes are readily present. However, merely dissecting the game and coming to fascism as a conclusion is scratching the surface. Inside makes the player consider what the ultimate goal of fascism is, and that is conformity to an extreme degree. The colors in the world of Inside are dismal and murky, but the comparatively vibrant red shirt of the protagonist stands out. This red shirt is a subtle symbol the protagonist wears to represent his role as someone in this society who is different. He’s a beacon of hope for this world and a reflection of how this world used to be before it fell to an unknown oppressive entity. The fact that the protagonist is a child might also have some semblance. All of the mindless drones that walk without any autonomy are bigger than the protagonist, so I’m assuming that they are all adults. Perhaps the conformity presented in Inside is a comment on the capitalist machine that we all venture into as adults? Either or, there is an imperative on individualism and how government control seeks to eliminate it because they see it as a threat. I can’t think of any better way the game illustrates this other than the protagonist walking in unison with the zombified underlings, being punished for falling slightly out of line with their movements.

There is a standout portion in the climax of the game that is far more notable than the scene I just described. The protagonist will venture to what looks like a scientific facility with people in lab coats scrambling around a dim building with high ceilings. The protagonist will come across a pressurized rocket which turns out to be a trap. The protagonist gets sucked into an aquarium with a large group of people in lab coats observing him. The propulsion of the rocket engine has stripped the protagonist of his clothes, leaving him stark naked without his red shirt. In the center of this aquarium is a giant mound of flesh with various appendages held still in the water. Once the protagonist frees this abomination, he morphs into the mound and now the player controls it. This odious mass of people breaks through the glass of it’s watery cell and wreaks havoc on the lab while the men in lab coats run away screaming. As the player tries their best to control this sentient blob, it’s journey results in breaking open a wooden barrier which causes it to tumble violently down the mountainside and come to a complete halt at a misty lakefront. This change of pace from playing as the boy came as a total shock for me and probably for most who played this game. Suddenly, the player is manning the blob from Akira and demolishing everything around it while still maintaining the core gameplay all the same. The blob even squishes a guy into a pulp and wears his blood like tribal paint (one of my favorite moments in the game by the way). It’s a fun way to change up the gameplay after playing as the boy for so long. It’s also something that completely deviates from Limbo. Playing as this blob isn’t just for shock value however as it carries weight in Inside’s themes of conformity. What better way to illustrate people without their individuality as a giant globule of flesh? From the observation of it from the people in lab coats, this blob was a procedural experiment conducted to test the extremes of keeping people as a collective unit without any kind of volition. This collective is also the force that brings down their oppressors. This is something the kid couldn’t do on his own, so perhaps the game is suggesting that one must sacrifice individuality for a greater cause? It’s an ironic case of playing devil’s advocate to keep theories afloat for the player. As far as the ending is concerned, many people argue that it’s bleak. However, I feel as if the blob ending up at the bottom of a mountain on a beachside signifies that all of these people have broken free from their captors, albeit under less than ideal circumstances. Whatever Playdead was attempting to convey, this result from a heart-pounding climax is the perfect way to end the game
.

Normally, I’d be completely underwhelmed and apathetic about a game that does not attempt to deviate from a previous one. Playdead saved a lot of money on Inside because it functions the same way as Limbo. It has the same gameplay, vague narrative, and artfully bleak undertones that I liked about their previous game. The thing is, I already experienced all of those things with Limbo. While playing through Inside, I couldn’t help but constantly compare the game to Limbo and try to figure out if the logical reason why I was enjoying Inside was simply because I liked Limbo to begin with. After playing through Inside again, I’ve realized that this might be a case of Limbo being a prototype for Inside. The substance of Inside compared to Limbo far exceeds it and left a bigger impression on me. My emotions dropped just like the blob did off the cliff and resonated with me more than the seemingly cyclical loop of Limbo . Playdead made the same goddamn game and it managed to be slightly better than the previous one. As of writing this, Playdead has not released a third game. Don’t get too confident guys. You can only get away with repeating yourselves once.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T18:53:36Z
2017-07-21T18:53:36Z
8.0
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“Inside” is an artsy and minimal puzzle platformer set in a dystopian world. You are basically running away from people who want to turn you into their lab rat while solving a series of environmental puzzles. One button to move forward, one to go backward, one to jump, and one to grab items. That’s all. Still, the gameplay is surprisingly varied as each area has different tasks, vehicles to ride and even other characters to move through mind-control.

Even more than Playdead’s previous game “Limbo”, “Inside” is worth playing for its interesting look and art direction rather than for the gameplay itself, which can be effortlessly completed in a couple of hours. People are still trying to figure out what the game was about, but I think the developers wanted to convey a particular atmosphere instead of telling a story.

Good for a free evening but definitely not a life-changing experience.
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manicure 2021-08-08T12:46:09Z
2021-08-08T12:46:09Z
65
1
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100% complete campaign
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Das experiências mais imersivas e tensas que eu já tive com um jogo. O nível de detalhe nos efeitos sonoros eleva isso à enésima potência.

Ainda digerindo a virada no final.
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gabrielctps 2021-08-04T04:21:54Z
2021-08-04T04:21:54Z
5.0
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Catalog

ZachGM Inside 2024-02-28T01:37:55Z
2024-02-28T01:37:55Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cornbop Inside 2024-02-27T15:17:28Z
2024-02-27T15:17:28Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Kapitan_Pazur Inside 2024-02-27T12:49:32Z
Windows
2024-02-27T12:49:32Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
candycanefish Inside 2024-02-26T20:51:36Z
2024-02-26T20:51:36Z
5.0
3
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Kavadar Inside 2024-02-26T07:51:59Z
2024-02-26T07:51:59Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
RoadhouseGreens Inside 2024-02-26T06:47:04Z
2024-02-26T06:47:04Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
puppies_on_acid Inside 2024-02-25T20:19:58Z
Windows
2024-02-25T20:19:58Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
JJ155 Inside 2024-02-25T03:54:35Z
2024-02-25T03:54:35Z
3.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Bojuuh Inside 2024-02-23T00:44:23Z
2024-02-23T00:44:23Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
HeitorVegetal Inside 2024-02-22T00:19:04Z
2024-02-22T00:19:04Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
droppod40 Inside 2024-02-20T21:00:30Z
2024-02-20T21:00:30Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dev1029 Inside 2024-02-20T15:19:36Z
2024-02-20T15:19:36Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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Comments

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  • Previous comments (28) Loading...
  • Convalescence 2022-09-27 15:57:54.503706+00
    i find the puzzles in these games (i.e. this and limbo) so tedious and unfun. but the atmosphere is basically unmatched. big shout outs to the sound design folks here
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  • jhank1 2022-11-28 19:30:44.516134+00
    the puzzle elements can distract from the top-notch lighting, atmosphere and general unfolding of the narrative. definitely a memorable cinematic game
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  • act2hydrocityzone 2022-12-30 17:38:25.860748+00
    replaying it from start to finish once a year is a ritual
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  • willoverdoseonmusic 2023-07-15 11:12:03.772799+00
    i dont relate to the complaints about the gameplay, i found it fun and engaging
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  • Bram_van_Kooten 2023-09-08 15:50:40.132489+00
    I think this game could use some quick thinking puzzles and platforming sequences to create more tension.
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  • Kittyhat 2023-11-30 23:30:08.667341+00
    might age badly but who cares this is still an absolute trip
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  • thereticlespeaks 2024-02-07 15:09:47.669399+00
    A mesmerizing artistic accomplishment that, frankly, just really isn't that fun.
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