Not to be confused with a 1990 game of the same name.
Inside (stylized as INSIDE) is a 2016 puzzle-platforming video game developed and published by Danish independent studio Playdead. The game initially was released for the Xbox One, later for Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation 4. The iOS version was released in 2017, the Nintendo Switch version in 2018, and macOS version in 2020. The player controls a boy in a dystopic world, solving environmental puzzles and avoiding death.
Playdead started working on a new game called Inside (the codename was known as Project 2) after the release of their first game, using Limbo's custom game engine. The developers switched to Unity to simplify development, adding their own rendering routines, later released as open-source, to create a signature look. The game was partially funded by a grant from the Danish Film Institute. Inside premiered at Microsoft's E3 2014 conference, with a planned release in 2015, but was delayed to 2016.
The player controls the actions of an unnamed boy who quickly learns during his journey that he is the object of a mysterious project.
The player character is an unnamed boy who explores a surreal and mostly monochromatic environment. The player controls the boy who walks, runs, swims, climbs, and uses objects to overcome obstacles and progress in the game. The boy gains the ability to control bodies to complete certain puzzles.
Why It Rocks
- Wonderful gameplay that one would like to experience longer. The game offers many puzzles and platform elements that are implemented with care.
- The graphics look amazing, mainly due to the unusual artistic style in which they include gloomy colors or unusual presentation of models of objects or characters, missing parts of the body such as eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. During the game, when there is gray and gloominess, it creates an atmosphere typical of thrillers.
- Returning to the last sentence in WIR#2, the game is incredibly atmospheric and true to the title where you find yourself inside a lot of unusual to visit buildings. And what is most noticeable, in quiet places there is literally silence, no music, only the harmless sounds of walking boy controlled by the player.
- Throughout the game, you will visit a wide variety of places, some frequently visited and others almost never as an ordinary human being. For example, you'll visit the forest, mostly at the beginning of the game, where the police and their experienced dogs are in control. Sometimes you will visit a farm or at the end of the game in the laboratory, and more.
- Incredibly developed artificial intelligence of the opponents as well as strangers.
- Animals intended to kill a boy respond very well to the fact that a boy is nearby.
- The pig that chases the main character in the farm is in line with the intelligence of the average animal of this species. When the pig wakes up, starts chasing until the player jumps to the opposite side, and if the pig is close to the wall, he/she cannot stop as quickly as reacts, which causes it to crash into the wall.
- Dogs, which mainly serve as a police companion, can smell the boy well, and they will chase you even when you can't see them at all. Dogs, by their nature, at least when they are learned by the proprietor, can swim and at the same time sense exactly which side you are under the water (left, center or right). There are also times when they are quite aware that they cannot jump out to the player when there are hills, small passages, and fences, and even an inflated floor in one place, preventing the animal from passing a little higher.
- Strangers who pretend to be the living corpse, are manipulated by the main character with a device where the boy has to insert his head. It never happens that they stop moving and doing puzzles, as long as the player stops.
- There are times you force them to be thrown into a given platform when you stand over them and give them the direction on what to do and where to go.
- Human opponents, when they want to catch you and you run away from them from a long-distance, they do not give up and keep chasing until you run away to a dangerous way to escape according to them (the same goes for dogs).
- Animals intended to kill a boy respond very well to the fact that a boy is nearby.
- The story is told in a completely unusual way, as there are no dialogues, cutscenes, or even a narrator, but the gameplay itself tells when you play through the game, showing what is happening and what will happen on the screen.
- Incredibly well thought out puzzles, some of which are satisfying to solve, such as the moment when you control strangers, for example, to free the rest of their crew. There is a moment when in one stage you have to imitate the behavior of strangers so that the camera and opponents do not catch you. Other times, when you control a capsule, in which you can control it even underwater, you are imitated by an undefined creature that can swim, chasing you when you do not direct the light on it, and at some point you have to close the gate in front of it, destroying the plank.
- There are strange, if fun, moments, for example in a late playthrough, where you have to strip naked in front of an audience in the laboratory at one point, just to present a demonstration of how you take off the devices which are controlling the brain, you step inside Huddle made of other people's corpses, ultimately you are imitating a monster that wants to escape from this place.
- The controls are mastered to perfection. The boy is listening perfectly to your orders from you. It never happened that he would delay or stop, unless you did it yourself, leaving the keyboard's buttons or controller's analog stick.
- The platform stages are quite interesting and some of them are reminiscent of parkour, more precisely as it is made in real life. There are stages where a storm happens and you have to hide behind an object or a wall that protects the boy from lightning.
- In later playthrough, when the creature that previously wanted to get you in front of the aforementioned gate takes you to the bottom of the ocean, after losing the boy's unconsciousness, it gives you the option that fish and other sea creatures have, i.e. breathe endlessly and swim underwater as long as you want. Additionally, it's useful, especially in times when there's too much water.
- The price of the game is quite generous for the quality of the product, which impresses in every way. It costs $20/£15.
- It has a lot of replay value, especially for its high-quality gameplay, and is well worth speedrunning, mainly due to its length.
- The game feels incredibly well-polished as there were no bugs or frame drops.
The Only Bad Quality
- Like Limbo, the previous Playdead's game, it's very short, which is weak, especially since it's such a great game that you'd want a game being longer due to many good qualities the game offers. The game can only be completed in 1-3 hours.
Inside was critically acclaimed by critics and players alike, being considered one of the best games of all time. The game is featured on Wikipedia's List of video game considered the best article. The game is considered by critics as a worthy successor to Limbo, and evolution on what Playdead has succeeded to do with the previous game. Praise mainly concerned its art direction, atmosphere, and gameplay, but criticizing aspects of its difficulty.
On OpenCritic, the game received a rating of "Mighty", an average score of 91/100, and a 94% critics recommend, based on 151 reviews.
On Metacritic, the Xbox One version received a 93/100, the PC version an 87/100, and the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions a 91/100. While the user score holds a score of 8.3/10 for the Xbox One version, an 8.5/10 for the PC and Nintendo Switch versions, an 8.4/10 for the PlayStation 4 version, and 9.1/10 for the iOS version.
Giving for Inside a 10/10, IGN's Marty Sliva considered the game as "Super Limbo", and stated that Playdead took the core tenets of Inside "in the same manner that Nintendo took the core tenets of NES games like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid and improved upon each one in their Super Nintendo sequels."
Brad Shoemaker of Giant Bomb gave 5/5 stars, stating "Playdead's followup to Limbo expands on and improves all of that game's ideas so thoroughly, there's no question why it took six years to get here."
Andrew Otton from TechRaptor gave a 9.5/10, saying that the game is "an easy Game of the Year contender, Inside is an example of game design executed near perfectly."
British critic and YouTuber Jim Sterling, a former editor of Destructoid, and an author of The Escapist magazine, in his The Jimquisition website, he gave for Inside a 10/10, saying "Playdead's newest presentation is a continuation of its prior work – a macabre puzzle-platformer with a gloomy visual style and forsaking atmosphere."
- Spektra's Inside: https://www.mobygames.com/game/inside
- OpenCritic's score of the game: https://opencritic.com/game/2848/inside
- Metacritic - the Xbox One version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/inside
- Metacritic - the PC version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/inside
- Metacritic - the PlayStation 4 version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-4/inside
- Metacritic - the Nintendo Switch version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/switch/inside
- Metacritic - the iOS version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/ios/inside-game
- IGN's review: https://www.ign.com/articles/2016/06/13/e3-2016-inside-is-super-limbo-in-the-best-possible-way
- Giant Bomb's review: https://www.giantbomb.com/reviews/inside-review/1900-747/
- TechRaptor's review: https://techraptor.net/gaming/reviews/inside-review-all-show-no-tell
- Jim Sterling's review: https://web.archive.org/web/20181113050301/http://www.thejimquisition.com/inside-review/