"Why Inside's doom and gloom is worth your time"
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Why Inside's doom and gloom is worth your time
Look, I get it.
I'm only a few Clefairies away from being able to make a super tough Clefable and the temptation to become the very best is strong.
That said, last week I took a few hours out from Pokemon Go to play inside and I'm really glad I did because it might be my favorite game of 2016 so far.
I expected to like Inside.
Actually, I expected to love Inside which usually primes me perfectly to be severely disappointed much like I was with Unravel and Child of Light.
But inside is something else.
Play Dead's last claim to fame was six years ago with the critically acclaimed Limbo.
First game centered around physics based puzzle solving.
But with so few ways to interact with the world, walking, jumping and grabbing essentially, you'd expect the puzzles to be overly simplistic.
But they aren't.
Inside the puzzles are definitely easier than Limbo, but still nails the balance of giving players the challenge without grinding the feeling of urgency to a halt.
While you figure out what on earth you are supposed to do next.
Many of the puzzles are just common sense.
The next logical move through the room or the safest route to keep your squishy little protagonist intact.
That in no way makes them simple but it makes the puzzles make sense within the world of the game.
I've been a big fan of public games since I was a kid and I've always found logical solutions to be more satisfying.
And in the case of Inside the most sensible as the objective is always to move forward.
Of course you can only ever move forward.
Well, occasionally backwards but mostly forward.
What I'm trying to clumsily get at is the fact that inside is a true scribe scholar.
Probably one of my favorite things about the game is how effectively [UNKNOWN] has built a 3D wold inside a 2D [UNKNOWN].
Often, I would hit the up arrow key expecting my little dude to wonder into the background scenery.
Inside doesn't make you feel like you are in a restricted space, it uses perspective and clever art direction to make each of its environments feel far bigger than what is traversable.
It then immerses you by instilling a combination of tension and terror through moments like running from barking dogs through thick, dark forests...
Hiding in the shadows to avoid getting seen by masked men with torches and Tasers and holding your breath in seemingly bottomless water while you try to escape what lives within it.
Your struggle to survive the game world is underpinned by empathy for your protagonist and the curiosity of wondering what you'll find if you just keep moving forward.
Although the world is so big and layered, Inside never feels the need to explain itself.
Just like Limbo, you wake up in a forest and you're expected to learn how to walk, jump, grab and push all on your own.
You're also being pursued by things that want to kill you, so the motivation to work that **** out fast is strong.
In much the same way, the story unravels with very little contextualization and you probably won't be able to start piecing together even Semblance of what's happened, until the end.
Let alone who the bad guys are, and why you're there at all.
There's no dialogue, no narration, no particularly friendly MPCs, unless you count a horde of tiny baby chickens and helpful fish.
And yet, while playing this game, I experienced relief, extreme fear, frustration, And quite a bit of schadenfreude.
There were a number of moments that had me staring awestruck at whatever was going on.
Of course, I'm overly emotional.
But you'll probably get some degree of each of those, too.
Inside is satisfying in the way that making your way through any puzzle game is satisfying.
But it's also satisfying in the way that it stirs up emotions as you play.
When I play [UNKNOWN] it felt like I was in a nightmare much of the time.
In fact it's like eight different horror movies in one.
You're incredibly vulnerable and spend most of your time running, hiding and hoping you're faster than whatever that is trying to kill you.
And by god you will kill you.
Much like Limbo, the deaths of Inside are brutal and graphic.
Inside wants its world to fill you with dread and understand completely how nightmarish its grim dystopia is.
And it's really quite effective at it.
Like Limbo, Inside isn't explicit about its themes or narrative, which is why if you go ahead and try and google Inside the first suggested result is 'meaning'.
It's the kind of game that's ripe for fan theories and speculation and has you thinking about it long after you're done playing.
If you're a fan of games that transport you somewhere new and embed you in a rich dark world [UNKNOWN] satisfying coupled and a mysterious narrative.
[UNKNOWN] is worth your time.
I have a serious affection for games that force you to remember them.
And inside particular in its final moments We'll absolutely make you remember it.
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