We received a review code for Inside on the Switch.
Inside is an unusual game, a dark puzzle-platformer that raises questions almost immediately. It gives no context, but instead immediately puts you in the role of a boy traveling through a forest while avoiding guards. You must solve environmental puzzles in order to progress, while elements of stealth and even horror also come into play since you’re entirely vulnerable.
Unlike its predecessor, Limbo, difficult puzzles aren’t the centerpiece here. It features puzzles that might take you some time to think through, and there are plenty of ways to die (mitigated by a forgiving checkpoint system), but both of these aspects take a backseat to the rest. It’s tempting to say the focus is the story, but Inside takes a minimalist approach. There is no dialogue, and it would be difficult to say what the story is. Instead, it might be better to say Inside focuses on atmosphere.
Presented in dark colors, with eerie events taking place in the background of the 2.5D environments, Inside builds up a sinister atmosphere from the start. As you travel through each location, the world begins to take shape, although questions remain. It frequently presents new concepts and mechanics, all within the same basic gameplay framework, which keeps it feeling fresh while also contributing to the surreal world.
The narrative relies on ambiguity, a storytelling technique that can be frustrating if not handled well, but Inside walks a fine line where it withholds information to keep you asking questions while providing just enough details for players to develop theories by the end. For the few hours Inside lasted, I found myself constantly trying to figure out the world and story. It has some of the strangest sequences I’ve ever played through, and I enjoyed every minute of them.
If you want direct answers or a tough platforming challenge, you won’t find them here. If you’re looking for an intriguingly ambiguous narrative in an atmospheric world, however? Inside has you covered.