Intro and Gameplay
Remember the dog days of Summer when the sun was hot, the pool inviting, and game releases were next to nil? Well, nothing has changed weather or pool-wise but the avalanche of game releases just doesn't stop, regardless of the season now. Luckily, despite some shovelware, there are some incredibly shiny little gems that keep popping out. Enter, Playdead's Inside which is a dark, gloomy but incredibly awesome release from the makers of Limbo.
Now, to describe the setting, story, and details of Inside would be to give away what makes it oh so sweet. You control a protagonist. You solve puzzles. You "explore" a beautiful yet gloomy 2.5 world. The gameplay is incredibly simple but if you stop and think about the potential philosophy and meaning behind it all, there is much more than appears on the surface. For me, though short, I was instantly grabbed by an incredibly intense intro that I won't spoil. Suffice it to say, if you like short and sweet games with quality gameplay that's far from ordinary, you are in a for a treat.
Graphics and Sound
There are some incredibly beautiful games out on PC right now but that word, 'beautiful', can mean so many different things. I find the detailed and oozing nastiness of DOOM to be absolutely beautiful in spots. For Inside, it's a whole different world. A world of low polygon count but lighting, mood, atmosphere, and animation come together to create a dark yet dazzling world. There is a slight post processing haze I wish you could disable or tweak but that's a minor nibble compared to the simplistic beauty of swamps, warehouses, pig corpses (!) and machinery you will face... Truly, a glorious work of modern art.
The audio portion of the game is equally impressive as every gunshot, creaking lever and sliding box sounds absolutely stunning. It's the small details in this game that shine with quality and set it apart from most indie titles. In one scene, the dogs chasing my character gave me chills and I smiled in geekish delight. That is rare for most modern games...
Fun and Conclusion
Is this game fun? Absolutely, but I would consider it more an experience than a game that focuses much on gameplay. Yes, you solve some extremely clever puzzles and you have to use your noggin in several scenarios that might stump a casual player but for the most part, the mood and atmosphere that is dripping with quality is the star of short but star-studded show. I loved the game but it also seems like it could be so much more for the price. That being said, I pay $20 for my wife and I to hit a two hour movie on a Friday night. This game was much better than a night with X-Men Apocalypse. Either way, if you are fan of Playdead's previous work, this is their opus.