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Have You Played... Inside?

Slapstick sadboys

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Inside [official site] is a masterpiece.

I liked Limbo a lot, but I found it frustrating when it killed you in ways you couldn’t have foreseen, and a few of its physics puzzles were wibbly and unsatisfying. Inside fixes both those problems.

The moment I started to fall for the game was early on, when you need to lure yellow chicks into a machine that’s going to fire them at a box. It seemed like the chicks were going to be killed in the process, and my interest in playing the game would die along with them. I really didn’t want to play some mean-spirited sadboy platformer. But then, the chicks survived, unscathed. ‘Trust me,’ the game was saying. And so I did, and it didn’t steer me wrong.

It’s excellent at foreshadowing what’s going to kill you in each new area, using lighting and beautiful animation and accurate physics to draw your eye, illustrate machinery, and point the way forward. It’s remarkable that there are never any words to tell you what to do, and more so that I was never confused. When I did die, I always knew it was going to happen – I just screwed up.

I don’t think there’s anything profound about the game’s world or story. Limbo was maudlin and aimed to tug at your heartstrings, just a little. I think Inside aims to make you cringe, to recoil at the body horror, but also to laugh. It’s operating on the same level as David Cronenberg’s The Fly.

Playdead could make another of these side-scrolling cinematic platformers – or whatever you want to call them – but I hope they don’t. Inside feels like they perfected everything they set out to do with Limbo. I hope they move on to a new genre next.

[This is the most wrong thing I’ve ever read – HYP Ed]

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Graham Smith

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