It’s taken a while, but indie developer Playdead has finally delivered a follow-up to its 2010 smash “Limbo.” And after playing through their latest effort, “Inside,” I can safely say it was worth the wait.
It should come as no surprise that “Inside” has much in common with its predecessor, from a simplified control scheme — there is but one button for jumping and another that handles everything else — to a story that left me with more questions than answers. And the similarities don’t stop there.
The opening beats mirror those from “Limbo” as you take control of a young boy alone in the forest. You’re given no instruction on what to do or where to go or who the boy is or why strange things are happening all around him. It’s a creepy exercise in exploration as you set off in search of answers with the lone goal of staying alive.
Dangers range from vicious attack dogs and mysterious men to wires that swoop down to electrocute you if you happen to get caught in a spotlight. Threats can arise unexpectedly and there’s a certain amount of trial-and-error involved in learning how to avoid them. The puzzles you’ll encounter are well designed and require some clever thinking to solve, but never crossed the line into frustration.
Whether running for your life or sneaking through a creepy scientific facility, the entire adventure is nothing if not unsettling. It’s easy to get caught up in watching the strange goings on in the background, and trying to make sense of what you’re seeing and how it relates to your character helps make “Inside” an engrossing experience. And once the game took a final weird turn toward its ultimate conclusion, I was left scratching my head trying to make sense of it all.
One thing that I am certain of, however, is that “Inside” is a journey worth taking. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another six years for Playdead’s next masterpiece.
Available for: Xbox One, PC ($19.99)
Rating: M for mature