I love the moment when a game suddenly clicks and becomes something special. I was playing and enjoying INSIDE with its intriguing story, beautiful art and nice little puzzles but I was feeling it too similar to Playdead’s first game, Limbo. Then, this moment came, everything fit and started working perfectly. And that was the reason why I included INSIDE in my 2016 recap, even if I haven’t finished it yet. But first, a bit of context.
In 2010 a small Danish development team called Playdead released Limbo, a mix of platform and puzzle game that took everybody by surprise. Gameplay mechanics weren’t original but its execution was excellent, with nice physics based puzzles and learning based mostly on trial and error. Each mistake was depicted with some cruel death animations. Thanks to all those elements and in combination with an original and striking art (and some cruel dead animations), the game was very well received. After its successful initial release in Xbox 360 and once one year exclusivity deal finished, it was ported to different systems. I received the PS3 version as part of PS+ games, but didn’t play until Vita version was released in 2013 and never finished… until past week. Overall, it was a great experience, with some great and unforgettable (that spider…) moments but also frustrating ones, especially some platforming and one or two obscure puzzles. And I’m not sure if I understood the story.
After a long wait of almost 6 years, expectations were high for Playdead’s next game. Released past June for PC and Xbox One, the title saw immediately a great critical reception, better than Limbo. I knew about the project, but never followed its news, as I recently do with many games so I can enjoy and be surprised more. As right now I prefer to play on console I was waiting for PS4 release. Surprisingly, PS4 was released just two months later, so I’ve jumped in earlier than expected, thanks to a recent sale.
As I’ve commented, game’s basis is similar to Limbo, a side scrolling puzzle-platform mix. Again, the art is wonderful, more detailed and with more depth that their debut tittle, but same design principles are clearly seen. We also have another intriguing story, a young main character, a story told without words and gruesome dead every time you fail. The game starts with some easy puzzles, but suddenly, everything you have been learning mixes perfectly in a big puzzle that works great, because solving it makes you feel great and differentiates it clearly from their previous game. And this is the moment I wanted to share: