Our first impression is of a grim, but beautifully presented game. The music seems harrowing and emotional while not overbearing and gameplay seems smooth with a cute character design. It’s overall a pretty sweet looking little game with original pencil drawn art, but you can kind of tell with this amount of detail.
Will you be checking out Original Journey? Peep the trailer and full press release below:
Original Journey Invades Windows Today
Smaller experiences, or “indies” as they are called, are the heart of the video game industry right now. Over the years we have been blessed by the gamer gods with experiences such as Journey, Brother: A Tale of Two Sons, Gone Home, Ori and the Blind Forest, and more recently Firewatch. Now we are bestowed Inside upon us. Inside is an Xbox One console exclusive (also available on Steam), and if you own an Xbox One, you are required to play it…it’s just that simple.
Inside comes from the studio, Playdead, who brought us all Limbo back in 2010. Limbo was known for its ambient storytelling, interesting art style, and clever puzzles. Inside is the obvious step forward for this studio as they take everything they learned from creating Limbo, and implement those lessons and new ideas into what is easily one of the greatest gaming experiences I have played this year…nay…this generation.
Inside starts off very much like Limbo. You are a young boy, in a dark forest, running to the right of the screen as you complete simple but smart environmental puzzles. The ambient story telling that was in Limbo returns here and it works even better this time around. Right off the back I get the conflict, and I understand the story. My goal is to survive in this dystopian world by any means necessary. Strange men in masks chase the young boy, sending dogs after him, and hunt him down using vehicles and flashlights as a sense of tension is created that not only has me caring about my survival, but has me clutching my controller as I make close calls, and quick escapes. “Go, go, go go, go!” seems to be my inner mantra as I run daringly across the levels and make leaps of faith into the unknown, in hopes for a brief respite. The sense of atmosphere is so cleverly pieced together, as the hauntingly beautiful aesthetic works for the bleak story they are trying to convey. Part of that tension building is accompanied by the outstanding soundtrack that again is more ambient than it is present. The game is all about having the story pieces on display, but making you put them together by being observant. The environment tells a better story than most games with spoken word, which this game lacks completely. The implementation of color is also noteworthy. What starts of as muted blacks and whites we are then slowly introduced to more colors as the pallet expands itself out but never to the point of being colorful. The game retains its tones through its implementation of these muted colors and this works majorly to its themes, and tone.
The game controls are simple and smooth. Directional joysticks control you character, and one of the face buttons act as your jump while another acts as your “interaction” or “grab.” At no point did I ever find myself fighting against the control layout or the mechanics themselves. The puzzles are frequent but never overbearing. I am not a puzzle fan at all, and not once did I ever find myself checking my watch for how much time I spent on a section or even worse, getting bored. I found myself using the word, “smart,” over and over again. Smart is the way I felt when I completed a puzzle, and it was what I kept saying out loud when seeing the mechanics and layout of said puzzles. The design of this game is just brilliant, in every sense of the word. The Inside experience had a stranglehold on me, and has me rethinking how I feel about the puzzle/platforming genre in general.
It took me about two hours to complete Inside, and the average seems to be in that range, or around 3 hours for those who take in the sights a bit more or get caught longer on a few of the less hand holding puzzles. It is an experience I highly suggest you play in one sitting, so you get the full immersion of what the story has to offer.
While this game is very much about the journey, it is equal parts about the destination. Thankfully, Inside’s ending delivers in every way. No worries, I refuse to spoil it here because it needs to be experienced, heck I doubt I would do it any justice. What I will say, is that the ending is thought provoking, head scratching, WTF inducing, and very much so open to interpretation. I suspect people will be talking about the end of Inside much like gamers talked about the ending of Journey for years after its release. Even right now, there are thousands of discussions happening between players of Inside who are bouncing theories, ideas, and their own interpretations off one another. If a game can spark so much conversation, then to me that makes it more than the sum of its parts. All the praise and accolades this game has gotten from players and critics alike are warranted. If you own an Xbox One, or are part of that ever so loving PC Master Race, you need to do yourself a favor and drop everything you are doing and purchase Inside. You want to be part of this conversation because this will be a game that inspires many, inside and outside of the industry.