Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

Inside Review

  • First Released Jun 29, 2016
    released
  • Reviewed Aug 23, 2016
  • XONE
  • PS4
Chris Damien on Google+

The boy in the high castle.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

A world, broken at the hands of technological progress, decays in silence and darkness. Cowed and enslaved people shuffle mindlessly through the streets. Overseers dressed in masks and black clothes stand at the corners, waiting for one of the slaves to fall out of line, watching the soulless masses as they are forced to jump and dance. A featureless boy in the midst of it all walks through this dystopia wearing a red shirt, one of the only touches of color in this oppressive world.

This is Inside, the second game from Limbo developer Playdead. Like Limbo, the gameplay is simple: you have to walk, jump, and grab objects in order to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Ultimately, however, the game is about your journey through a tyrannical, unknowable, and apocalyptic world. Over the course of a few hours, you descend ever deeper into the heart of a malicious and immense construct that threatens to suffocate agency and humanity.

Limbo followed a character moving through a strange and primitive land. Death came easily to the character, but it rarely felt like murder. Inside, on the other hand, exudes violence, cruelty, and artifice. The game highlights the old and shattered parts of a society that you discover has been dragged into a hell of human experimentation.

As you progress through Inside, you experience stretches of quiet and calm punctuated by flashes of complete absurdity. The game encourages you to relish these often shocking or brutal twists, which incite feelings of revulsion and confusion. They make you want to know more.

No Caption Provided

These moments remain vivid in my memory even a few days after completing the game. A mindless horde of figures followed me off a cliff only to slam into the ground, creating a squelchy pile of flesh. A wispy, feminine creature tenaciously stalked me through underwater regions. I led my character to many deaths that were immediate and gruesome. I loved the game most during its quiet lulls when the oppressive feeling of the world was most apparent, but the in-your-face moments showed a different and darkly comedic side of Inside. I sometimes couldn't help but laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of what it threw at me.

Solving puzzles can be as simple as moving a box up to the base of a high ledge in order to jump up to the top, or as complex as synchronizing multiple automatons to flip switches, lift objects, and move carts so that you can open a door. Some early puzzles rely more on cautious movement than logic as you attempt to avoid murder or abduction at the hands of masked figures. Later puzzles, on the other hand, require more patience and thought. Some make you open sequences of doors to move objects through a room, while others require delicately timed jumps or switches to complete.

There comes a time when Inside leans too heavily on its puzzles to keep you engaged. In these moments, I felt that my driving motivation had shifted from exploring the world to simply flipping the right switch. It's a problem that plagued Limbo, and Inside nearly falls into a similar trap in its middle act when it takes you deep underground. You must complete the game's most time-consuming puzzles during its most narrative-light sections, and the suspense that the game worked so hard to build nearly falls apart.

No Caption Provided

Fortunately, this issue evaporates as the game enters its final act, when the world and puzzles again form a cohesive bond. Inside is at its best when it doesn't feel like you're doing puzzles at all, but rather avoiding obstacles and finding paths through a dangerous space. As Inside nears its conclusion, the puzzles strengthen the sense of exploration that defines the rest of the game.

Much of Inside's success in storytelling comes from its visual design. The game is gorgeous, with a simple but evocative art style defined by muted colors and featureless figures. Gone are the indistinct backgrounds of Limbo; Inside's environments are richly detailed and full of motion and secrets. For example, you might find smoke still wisping from a candle in a recently abandoned room, a truck full of automatons departing right as you enter a new screen, viewing platforms used to watch slaves dance, or the massive shadowy shapes of the compound's machinery looming far off in the background.

Inside's use of sound and music is occasionally breathtaking. You never hear voices, but each setting has its own unique noises. As I moved through a forest, pine trees rustled, rocks clacked against each other, and leaves crunched under my feet. In the compound, a pulsing, rhythmic noise accompanied my journey, a constant and unsettling reminder of the world's heartlessness. Music is used sparingly, but when it swells, even minor events like exiting a building became points fixed in my memory.

No Caption Provided

All of it--the setting, the sound, the beautiful art--builds to the discovery of the secret of this compound, but what I found at the end almost ruined the entire experience. Subtlety was thrown out the window and I was left reeling, unable to process the turn. The oppressive, quiet, slow-moving, and mysterious story that dominated most of the game changed in a flash of complete absurdity. I didn't know whether to laugh or yell in horror as Inside twisted in on itself. When the credits began to crawl, I sat in silence for a few minutes, unable to decide what to make of it.

But as time passed, those final moments grew on me. I still find the ending somewhat odd, but upon playing through Inside a second time, I found endearing elements that fit with the overall story more effectively than I first thought. The ending is self-aware in a way that is simultaneously overwrought and humorous, poking fun at itself and at Limbo. It's also cathartic, releasing all of the tension that built over the rest of Inside in one scene.

This is a beautiful, haunting, and memorable game, a worthy follow-up to Limbo. Its puzzles, although rarely difficult, are engaging complements to the story. The real achievement of this game, though, is the way that it crafts its narrative: detailed environments convey the bizarre world that you travel through; introspective moments are filled with minimalist sound design and just the barest touches of music; and the things you must do to complete your journey force you to confront the realities of humanity, freedom, and existence. The puzzles might not bring you back to play it again, but the opportunity to learn more about the world alone is enough motivation to return to Inside's dystopia.

Back To Top
The Good
Chilling tale of violence and oppression
Haunting touches of dark comedy
Gorgeous, minimalist art and sound
Puzzles that generally fit well with the overall story
The Bad
Slow, detached middle section
Ending feels abrupt and overdone
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Alex Newhouse is a big fan of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, and Inside's a great entry in the genre. He completed the game twice on Xbox One for this review with a copy provided by the developer.
194 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for juninhotorres
juninhotorres

248

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

freaking, frigging awesome. absolutely cathartic.

Avatar image for slider9499
slider9499

45

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Absolutely loved,this game. It is gorgeous, beautiful, tenacious, gruesome, breathtaking, quiet, thought provoking and nerve wracking. The puzzles are great and there are times when you just can't figure out the answer. But then all of a sudden, you do

The only negative is the ending. After reading reviews, I was expecting a real jaw dropping ending. I was very disappointed. It did seem a bit rushed and made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I replayed it (the ending) several times and I still have no idea what the hell it is supposed to mean. If anyone does, please contact me.

I give this game a solid 9 for all of the above reasons. If the ending was more in,one with my expectations, or what I felt was a more linear ending as it relates to the overall story, I would have given it a 10. Either way, Inside is worth every minute you spend with it.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99
deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

622

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

$10 on PSN right now. Just until January 3rd 2017. Can't say I would buy it for the full $20, but grabbed it right away at this price. Hurry!

Avatar image for Sound_Demon
Sound_Demon

614

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Sound_Demon  Online

I'm not comparing direct numbers or genres but when you see a game like this... get an 8 and BF1 get a 9, I can't help but compare and scratch my head as to why the hell... This game is a 9.8 to 10

Avatar image for marvelous
Marvelous

12

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Just started to play this, it's great 10 of 10

Avatar image for kingjulian84
kingjulian84

32

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

This game comes very, VERY close to being perfect in every single sense of the word. No joke.

Avatar image for Litchie
Litchie

24471

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Edited By Litchie

Completed it yesterday. Despite being short, the game is fucking amazeballs. I'd give it a 9.

Avatar image for muddrox
Muddrox

195

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 27

User Lists: 0

I respect the reviewer's opinion but that ending's absurdity was perfect.

Avatar image for RussellMartin
RussellMartin

207

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

I loved this game... The video review shows WAY TOO MUCH! Don't watch it.. Just play it.... It's best if you know nothing... It's a beautiful and shocking game.

Avatar image for slider9499
slider9499

45

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

@RussellMartin: Totallynagree. Go in without any preconceived ideas or insight and you will be blown away. I suggest a dark room and headphones.

Avatar image for EXxile
EXxile

1103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 143

User Lists: 0

Edited By EXxile

Fantastic game. Eerie, yet beautiful. I actually enjoyed Inside a lot more than I did Limbo.

Avatar image for bonzaibillie_99
BonzaiBillie_99

185

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

GS reviews have slipped immensely in reliability. This game is a sheer Masterpiece. It is a must own. An easy 9, or 10.

Avatar image for buckeyeq
buckeyeq

26

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Edited By buckeyeq

@bonzaibillie_99: Absolutely. It is a no brainer 9-10.

Avatar image for Nightmare350
Nightmare350

96

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

If you enjoyed Limbo, buy this now. It exceeded my expectations. Only wish it was longer. Can't wait for part 2! (hence the ending)

Avatar image for Bond_Villain
Bond_Villain

498

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

Good, I will get this.

Avatar image for streamline
streamline

2151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Bond_Villain: Practice or inspiration before you toy with James Bond's life?

Avatar image for smokerob79
smokerob79

1750

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

wow even game stop recycles the comments.....so are a month old but this is listed as new....

Avatar image for Mudvayne84
Mudvayne84

150

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I'm confused. Wasn't this review posted a month or more ago?

Avatar image for RicanV
RicanV

2619

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 0

RicanV  Moderator

@Mudvayne84: I believe that was the Xbox version.

Avatar image for Mudvayne84
Mudvayne84

150

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@RicanV: Interesting. Ok, just making sure I wasnt going crazy ha

Avatar image for smokerob79
smokerob79

1750

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@RicanV: must have been the PC version....this one is listed as the PS4 and one review......dont know just going by what the page says......

Avatar image for Zombie8814
Zombie8814

608

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

I will definitely be buying this game. I absolutely loved Limbo, so I know this will also be good.

Avatar image for simplytheebest
SimplyTheeBest

1863

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This will make a fantastic FREE with gold title soon!

Avatar image for EXxile
EXxile

1103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 143

User Lists: 0

@simplytheebest: I doubt "soon" but it will be a fantastic free title down the road. As for me, I'm impatient and bought it. $20 is not bad considering how great the game is :)

Avatar image for RussellGorall
RussellGorall

143

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

"ending feels abrupt and overdone"

It is abrupt AND overdone?

Avatar image for snarf24
snarf24

66

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By snarf24

I loved the game and then the ending. What is up with the ending. All of the sudden it stopped. Is the ending bad, not sure. Maybe I'm desapointed because I wanted to keep playing this amazing game. I still have no idea what to make of the ending. I feel like I'm missing something, like something should of happened during the end credits.

Avatar image for deactivated-5845a9a3984cb
deactivated-5845a9a3984cb

275

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

@snarf24: i didnt find anything wrong with the ending it was beutifual and sureal as the game itself was...what did you expected ?

they broke free and lived i guess , that was the point of story ; these type of endings are open to diffrent imaginations there was nothing wrong with it

Avatar image for Shunten
Shunten

158

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Welcome Mr Newhouse.

Avatar image for shermenz
shermenz

51

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

This is your first review?
I enjoyed it, I found it professional and coherent.

Avatar image for Blazen702
Blazen702

157

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Wow they deleted my post. Game spot is definitely bias towards PlayStation. Giving this game an 8 when every site has this at an avg of 9-10 and meta critic score of 96. Having 2 cons when no other gaming website saw a flaw in this game and most reviews commenting that the game was replayed. In some instances more then 3 times.

Avatar image for northArrow
northArrow

370

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Blazen702: Do you mean the post directly under this one?

Avatar image for zmanbarzel
ZmanBarzel

2010

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@Blazen702: "Giving this game an 8 when every site has this at an avg of 9-10 and meta critic score of 96."

• It has a Metacritic of 92, based on 46 reviews.

• 14 outlets gave the game a score in the 80s, including six other sites that gave an 80.

Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

11750

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

xantufrog  Moderator

@Blazen702: you have no moderation history or any posts deleted...

Avatar image for SolidTy
SolidTy

49991

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Edited By SolidTy

@xantufrog: My rather mild post for this game was deleted too. The odd thing is that while my post was removed/deleted, I only know because I just got a notification of someone responding to what appears to be my now deleted post. How strange.

@Blazen702: While I don't share the same sentiments (Inside is actually a 92/100 at metacritic, and remember the metascore fluctuates heavily in the first three weeks), but that said I too am now missing a post that was in this review.

Avatar image for xantufrog
xantufrog

11750

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

xantufrog  Moderator

@SolidTy: I don't see any deleted post on your account from this either - nor how anyone could reply to a deleted post since deleted posts are only visible to mods and staff. I think this must be a bug - I have had posts vanish from my view numerous times, unfortunately

Avatar image for SolidTy
SolidTy

49991

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

@xantufrog: I see. I suppose it's a bug. Thanks for looking. :)

Avatar image for Blazen702
Blazen702

157

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Blazen702

So every site on the web including meta critic has this game at a 95 or 10. Most calling it a masterpiece and ign and game informer saying there are no cons yet this site which obviously sucks PlayStations balls gave it an 8 and had 2 cons. Confirms how shitty this POS website is. Should just change the name to PonySpot.com

Avatar image for deactivated-57bcc1891a93a
deactivated-57bcc1891a93a

1284

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@Blazen702: so I guess that means you'll be leaving us. damn

Avatar image for louixiii
LouiXIII

7773

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

XBOX ONE GOTY contender...

Avatar image for deaditelord
deaditelord

248

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Will check this out once it is on sale. I can't justify spending $20 on a game this short.

Avatar image for Zombie8814
Zombie8814

608

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

Edited By Zombie8814

@deaditelord: I usually wait for sales, too, but I'm going to pay full price this time around just to support the developer. $20 is more than reasonable.

Avatar image for bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

1379

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@deaditelord: Limbo was great but I felt like it wasn't worth the entry price when I bought it from the Playstation Store. I don't feel like I would have missed much by waiting for a Steam sale but I hadn't seen the light back then.

Avatar image for deaditelord
deaditelord

248

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@bbq_R0ADK1LL: That's how I see it. Even for well-reviewed games, I almost never pay full price unless there's a significant amount of content for the price or it's something I know that I will play more than once. Otherwise, I'm content to wait for a sale or rent on Gamefly.

Avatar image for obsidian_born
OBSIDIAN_BORN

801

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 0

Its a 10/10 if you ask me! Just absolutely incredible.

Avatar image for NTM23
NTM23

1282

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Hello everyone, I finished the game earlier; I'll take your questions :P. No really, I will if you have any.

Avatar image for whateverdude
WhateverDude

85

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By WhateverDude

@NTM23: where do babies come from?

Avatar image for iammcgruber
IAmMcGruber

1451

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@NTM23: Same here, had the day off work so I just played it and got sucked in. The game was short..took me 4-5 hours but absolutely worth the $20 price tag. Amazing game

Avatar image for NTM23
NTM23

1282

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Edited By NTM23

@iammcgruber: I liked it, and though I didn't regret my purchase, I'd rather it be $9.99 to be honest. I recommend people play it one way or another. I didn't think it was 'amazing', but it was interesting, and just really good.

INSIDE More Info

Follow
  • First Released Jun 29, 2016
    released
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Macintosh
    • + 4 more
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    INSIDE is an action-adventure puzzle game, which follows our award winning title LIMBO, released in 2010.
    8.6
    Average Rating262 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate INSIDE
    Developed by:
    PLAYDEAD
    Published by:
    PLAYDEAD
    Genre(s):
    2D, Action, Platformer
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Violence