Playdead Studio has given us two games a while back that did bring about something. An innovative style with oppressive gameplay elements. I am of course talking about Limbo and Inside . I should be ashamed that I had not played these titles before, but I got the chance to play both on the Nintendo Switch. And afterwards came the realization that I had really missed something.
In both games you start in a dark world where you do not really know what exactly is going on. You start walking and gradually you encounter obstacles or enemies that you have on your mind. Why? That is never really clear. There are enough theories of both games on the internet and I can find some in some and they give the game an even heavier load than it originally had. If a game brings this kind of things up in gamers who play it then you know it’s just right.
Although the games have many similarities in terms of structure and gameplay, there is enough distinction. In Limbo the main focus is on subconscious fears and internal demons. You walk through a dark forest, are hunted by big spiders and you encounter the most sinister traps. In Inside the fear plays more on an adult level. At the beginning of the game you see people who are being loaded and unloaded in trucks, enemies with guns and bloodthirsty dogs. It all reminds a bit of war and deportation. Further in the game it gets a bit more bizarre if you end up in a complex where you have to avoid spotlights, but you also encounter strange human drones that you can control.
Limbo also responded to fear as I said earlier, but with Inside it all feels more realistic and less cartoony. In both games, I think the trip is much better than the endings. They left me a bit, say a lot, and they might have been able to do something here. But of course this is also because the endings do allow enough of their own interpretation and everyone can mirror their own experience with this, so maybe I just whine and am looking for closure.
What makes Inside even more intense is that the world is more visible. In Limbo everything was dark and you could see what would happen if you died or that there was something bad on the ground, but with Inside all this becomes clearer and more tangible Captured. Sometimes you are torn apart by dogs, you see yourself already drowning convulsively or are you grabbed and dragged away by nasty men. It grabs you a bit more at the throat than Limbo I found myself.
In terms of difficulty, I must say that Limbo found a greater challenge than Inside . Not that the puzzles here are very easy, but a little less challenging. It feels like the game is more about the experience than the challenge, where Limbo found this balance better and I sometimes had to really puzzle how something worked to get ahead. The game has an auto-save function that makes it easy to replay a part quickly once you have fallen into a trap or have been eaten. Often you only need to transfer a small piece of the map.
The sound in both games is really cool. The soundtrack (if you can call it that) sounds ominous and sometimes there is only the sound of the world around you and the ominous creatures awaiting you in the dark. I occasionally got strange looks from my wife next to me on the couch when another strange cracking or whine came from my Switch.
As I said before Limbo looks more cartoony and it is especially dark in the game. This was particularly annoying when you played the game in handheld mode when there was too much light on your screen. If you play the game via the Switch on your TV, it is more to my right, personally. Inside knows this problem much less. This game also does not splash off your screen in terms of color, but light is used in a different way and there are other environments so that your handheld always sees exactly what you are doing and what will come your way.
It is very difficult to say which of the two is the better horror game. They both respond to fear in a different way, but they are both very similar in terms of structure. As far as story is concerned, Inside is perhaps the more obscure choice, but Limbo has more difficult puzzles. Actually, you just have to play them both, because as I said in the beginning you just miss something if you skip these games.