Last month Chucklefish dropped Inmost onto PC and while this indie title might have taken some time to review, you shouldn’t wait any longer to escape the darkness and pick up Inmost today.
Developed by indie outfit Hidden Layer Games and published by the aforementioned Chucklefish, Inmost is a dark tale of pain and torment. Trapped in a world where darkness and light are terrifying in equal measure, Inmost allows players to navigate this surprisingly beautiful tale under the guise of three playable characters. As you wander through this puzzle platformer, you’ll find out what it takes to escape this nightmare.
While the summary above might conjure up images of grotesque horror games, Inmost is more akin to a dark fairytale. Taking more inspiration from The Brothers Grimm than Disney’s fables, this dystopian tale throws players into a 2D world where crumbling visages of what came before are the backdrop for a society decaying that decays off in the distance. Despite sporting a spritely retro aesthetic, the team at Hidden Layer Games still manage to present an environment that evokes a response from players. Picking up the first moments of this tale throw payers into a barely lit room where the decay seems to ebb out into the tone of everything on screen. Greys, browns, and blues tones persist throughout the game, never allowing the player to think that there is ever anything inviting about this fictional world.
Escaping the confines of a cabin in the woods finds a world outside that is no more welcoming. A seemingly permanent dusk is littered with broken buildings and an unkempt landscape. Overgrown and abandoned areas ask what exactly happened to this world, and Inmost doesn’t waste much time introducing players to this disaster. What little illumination that enters this broken land floods the surviving members of society in a cold unforgiving hue, that seems almost as ominous as the darkness it holds back.
This Spark acts as both a source of torment and safety to survivors. Central to the narrative element of the game, it allows a little respite from the darkness and desolation that seem to have ravaged the world but it is hardly a comfort. Flooding players in a stark white illumination, Inmsot manages to make players feel uneasy when they should feel safe from the whatever lurks in the darkness of the dungeons below.
This uneasy new environment doesn’t just rely on the previously mentioned visual choices. The high def retro aesthetic that scrolls along the screen is accompanied by some outstanding audio production. Inmost might seem somewhat unassuming to look at, but from the first crack of thunder and the opening narration, I was hooked on the breathtaking audioscape. Generally tending to focus on creature and environmental noise Inmost knows exactly when to pump up the volume. A relatively light-touch approach makes the screech of a monstrous beast a breathtaking moment and manages to appropriately reflect the visual design of this narrative platformer.
Much the rest of the audio of Inmost, intermittent narration provides some insight into the tale of adventure that the game’s three characters take. In Inmost much of the world and your quest is experienced by exploring a 2D world. Taking on Inmost means Navigating a series of dungeons and 2D platforming puzzles and completing tasks that don’t pose much of a challenge. While you might be accustomed to playing the hero here. Inmost is split between three distinctly different individuals that exist in this linear adventure. None of these characters fit the moniker of hero, and you won’t be exploring the world with an overpowered party. Instead, Inmost plays down the combat, plunging players into a series of overground platforms and deep dungeons where you’re more likely to run away from an incoming threat than attack. Despite the absence of any real heroics, the variety of characters involved also adds a freshness to each element of this story, allowing Inmost to keep a narrative heavy, and unchallenging platforming experience, fresh and engaging
Whether it’s in a dungeon or above the treetops, nowhere is really safe in this new world. Outside of the odd survivor, most of the creatures that you’ll interact with are contortions of strange dark gunk that seems to clog up everything it touches. If it isn’t wound around the last vestiges of civilization, this dark intruder can be found littering the many dungeons and even taking on other more monstrous forms too.
While the gameplay or mechanics of Inmost won’t exactly stretch most gamers, this really isn’t the point. Inmsot’s puzzle s are simple enough and the story is about as linear as the one-way maps. There isn’t a great deal of allowance for replay or any kind of serious exploration but this allows Inmost to be incredibly concise.
There’s little fat on this adventure. The aesthetic is unnerving and the audio production is second to none. What presents as a cute adventure quickly turns into an unsettling tale that might leave younger minds checking the closet for moving shadows. Just as you think things are starting to become mundane, Inmost unleashes a new twist. Whether that is a new character, a different enemy, or a new tale of woe, there’s no hanging around for filler. Inmost is short but the excellent proportion, charming visuals, and incredible audio all combine to make a truly enthralling experience. Grab it on a stormy night when you’re looking for something a little darker. Inmost is out now on PC, via Steam, Nintendo Switch, and on iOS mobile devices.