- Developer: Hidden Layer Games
- Publisher: Chucklefish LTD
- Release Date: 21/08/2020
- Price: £11.99 / $14.99
- Review code provided by Chucklefish LTD
Introducing: Inmost Switch Review
It is darkest before the dawn. This statement is usually made when someone is going through a tragedy and needs to know it won’t last forever. Inmost, from Chucklefish and Hidden Layer Games, feels like it needs that statement labeled all over it. This may be one of the darkest games I have played and to say it had me feeling something would be an understatement. Should you venture into the darkness of Inmost to find out what lies beneath? Read on dear children, for the tale must be told.
Crawling in the Dark
Inmost is a confusing tale. The player is given control of three different characters. Each tale seems separate, but there are small hints in each one to show how they are connected. Without spoiling anything, the player controls a knight, an older man, and a young girl. The knight is on a quest to steal pain and suffering from the underworld and give it to the Keeper, a giant shadowy figure that haunts the world. The older gentleman seems lost in the underworld, simply wanting to escape. Lastly, the young girl’s tale takes place in the real world, completely in her house.
As stated previously, this was a confusing tale in which all the pieces felt wrong in the beginning. It wasn’t until the last half of the game that I was able to start piecing together what everything meant. It was fun speculating with my wife on what was happening. I was dead set on believing the young girl was a poltergeist haunting the house. The real truth to her tale was much darker and for a game told in pixel art, I wasn’t expecting the climax. By the time the credits rolled, I was a sobbing mess.
Looking for the Answers
Inmost, at its core, is a puzzle platformer. Two of the three characters are defenseless, and the knight is the only character that brings the fight. The young girl has a small range of actions and movements. Most light switches are too tall for her to reach, requiring a chair or stool to stand on. Many of her puzzles involve stacking things on top of each other to reach greater heights. Some also utilize her small stature to get into crevices and sneak around.
The gentleman has a wider range of movement with a decent jump to boot. This character feels more like the main protagonist as he finds items and secrets in the form of pain fragments. The other items in the quest help him to progress further, such as a pickaxe to break through walls and a scythe to cut down briars and branches.
Lastly, we have the knight and his action segments. These were my least favorite parts as it felt like a bit of a slog. Slashing denizens of the underworld started out as a joy, but after you destroy 10-15 of them, it becomes a chore. The fighting mechanics are very basic with an attack and dodge only. The only bright side to this section is the narration by Cassandra Lee Morris (Morgana from Persona 5).
Gloom and Doom
Inmost features a Game Boy pixel style that may seem very simplistic at first but is deceiving. As you continue to explore, the coloration can have subtle changes, going from a gray into a purple hue. The animations were fluid and beautiful. Creatures move with such grace that you wouldn’t know this is a pixelated game. Then the audio work adds a different layer to it, featuring soft and chilling atmospheric sections to sad and beautiful piano tunes.
In my time with Inmost of the Switch, I found playing in both handheld and docked to be both thoroughly enjoyable. No slowdown or downgrades appeared in switching between the two. I did notice one small glitch when playing as the young girl. Sometimes when she was climbing down from a ledge or chair, her animation would get stuck. Instead of going down to the next level, she would go back up to the top level. It happened a few times, and I would usually just need to move her around a bit and try again.
The team at Hidden Layer Games have put together a solid yet brief, grab-you-by-the-heartstrings adventure. The brevity of it isn’t a large hindrance since it is a cheaper title. Even though it can be completed in one sitting, it is a journey that needs to be experienced. The darkness that is held within eventually yields to light, bringing about closure and hope. This game serves as a reminder that no matter what we go through, things can turn around. All it takes is one hand reaching out.
- Gripping and dark tale
- Gorgeous visuals
- Cassandra Lee Morris’ performance
- Knights section
- Can be finished in one sitting
Inmost can take a moment to grab you, but once it has its hold, you won’t be able to put it down until its done.