There is no doubt that video games have been a great vehicle for delivering some of the greatest stories ever told. While gameplay remains at the forefront of what makes a video game great, some titles value story above all else, and Hidden Layer Games’ Inmost is a perfect example of this.
Inmost begins with a warning about the disturbing nature of its content, specifically, its story, which explores a dark tale of loss, loneliness, and the abandonment of hope. However, despite the dark nature of its narrative, Inmost features a flawless execution of its deeply emotional story carefully integrated into an engaging puzzle platformer, offering a unique take on what should have been another game of its genre.
In Inmost, players control three characters: a girl trapped in a house full of secrets, a knight who appears to be in the service of an evil entity, and a middle-aged man searching for answers. Each of these characters offers a unique play style with the girl’s story focusing on exploration, the Knight on combat, and the middle-aged man taking on most of the elements of puzzle-platformer game.
Throughout the game, players will switch between these three characters, but not by choice. While their stories may seem unrelated at first, they all culminate in a darkly interconnected narrative with a significant twist. The story is also well-paced in the beginning, giving players enough context to want to see the story through to the end. However, towards the conclusion of the story, control is taken away from the player, leaving them only observers. Inmost also offers challenging gameplay that will keep players engaged throughout this dark journey. The game itself is relatively short, around 3-5 hours on average, and play time is mostly dictated by how quickly the player can solve the game’s puzzles. Although the puzzles are challenging in the beginning, players will find repeating patterns that will make solving the puzzle easier at the end.
The game features several battles, and most of the battles are found in the Knight’s part of the game, as he is the only one who can fight enemies directly. During enemy encounters, the Knight can use his weapon to slash enemies and use his Grappling Crossbow to traverse the world. Players will encounter many enemies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses as some enemies are stationary like drops, while others lunge towards the player, forcing them to strategize each strategy by combining attacks with carefully timed dodges to avoid getting hit.
The middle-aged man will also face weaker enemies, aside from the fearsome Hunters, but all he can do to defeat them is run away or lure them into traps. One thing players should keep in mind when playing Inmost is that death will always happen. The good thing is that dying in the game has no negative effects, as players just respawn at the nearest save point. This, of course, eliminates frustration when dealing with difficult enemies or when traversing the game world full of traps, chasms, and other dangers. Some of the game’s most challenging puzzles can also result in multiple deaths until the player figures out the best strategy to solve it. Despite this, Inmost’s combat is enjoyable, even if it’s not the main feature of the game.
The design of the game’s nightmarish labyrinth world is a testament to the excruciating detail that Hidden Layer Games poured into Inmost. Items fall off shelves when players climb on them, bugs get squashed when stepped on, and every slash of the Knight’s weapon feels heavy and the pixel-art visuals also compliment Inmost’s overall aesthetic appeal . While it’s not as photorealistic as most modern games today, the muted, pixelated art style manages to convey a sense of dread and agony.
However, one of the best elements that Hidden Layer Games was able to incorporate into the game was the soundtrack. Throughout the player’s journey to understand the sad world of Inmost, they will be accompanied by beautiful music. The game knows what to play depending on the situation the player is in, whether it’s a gentle but lingering piano during exploration, loud and ominous music when interacting with enemies, or complete silence whenever the need arises. scene.
For the uninitiated, Inmost was first released as a mobile game on Apple Arcade before hitting the Nintendo Switch in August 2020. However, those who have played the mobile version will be happy to know that the Switch port of the game has -offering new content, characters, dialogue, and some of the scenes have been moved around to give returning players a different experience. While the game’s story and basic premise remain the same, Hidden Layer Games is calling the Switch port the complete version of Inmost.
As far as game performance on the Nintendo Switch is concerned, it’s worth pointing out that there are slight issues. The game’s controls can be a bit clunky at times, and players may find themselves going back and forth to a particular door or item to trigger the “Examine” or “Open” buttons. There are also some glitches, especially during loading screens, where players may experience frame drops that take away immersion. However, these issues are few and far between, and there are no glaring problems that a simple patch can’t fix.
Overall, Inmost is a well-balanced game that carefully combines a deeply emotional story with a challenging, and sometimes terrifying, gameplay. Its visuals and soundtrack perfectly complement its central themes of grief and loss, resulting in a truly unique and truly terrifying experience. Despite a few minor issues like this and a rushed conclusion that’s just told to the player instead of them experiencing it, Inmost’s dynamic storytelling, challenging puzzles, and immersive combat are enough to overcome it all of its shortcomings.
Inmost is out now for iOS, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Today Technology was provided with a Switch code for this review.