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Inmost

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 3 - 2020

A very unusual story-driven puzzle platformer.

 
Being warned about potentially upsetting or emotional content before playing a video game is much like telling someone not to press a button. Of course the button is going to be pressed, and of course the warned player is going to leap into the game, most likely declaring at the top of their voice “make me feel, game!”. Well, Inmost from Hidden Layer Games will rise to that challenge, offering a short but impactful story that will leave most players dealing with a range of emotions. All of this from a game that looks at first glance like a fairly simple pixel art platformer.

 


 
Inmost has a story, but it is one of those games that actively leaves the player guessing until the very end, giving vague clues and offering up more questions than answers. However, given that most players will be able to work through the game in only four hours or so, and is probably best suited to being completed in a single sitting, giving away any aspect of the games’ story would take away from the emotional impact of the reveal. So, rest assured that although things may seem a little confusing for much of the game, the pay-off is quite impressive as the player is left working through a whole raft of different emotions. Or maybe they won’t. I suppose it depends on the player.

 
Either way, Inmost splits its gameplay between three different characters, all of which have their own roles to play and offer slightly different experiences. For the most part, players will be controlling a fairly unremarkable man who can move and jump quite well, while collecting items and solving the occasional interesting puzzle. This is where the game is perhaps at its best, with even the enemies that the player comes across having to be lured into traps to be defeated, rather than outright fighting them.

 
For fighting the monsters, the player will be controlling the Knight. The sequences with this guy are much more about the action, as the Knight is able to swing his sword and attack any monsters, and use a hookshot to move around the environment. Finally, the player is put in control of a young girl wandering around a house. These are perhaps the most thought-provoking segments of the game, while also being the most laid back as a young girl has limited abilities, mostly revolving around moving objects to different places.

 


 
Combining all three slightly different play styles into one game works very well, keeping the gameplay fresh throughout the short adventure. Dying is not a difficult thing to do within the game, considering the monsters and the environmental hazards, but the game is forgiving in the placement of its respawn points, proving that the emphasis here is much more on the story and experience as a whole, rather than forcing the player to show off their skills.

 
Speaking of the environments, it has to be said that the amount of detail included in the various levels is remarkable, considering the pixel art visual style. While the three different main characters may only be made up of a small number of pixels, much like the impressive environments, they are detailed and easy to read. The pixel art visuals are the most striking aspect of Inmost and will be the first thing that draws players to the game. It looks very small on the Switch Lite screen, but proves easy enough to play and just looks great.

 
When it comes to issues with the game, they are few and far between. There is the occasional unavoidable death until the player works out what to do, which feels a little cheap, and the length of the game is quite short. Perhaps the biggest issue comes from the final part of the game, where the game itself pretty much takes over and rushes the player to the grand conclusion. The approach to Inmost’s ending is not what I would have preferred and I would imagine many players will feel the same. Still, it doesn’t take away from what is a very enjoyable, if slightly draining, journey.

 


 
Inmost is a thoughtful game that combines different play styles and a beautiful pixel art visual style into an unforgettable experience. It may be short and have a slightly rushed ending, but the dark tale will be one that stays with most players for a long time to come. An unusual game, Inmost is worth checking out. Just be prepared to feel.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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