A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players left to interpret meaning of what they see, but will certainly notice themes of isolation, pursuit, perseverance. Depending on perspective, story might be taken as a statement about individualism, commentary on dangers that come with technological progress.
Positive Role Models
The boy, who seems scared, desperate through game, simply wants to escape those chasing him. He doesn't rely on violence but instead uses caution, intelligence to outwit his pursuers.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, easy to learn, but action sequences sometimes require deft timing; some puzzles will leave players stumped for several minutes or longer.
Violence & Scariness
The boy gets blown apart, mauled by dogs, drowns. His death sometimes leaves bloody marks on ground. He doesn't attack anyone, but one section sees his antagonists getting crushed, leaving bloody stains on the floor. Several scenes show bodies (apparently dead), twitching limbs suspended from ropes, lying on ground.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several characters -- including the boy whom players control -- appear naked, but their bodies are smooth like a doll's, without detail, genitals.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A lit cigar lies smoking in an ashtray.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inside is a downloadable narrative platformer-puzzle adventure game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs. It stars a nameless boy that's on the run from powers unknown. Frequently scary and haunting imagery depicts the boy struggling to escape armed men, dogs, and other perils. He encounters disturbing scenes that involve wiggling worms extruding from pigs and mannequin-like people divested of free will. The boy suffers bloody deaths that range from being blown to bloody bits to having his throat torn open by dogs. He doesn't fight back but instead attempts to evade his pursuers. He also uses his wits to overcome obstacles, solving contextual puzzles to keep progressing. Players will need to interpret for themselves much of what they see, but several clear themes -- including isolation, pursuit, and perseverance -- emerge as the story progresses.
Is It Any Good?
This excellent adventure is a follow-up to the acclaimed indie hit Limbo, and it shares much in common with that game. Both are mysterious run-to-the-right puzzle-platformers starring a young boy that feature dark themes and contextual conundrums involving switches, water, and objects governed by commonsense physics. That said, Inside takes a step further into disturbing territory with its haunting imagery and enigmatic story, which is likely to creep out many players even as it keeps them glued to the screen, craving answers and understanding. That understanding never comes -- at least not in clear, unambiguous terms -- but there's a certain satisfaction to be gleaned from a narrative experience that leaves much to the interpretation of individual players.
The riddles extend beyond the story and into play. The boy's frequently confronted with puzzles appropriate to his given situation that can usually be solved through a mix of experimentation and a commonsense understanding of physics and the world around us. Since controls are limited to a joystick for movement, a button assigned to jump, and another to interact with objects, solutions are usually just a matter of figuring out what can be manipulated and then thinking of different ways that those things can be used. You may get stuck, but the answers can usually be found either through perseverance or by taking a quick break and coming back to the problem with a fresh perspective. The real stars of the show, though, are Inside's compelling narrative, singular atmosphere, and empathic hero. The evocative final scene will stay with you long after the brief credits finish flashing across the screen.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.