Gaming

This is the best video game you’ll play all year

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David Cornish
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There's too much hyperbole in video games. It's exhausting.

Every console has to be "the best". Every game has to be "the greatest ever".

Which means we've got something of a problem with INSIDE - the new atmospheric puzzle adventure from Playdead studios, the team that brought you the utterly brilliant LIMBO. Because INSIDE is the best video game you'll play this year. 

"Chill out mate," you're probably thinking. "It's not even July yet."

You're right. Spot on. Great calendar skills. The point is, INSIDE is so good at what it does, so brilliant in its execution of puzzle solving, story telling and "let's try that again" moments, that it's given me a confidence to say no other game released in 2016 will be quite as good as INSIDE manages to be. 

There's no dialogue. You control a small boy wearing a red top - the only splash of colour in an otherwise grey, dystopian setting. You're running away from something, evading a group of individuals apparently intent on capturing or killing you - whichever is easier.

There is a story - a grizzled, mature, haunting one, that'll leave you wanting to pause the game and have a good think about life on more than one occasion. Really. It's HBO-level drama, and I don't want to spoil it.

There are only two buttons: jump and interact. It's two dimensional platforming at its finest, meaning you will mistime a crucial jump and have to replay a section until you've mastered it, and you will need to have another look at that last room to see if you missed a special switch to open that new door. 

It should only take you about three to four hours to finish the main story of INSIDE, unpacking the dark secrets that lie in the depths of the mysterious organisation that's apparently controlling the world around you. No, that's not a lot of game time. But Playdead has gone for quality over quantity, in the same way that a single glass of 20 year old Scotch whisky is better than five crates of alcopop.

If you've played LIMBO (you bloody well should), then INSIDE will feel very familiar. Like putting on a fresh pair of new trainers from that brand that fits your foot perfectly. Indie games aren't always special, and they're rarely worth the £20-or-so you splash on them. But INSIDE is, on both counts.

I'll stop now. You get the point. Believe the hype. Give your preferred football game/first-person shooter/TV drama a rest, download INSIDE and fall in love with video games all over again. 

INSIDE arrives on Xbox One on 29 June and PC on 7 July

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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