I really was not expecting my initial reaction to Limbo to be how soothing it is. But there’s something about the game (its color palette, or rather palette of greys, in particular) that made it immediately feel calming to me, like walking through a quiet evening.

Limbo is not actually like walking through a quiet evening; oddly enough, though, that feeling of calmness more or less remained even as I started getting repeatedly impaled by a shadowy spider creature. I won’t say that I always felt calm during the game, but when I wasn’t, it was probably mostly the times when I was banging my head against puzzles? I was certainly surprised
how persistent the atmospheric feeling was.


Inside was not nearly as calming as Limbo: the perils of using actual colors. Though that wasn’t the only difference between the two games’s presentations, to be sure: in particular, I found the 3-D environments which you could only interact with in a 2-D manner to be slightly distracting? And being chased by dogs and people bothered me more than being attacked by mechanical spiders. The puzzles were just as good, though.

What actually struck me most about Inside was near the end, rather than the beginning: the part when you become a big fleshy blob rolling through the environments, smashing windows and in general causing chaos. That was surprisingly cathartic, and that catharsis is something that I miss in most games’ arcs. I’m used to games that bring the action to a fever pitch with a final boss fight, and then end almost immediately after that; but that doesn’t leave you enough time to wind down and enjoy your victory. With Inside, though, the capstone puzzle sequence is before you become a blob; and, after becoming a blob, you’re left with a noticeable amount of time (not a long period, but enough) to roll around, enjoy your new power, and only have a few isolated puzzles to deal with. A nice release of tension, leading to a relaxing end as you, uh, decompose on a hillside next to the water?

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