De­vel­oper/pub­lisher Playdead For­mat PC, PS4, Xbox One


It’s not nec­es­sar­ily pitched as such, but Playdead’s long-ges­tat­ing fol­low-up to Limbo is the smartest and most fright­en­ing hor­ror game of the past few years, a pur­ga­to­rial night­mare that ex­erts a fe­ro­cious grip, even as its sti­flingly op­pres­sive at­mos­phere threat­ens to over­whelm you. In­side is, un­ques­tion­ably, the bet­ter of the Copen­hagen stu­dio’s two games, lack­ing Limbo’s ten­dency to­wards cruel tricks and hol­low jolts. In­stead, it of­fers a more in­sid­i­ous, un­set­tling slow burn of mount­ing dread, spac­ing out sur­prises that are ex­e­cuted with Hitch­cock­ian pre­ci­sion. Its sound de­sign is ex­cep­tional, from omi­nous bassy rum­blings to the pierc­ing barks of chas­ing dogs, each echo­ing yap rais­ing your heart rate a lit­tle higher. And, at least un­til

The Last Guardian came along, it boasted the year’s most mes­meric cli­max – a macabre twist lead­ing to an ex­hil­a­rat­ing es­cape se­quence that’s just as ghoul­ishly funny as it is hor­ri­fy­ing. Many videogames of­fer glimpses of dystopian fu­tures; per­haps

In­side’s great­est achieve­ment is that its own feels elec­tri­fy­ingly unique.

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