Looks can be deceiving in video games and sometimes a game will offer a startling and emotional adventure that you really didn’t expect. That was certainly the case for me with INMOST, which looked like a typical platforming-puzzler in its trailers but is actually something so much more…
I don’t really want to dive into INMOST‘s story in too much depth because it really is the driving force of the game. You’ll get to see the tales of three different characters unfold: a young girl who finds herself exploring an eerie house, a knight that faces off against beasts in a Medieval-like setting, and a fairly normal man (also known as ‘the Hero’) who seems to be the connection point between the three of them. And that’s all I really want to say…
A little vague, right? Well, just know that it tells an emotional and dark tale that’ll really draw you in with its engaging form of storytelling. A lot of this is told through subtle imagery, whilst a lot is clear as day as you work through the struggles of each character. Everything manages to wrap up nicely though, so it’s easy to find yourself invested in INMOST’s tale right until the very end.
It’s worth noting that the game comes with a warning at the start that states that it might be a little upsetting for some players… it’s a warning that should probably be taken seriously too. Whilst it might not necessarily look it at first glance, INMOST delves into some touchy subjects that may be a little triggering for some players. It never feels exploitative though, but is presented in an emotive (and sometimes dark) manner that certainly struck a chord with me as I played through the game. It’s something I actually commend INMOST for and I was left impressed that it still has me thinking about it two days on from completion.
As you switch between the three characters featured in the story, you’ll find yourself playing with varying gameplay mechanics. The young girl’s time is spent working her way through the environment, though her small stature means she has to push and climb all sorts of obstacles in order to make her way around. On the other hand, the Knight is better equipped for adventure and is able to use a grappling-hook to zip his way around environments and a sword to vanquish foes – he’s definitely the more action-orientated character you’ll play as in the game and his segments were some of my favourite. Finally, we have the Hero who offers more platforming-puzzler-based gameplay, with the player expected to use items they find in the environment to open pathways around them and avoid the menacing enemies that are lurking about.
It’s a pretty unique trio of characters to play as, with each bringing something fresh and varied to INMOST that challenges the player to approach the game in different ways. Whilst the young girl and the Knight’s segments are pretty straight forward in design though, there’s a bit more openness to the Hero’s gameplay that required a bit of trial and error – especially with the enemies that are lurking about that can kill you in one hit and the tricky platforming challenges. It actually reminded me a little of titles like Another World in a way, albeit in a much simpler form.
Thankfully, respawning is instantaneous so these sections didn’t frustrate for too long and it was always satisfying when you finally figured out how to get past a pesky enemy or grab that item that seemed to be out of your reach. There’s a fair challenge in place that just takes a bit of figuring out on the player’s part, so there’s nothing too overwhelming to face in the game.
I really had a lot of fun playing through INMOST, with the ‘jack of all trades’ variety offered by the three characters ensuring you’re never doing the same thing for too long. No section of the game ever feels forced and there’s some pretty impressive set-pieces to come across too – some of these were particularly eerie, which I appreciated as a fan of the things that go bump in the night. Admittedly, there were a handful of platforming segments that could feel a little clunky in design, but they were few and far between so it’s hard to complain too much.
There are eighty collectibles to be found across the game that give you an additional challenge to work for too, with each challenging you to veer off the beaten path and be a bit clever to uncover. It’s fun stuff and I found myself looking for each glimmering item in every location I explored, which added a bit more replayability to INMOST’s adventure.
One of my favourite things about the game was just how impressive its visuals were, with the brilliant pixel-art characters and environments standing out throughout. There always seems to be something going on in the environment around you, whilst the more subtle and creepy details certainly help set a gloomy atmosphere. It’s just a lovely looking game and exploring its dark and grim world was a treat throughout.
Between its dark tale, its stellar visuals, and its fun and varied gameplay mechanics, there’s plenty to keep you totally absorbed in INMOST’s emotional adventure. I really enjoyed playing as the trio of unique characters and seeing their tale through to its conclusion, whilst their journey along the way was enjoyably perilous as you look to vanquish the darkness around them.
There were a few aspects of the game that didn’t always hit the mark, such as the trial-and-error gameplay of the Hero and the occasional bouts of clunkiness when platforming, but these are minor hindrances in what is otherwise a gripping and entertaining adventure.
Developer: Hidden Layer Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC