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10 Games To Play After Inside

by Matt Miller on Jul 02, 2016 at 01:00 PM

We’ve all had the feeling. You wait with excitement for a long-anticipated game, and luckily it’s everything you hoped it would be. But all too soon, it’s over, and you still want more! Few recent games evoke that sensation more than Inside, the dark and dreamlike adventure from Playdead. Its recent release has led to almost universal praise, but it’s also a brief game that only takes a few hours to complete. While we wholeheartedly encourage a replay or two, at some point you’re going to want to move on to something else. Here are ten great games that scratch at least some part of the same itch.

Developer: Playdead

This one is perhaps obvious, but if you haven’t been plugged into Playdead’s previous work, you should track down a copy of Limbo right away. In many ways, Inside is an evolution of many of the gameplay, visual, and audio concepts first explored by the studio in its previous game. While many of the themes are different, Limbo’s black and white aesthetic, surprising puzzles, and vulnerable boy protagonist all make this the clear next choice if you’ve already fallen in love with the developer’s latest game. 

Developer: Number None 

Jonathan Blow’s stellar puzzle/platformer set the stage for many indie games to follow. With its post-modern repackaging of familiar video game conceits like Mario’s rescue of the princess, and sparse but elegant puzzle design that twists expectation, Braid is a thoughtful and ultimately painful meditation on the nature of life and love. And like Inside, its final minutes are not what you expect. 

Developer: Polytron 

While its brightly colored visuals and lush world may seem in stark opposition to the grim environs of Inside, the two games share much in common. Both games delight in subverting expectation, and challenging players to think in new ways. And like Inside, Fez features a second layer of puzzles beyond what seems like the end of the game, many of which reach to a new layer of critical examination and discovery.

Kentucky Route Zero
Developer: Cardboard Computer 

Inside has some clever puzzles, but its thoughtful thematic concepts and evocative setting are also a big part of its appeal. That’s why we’d point you towards Kentucky Route Zero, a point and click adventure that is as much about understanding yourself as it is about progressing the narrative. With its quiet and deliberate pacing, and the mystery of figuring out what’s really going on, Kentucky Route Zero will tap into that same sensation of wonder and bewilderment that Inside nails so well. 

The Swapper
Developer: Facepalm Games 

Inside’s powerful and creepy tone is at least in part established through the haunting and eerily silent world. As your character runs ever-forward, the lack of distraction often accentuates the small sounds and notable sights that you encounter along the way. Similarly, The Swapper features a similarly dark and quiet setting, this time aboard a damaged space station. In addition, just like in Inside, The Swapper encourages you to solve puzzles by controlling others, but in Facepalm's game, it’s all about clones of yourself.

Next Page: Five more games to satisfy your post-Inside hunger

Year Walk
Developer: Simogo 

Don’t be fooled by the first-person perspective. Inside attempts to explore themes of loneliness, the nature of existence, and do it all against the backdrop of a bleak and foreboding setting, Year Walk hits many of the same emotional notes that make Inside so compelling. You control an individual who is confronting a complex ritual of fasting and solitude, and your nightmare-fueled encounters with creatures from Swedish folklore are disturbing yet oddly beautiful.

Developer: Frogmind

At almost every moment during your playthrough of Inside, you can close your eyes and listen. When you do, the sound design paints a picture in your mind. Open your eyes, and the visuals echo that soundscape. Badland may differ in its gameplay style, focused on screen taps to move your strange creatures through increasingly complex obstacle courses, but the audio and visual design share a great deal with Playdead’s preferred style of presentation. For a master class in the way sound and visual design can work in tandem, Badland and Inside go hand in hand. Go ahead and check either the original or Badland 2 – they’re both excellent.

The Witness
Developer: Thekla, Inc. 

We’ve already mentioned one of Jonathan Blow's game on this list, but the talented developer’s most recent project is equally worth a nod, especially to players who enjoyed the lateral thinking and aha moments that Inside excels at presenting. Puzzles in The Witness all adhere to a strict structure about drawing a line from one point to another. It’s the many variations on that theme that make the game so mesmerizing. If Inside’s most enigmatic brainteasers were the highlight of the experience, do yourself a favor and roll right into a playthrough of this puzzle masterpiece.

The Stanley Parable
Developer: Galactic Cafe 

On a thematic level, Inside is a game that deals strongly with concepts of conformity and an individual that isn’t willing to go quietly along with the world as its presented. Davey Wreden’s interactive narrative confronts those same concepts, this time focused on an office worker who is discovering that his job (and life) is more complex and strange than it first appears. The Stanley Parable is ruined by knowing too much about it before you play, but suffice to say that it’s the many different paths you can take through the story that lend it excitement. But through vastly different methods, both The Stanley Parable and Inside force you to confront some uncomfortable thoughts about society and your place inside of it.

Monument Valley
Developer: Ustwo 

One of the words that comes up most frequently when people discuss Inside is “dreamlike.” The surprising and surreal visuals can feel like a disquieting nightmare. If you like the trancelike presentation of Inside, but you want to explore the other more pleasant side of the dreamscape, you may want to check out Monument Valley. With its Escher-esque stages and contemplative tone, it leads to some of the same mindbending sensations, but without the overlay of horror and disquiet that characterizes Inside.