Inmost (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Michael McCann 01.09.2020 5

Review for Inmost on Nintendo Switch

"Indie" games occupy a venerable place in the gaming schema of 2020. It's a term that has come to mean a wide gamut of things that, when compared to the boom of the previous decade, have become more numerous, sophisticated, and self-aware. Is it possible the honeymoon period with indie games is nearing its end? No doubt, it is a rarer sight to see an indie title stand out from the crowd now than it was just a few short years ago. With so much else on the market, it is a difficult task indeed to make happen. However, that is exactly what Inmost did when it was revealed to be coming to Switch in Nintendo's January 2019 Nindies Direct Presentation. With its striking pixel art and mysteriously sombre tone, Inmost presents itself as a 2D game with real "feels." It pushes these feels right to the front and centre of a three/five-hour experience that ends up being something that can be described as a wholly idiosyncratic fare because of it.

The themes present in Inmost aren't going to be for everybody. It is without a doubt a defining factor, and worth mentioning from the off, that it deals with some fairly dark subject matter. Commonly, when dealing with similar themes, a piece of media will skirt around the topic indirectly or have some kind of saccharine element that'll round off the edges.

Screenshot for Inmost on Nintendo Switch

This opinion is perhaps coming from a western perspective (and this title, incidentally, was developed in Lithuania by Hidden Layer Games), but that certainly isn't the case with Inmost. It can be unsettling at times, depressing even. And although it does paint a bleak picture for the most part, it also has moments of humour and action that balance the narrative. Really it is this narrative, and the presentation of which, that is the principle reason to play Inmost.

The main plot device revolves around three characters, and three distinct play styles in the knight, the wanderer and the girl, respectively. There's almost a Kingdom Hearts-ian kind of vibe going on with the plot. It often waxes lyrical about how all of these protagonists all carry a pain in their souls, and about how the pure-hearted are growing secret flowers or something or other. With the promise of seeing what the nature of this pain is as well as revealing the mystery of how these stories all relate to one another, keeps one compelled right up to the concluding moments.

Screenshot for Inmost on Nintendo Switch

It should be said here that the light and darkness thing does come off less literal and more of an allegory than it does in Kingdom Hearts, instead taking more likely stylistic influence from titles such as Limbo, Inside and Another World. This influence can also be seen in the pacing, as well as the gameplay and how it deals with fail states. A lot of credit goes towards it's soundtrack design for setting a great tone throughout, as well as excellent world building that makes Inmost feel unique unto itself.

The wanderer sections comprise the largest portion of gameplay, and are the main meat on the bones of this adventure. These sections consist of navigating through an interwoven, and tightly designed map, solving puzzles and collecting key items to progress. The platforming can be stiff at times, however this isn't too much of an issue as puzzling takes a primary role, versus making pixel-perfect jumps.

Screenshot for Inmost on Nintendo Switch

There is no attack action to speak of, instead eschewing that for the ability to interact. There are enemies on the map, but you must always deal with them more indirectly, and that usually requires some thought - think along the lines of the "getting past the goat" puzzle in Broken Sword… but much less annoying. The other two characters break up these segments. The girl plays slower, and it is an all-around more suspenseful and drama-ful involvement as you explore the secrets of a creeptacular house, whereas the knight is a faster and more action packed play style, giving the ability to attack foes directly.

Both are welcome shifts of gear, and serve to mix up the story at key junctures. The knight sections can get a little repetitive, and would have benefited from an additional mechanic or two during progression, though thankfully this issue is mitigated by no one section overstaying its welcome. Engaging set pieces are sprinkled throughout all of this as well, which additionally supports the pacing, and serves as an exciting and engaging spectacle. As for how it performs on the Switch, it does have some issues, but nothing that will ruin the experience. Frames can stutter here and there in both docked and handheld modes, and there are noticeable load times between chapters that you'd hope wouldn't have been required.

Screenshot for Inmost on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Inmost could be the very definition of a hidden gem. It is probably too niche and maudlin to connect with a wider audience, but one would suspect that those it does connect with will find it to be a unique and affecting experience. It's short and not a difficult undertaking to get through, but it does do just enough to get the grey matter moving, and rewards consistently with those congratulatory "aha!" moments or aforementioned set-pieces. This really defines itself with a dark atmosphere and filmic quality, even if that's hard to imagine a 2D aesthetic doing. It has an auteur's mark on it, which leaves an impression, and makes Hidden Layers Games, Alexey Testov and Andriy Vinchovskiy ones to watch out for in future.

Developer

Hidden Layer Games

Publisher

Chucklefish

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

I tentatively started this, got engrossed, then got a bit stuck... but I'm enjoying it more than Carrion, so now I've finished with the sublime A Short Hike, I'll likely go back now I've read that it's not too long a journey, and worth sticking with. I do love the visual style and the soundtrack's impressive, as well.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

yeah, well worth it, I'd say! A Short Hike was ace too

Some of this is DARK. I've just finished the part where the little girl plays hide and seek with her toy bunny...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Yeah! Defo a few 'That's F' -ed up' moments when you stop and think about it haha

Wow, just got to the end... and I'm totally confused what to think of this. There were some great moments, some very slow times, and then the whole wrap up at the end left me a bit baffled Smilie I don't think I particularly enjoyed the knight sections just because there didn't seem to be much to them (might as well have been on auto-play). The little girl parts were slow, but just about kept interest... I'm kind of hoping the main puzzle-platform section gets expanded for a future game, but perhaps with better jumping and a run button, rather than roll!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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