On August 21, 2020, Inmost, published by Chucklefish games and developed by Hidden Layer Games, was brought to PC and Nintendo Switch after originally being developed as an app on Apple Arcade. This is following a time where it seemed like every other game being released was a “pixel art something or other” kind of experience. However, this title appears to still stand out among many other games with similar genres. Not only is Inmost deeply atmospheric, it also packs such an emotional story that is guaranteed to punch players right in the gut in the short time that they will spend with this experience. Few games are able to tug the heartstrings in such a way in such a short amount of time but Inmost really hits the mark without overstaying its welcome.
Story/Gameplay – Big Things in Little Packages
The actual details of the story of Inmost are actually extremely vague. Looking upon various wiki pages and reddit posts, a person could scroll forever and not ever actually find solid answers. There are so many ambiguous theories about the story that the game is really trying to convey, so it is really up to the player to be able to form their own theories! Take part in the community online and feel free to come up with your own conclusions.
Inmost, while mostly vague, does appear to follow three different characters as players discover more about the story while they play through their parts in the bigger picture. Sometimes players will follow through the eyes of a small girl as she explores the deep dark secrets of her house, accompanied by her small stuffed rabbit friend that talks back to her! There are also times that players will play as a heroic knight, fighting creatures as they make their way through a fantasy landscape. Finally, there are times that players will take the role of an older man as he wanders around the landscape searching for any answers possible.
Each character has different styles of game play; for example the knight can fight back but the other two can’t. Or the older man can actually jump but the other two cannot. These varied play styles of the different characters create room for the main focus of Inmost… puzzles! At its core, Inmost is a puzzle platformer and it definitely shows when players are attempting to navigate the various parts of the chapters. These puzzles, while not terribly difficult, are not the best at giving hints as to what to do. I found myself being frustrated from time to time due to not understanding the different mechanics and the exact ways they work. There is not much of a clear tutorial area, though it is important to remember how certain things are done as they will be used later. However, the lack of clear tutorial can lead to several “Duh!” type moments. These moments can give a sense of accomplishment to players that take joy in figuring things out for themselves.
Graphics & Audio – Story Telling Through Atmosphere
Where Inmost shines the absolute most is through the graphics. Following the craze of pixel art platformers that plagued the indie scene for a while, Inmost came out a bit later and still managed to stand out. The pixel art is breathtaking and still manages to create a world that feels both real and really creepy. The character sprites look unique and fit right in to their respective worlds. The enemies look genuinely scary and like they are an actual threat. This game is definitely not cute-sy, but it isn’t supposed to be. I found myself more and more excited the longer I played just to see more of this beautiful world to get lost in.
The music and sound effects in Inmost are both dramatic and atmospheric. These are not backing tracks that you will probably find yourself playing in the car on the way to work, but they get the job done when it comes to conveying a certain mood over scenes where it is the absolutely most impact. Just going through the world of Inmost has sounds that players will best enjoy wearing headphones as they play. Listening to the rain of certain areas, or the sound of your sword cutting through enemies as you charge through them are just some of the many sounds players will experience to create more of a sense of immersion into Inmost.
On Nintendo Switch, Inmost plays very smoothly. Loading screens were not very frequent and they did not last very long. I did not experience lag during my playthrough, which is extremely crucial to a game of this genre. It is not very obvious that it was originally a mobile app game and translates very naturally to playing with the joy cons of the Switch. The controls appeared very responsive and felt very fluid as I made my way through every chapter. I actually felt like I could feel the slice of my sword through every enemy. I could actually feel the tension as I jumped up to a platform to be safe from danger. The fluidity of the controls really helped to create a truly immersive experience when it would have been easy to jerk players right out of the game and into frustration.
Inmost was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a key provided by Hidden Level Games.