Inmost Review: Fear Itself
Kalvin Martinez / Jan 15th, 2021 No Comments
The fascinating thing about the horror genre is that it seems easy to scare people. Sure, things jumping out at you will spook you for a moment, but where does true terror come from? In video games, how do you scare people so they change their behavior? What makes people question how they interact with video games because of what may happen?
Inmost does a lot of things to ensure players are scared. It is more than a fleeting bump in the night. Atmosphere and uncertainty become paramount to Inmost’s gameplay. The question of what may happen keeps you questioning how to proceed, which is impressive.
Multiple perspectives comprise Inmost’s story and gameplay: the girl, the man, and the knight. Each has their own feel in terms of play, but most importantly the three perspectives together help weave the narrative. In terms of story, it is partially fable, partially grim reality.
The girl has the most grounded story. She finds herself often alone at home with only the company of her stuffed animal for companionship. At first, it is a cute and innocent act of a little girl entertaining herself as she gets into some light mischief. However, it quickly becomes apparent there is a lot going on with her family. There is a lot to unpack and trauma seems to be lurking around every corner.
As for the man’s story, it is the crux. He is exploring a gothic castle that is full of dark, dangerous creatures, and outright monsters. The mystery is at the core of his perspective. What is the castle, how did it come to be, and why is it full of so many things that can rip him to shreds?
Then there is the knight, and his story is one of context. The knight creates a link to the past, and what happened before. It is by understanding the knight’s story that we can get a greater sense of what is occurring overall.
Each of these perspectives also comes with their own gameplay. The knight is the most competent of them all. He wields a sword, and a grappling hook. Creatures and monsters alike are no worry to him. He is able to slash them clean and continue moving. While he can’t jump, his grappling hook can pull him quickly up floors or across obstacles.
In a smart move, both the girl and the man act and feel like a middle-age man or little girl would. The little girl needs to create steps in order to reach heights and toddles around moving ponderously through her house. There are moments of dread, but it isn’t about actual monsters. The heady, psychological stuff runs rampant for this poor little girl.
On the man’s account, he can jump but not particularly nimbly. He can’t fight needing to focus on outwitting and outmaneuvering the challenges he faces. Unfortunately, he isn’t exceptionally quick either. This isn’t some plucky plumber. He is a hapless and average man, who only benefits from awareness of his surroundings to create opportunity.
This lack of heroism or superhuman ability works greatly in Inmost’s narrative favor. The mobility and mundanity of the characters helps build suspense. It creates moments of great terror like the first time the man has to outrun a monster with sharp claws and a quick gait. It is the stuff of nightmares. Inmost builds many of these moments off this simple premise: what could you actually do in this situation?
Inmost spins a good yarn with its narrative. It is creepy with a dark atmosphere. The platformer gameplay built around average people only further deepens how unsettling it can be. If you’re looking for something to give you a little scare then Inmost definitely will give you a few!
Inmost was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.
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