There are twenty-one connections in the circuit diagram of the anti-lock brakes, there are twenty-one species of gull inhabiting these islands, there are somewhat more games in my Steam library. // Also I work for Ice-Pick Lodge.
The most curious thing about Inside is how visceral, almost hateful the deaths of the protagonist are—while not the goriest gaming has ever seen, they definitely stand out against the mellow and forlorn mood of the rest of the game.
There have been some criticisms regarding the story of Inside (or, to be more precise, the lack thereof). But to me, the aforementioned contrast is story enough. The game begs to be taken as a metaphor and is less clear as to the metaphor of what it begs to be taken as; but whenever I see how confused, hurt, and scared of this seemingly quiet world the protagonist is, I know one thing for sure: for whatever reason, to him everything is at stake. The world around him is surprisingly diverse, but one quality remains constant: it will mercilessly, impassionately hurt him.
And I don't need to know what it is that is at stake to sympathise.
Does a metaphor need to be explained in order to be enjoyed? Inside may well be a game about death; birth; the death of a loved one; depression after being heartbroken; coming out; mundanity; technocratism; anything really.
Does it matter though?
Perhaps it is better taken as a poem rather than a story.
Oh, and the puzzles are really good—diverse and just hard enough to make you feel good about yourself when you solve them. And keep in mind that no screenshot will do the game justice because the animation and camerawork are incredible.