From indie team Hidden Layer Games, here we have a beautiful looking and rather haunting puzzle platformer.
INMOST launched in late 2019 and is reminiscent of INSIDE (2016) and other indie gems such as Teslagrad (2013). It’s an intriguing game; not without its flaws, but altogether a compelling narrative experience.
INMOST and Puzzling Gothic Desolation
Hidden Layer Games only consists of artist Alexey Testov and programmer Andriy Vinchkovskiy.
They were working remotely, Testov in Kyiv of Ukraine, Vinchkovskiy in Zverevo of Russia.
In 2016, the tense political situation between the two nations led the pair to relocate to Lithuania. The dev studio is now located in Vilnius.
Given the present situation, that adds considerable extra weight to INMOST as a gaming experience. Two friends from Ukraine and Russia working together to deliver a cultural delight.
Available on smartphones, Steam, and the Nintendo Switch, the title is gothic in its presentation and plays out like a psychological horror film.
The plot involves three characters, whose stories eventually interconnect. All whilst a seemingly demonic creature feeds on their pain, between their individual worlds.
Around this premise, you have basic puzzle-platforming action.
But the main draw is INMOST’s story, which becomes increasingly harrowing and does end on a rather gut-wrenching note. No spoilers here!
Look at it, though! The game is beautiful and striking. Rather retro in its pixelated approach, but also embracing a modern sheen.
Plus, INMOST has a fine soundtrack from Alexey Nechaev to complement all the melancholia.
As an indie game experience, it’s around two and a half hours long. As many indie games are!
But what it offers is impressive, between bouts of frustrating gameplay elements you’ll need some patience to overcome.
INMOST can be quite plodding. At one point, you guide an older character down a staircase… and it takes forever!
Other times the control system is far from ideal. We played this on Steam and the only choice you get is the keyboard.
And some of the puzzles aren’t helped by cheap death shots you often can’t see coming. Kind of like in the frustrating Unto the End (2020).
And yet! Despite these niggles, this is a compelling little game that rewards perseverance.
Along with its beautiful looks, it’s that narrative you’ll swoon for. Stick with the experience and you’ll be rewarded with a punchy conclusion to make you go, “Oh no!”