In Between (2015) Review

Posted: August 24, 2015 in New Releases, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Rating:
EU Release Date: Aug 21, 2015 (for Steam)

Cover ArtIn Between is a puzzle-solving game driven by its story. The protagonist is a man dying from cancer – not a subject often touched on by video games. The game is currently available on Steam, but may be released for Android and iOS later in the year.

As you might expect, the game’s beautifully hand-drawn artwork is fairly grim, the levels painted in shades of brown and grey, capturing the melancholy and gloom of impending death, but broken by colourful flashes of the man’s happier memories – reading beneath a tree or building a snowman with his dad, for example. And the soundtrack captures the raw emotion of the narrative.

In fact, one of the strengths of the game’s narrative is the passive manner in which it can be consumed. Unlike most other puzzle games, where each level is connected by a page of text that isn’t engaging enough to read through, you actually want to listen to the man telling the story in this game. Each snippet of information is triggered by reaching certain points in the level and you only have to listen to learn what’s going on.

A wide variety of objects will help and hinder you.

Actually playing the game is fairly straightforward, in theory. You guide the man through a series of mazes, the goal of each to reach the door leading to the next. You can move him left or right, but you can’t jump or crawl. So how do you get around tricky obstacles such as blocks or walls? Easy – you change the direction in which gravity works. With one tap, up becomes down. Or left. Or right. Depending on which way you set gravity to work, the man can walk on floors ceilings and walls. Simple, right?

Well, no. Not all of the walls can be walked on. Anything spiky will hurt the man, sending you back to the beginning of the level. As will being crushed by falling objects. I got to level five before getting stuck, repeating the level over and over as I repeatedly failed to avoid the obstacles – which was irritating, given that the narrator had told me in the last level that obstacles were what made us strong. At level six, I wanted to stop. And this game has over sixty levels. The great thing is that its difficulty really makes you think about the way you have to play each level. The negative? It’s not a game for the easily frustrated.

Maze

The artwork in this game is incredible.

Aside from the occasionally infuriating gameplay, it’s a very good game. Unfortunately, I am one of the easily frustrated, but anyone who loves brain-teasers and doesn’t get easily annoyed, this is definitely the next game to buy. It’s sure to keep you entertained for hours at a time and with each snippet of story that you hear, you’ll want to carry on playing to hear more. It’s a simple yet challenging game made even stronger by the fact that it’s actually about something.

See also: In Between Trailer

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