Soul Crushing Darkness
Inner Darkness is a 2D platformer from indie developer Nauris Amatnieks that features some of the smoothest pixel art I’ve this year. I wasn’t expecting much going into the game and it turns out that was a mistake on my part. The game may not be very deep or meaningful, I’d go so far as to call it predictable honestly but that doesn’t stop it from being a good game.
It’s incredibly reminiscent of the early SNES platformers. One that came to mind while I was playing was the Capcoms classic, Demon Crest. Inner Darkness has dark and disturbing imagery coupled against dark throbbing music that sets the tone for the world around you. The thing that sets this game apart from most of its genre is the ability to switch between dimensions, one being the picture of serenity and the other, a living nightmare. Dimension shifting is used as the main puzzle mechanic and honestly works quite well with the simplistic puzzle system. That isn’t to say that the puzzles are obviously simple but that they are similar to many physics based flash games you could find online with a quick Google search.
A+ Gameplay attached to a worn out premise
The story is nothing special but it does explore an interesting topic and the gravity of the tale is enhanced by the gristly visuals. I won’t ruin the ending but it does become obvious what’s happening after you find your first out of place object in the world. Not complaining, it’s just super obvious at this point.
The game controls like a dream out of the mid-90s and while there is little music to be heard, what is there is effective in its near absence. Everything this game sets out to do, it does but not on the scale that most games these days are expected to be on and that’s okay. The story is effective in its execution and the game play is something out of a dream.
There are two flaws that this game has that I’d like to address, one being the writing and the other, its length. I’m never against playing a short game, in fact, I often prefer it that way because I often have too much to do and small games are a great way to relax after work. The thing about this one though, is that I was having so much fun playing it that the forty minutes I spent playing it seemed to slip by before I realized what had happened.
Conclusion – Pretty Good
The writing for Inner Darkness isn’t worst I’ve ever seen and honestly it’s not even all the bad. It just feels forced through most of the game and I don’t like it. The games message gets through just fine with its visuals and as far as I’m concerned when it comes to games that want to tell a story, that’s all you ever need.
While this game may never be considered something great it is a huge stepping stone for the developer and I truly hope that he continues making games of this caliber and improving on his writing. If he can do that, he could soon find himself in a very comfortable position.