Even though I haven’t played it since its release in 2016, I couldn’t really stop thinking about it Inside. I bought it on a whim and started playing it late at night, probably the best way to experience the type of game it is. Of course I said to myself, “I’ll just play for an hour and then go to bed.” Reader, that didn’t happen. In fact, I finished it that same evening because I just couldn’t put it down. There was something so captivating about the mysterious, dystopian setting that it seemed impossible to stop. Ironically, this seemed almost exactly the story it ended up telling. And here I am again cocoonI have a hard time pulling away from the controller because I just have to keep going.
If you’ve never heard of it, Cocoon is the debut title from Geometric Interactive, a studio he founded Pretend you’re dead Developer and lead gameplay designer of limbo and Inside Jeppe Carlsen. I think at first glance Cocoon might be a little difficult to explain. You take on the role of this alien, bug-like creature and can’t really do anything other than walk around. Eventually you find this futuristic looking pad that, once you interact with it, takes you away from the world you’ve been exploring and shows you that the whole thing is contained within a simple glass ball.
That’s the main concept of the game: traveling in and out of different worlds, shrinking and enlarging yourself in and out of them, and carrying you from place to place. As you progress, you essentially collect more and more of these spherical worlds, some of which you have to visit more than once and even take one world with you to the other. If you think about it too much, you may feel some kind of existential dread. So maybe it’s better to just think, “Wow, video games are cool!”
There’s no combat, just a few satisfyingly clever puzzles that should delight Portal lovers, at least in terms of the way you have to constantly rethink the rooms you inhabit. There are occasional boss fights, but they’re more of a puzzle anyway since you never get any weapons. Defeating bosses complicates things further, as it converts the orbs that each world contains into a type of ability, each of which is unique.
Everything fits together so tightly, and of course, much like Limbo and Inside before, you start the game with no indication of what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. That’s the appeal of it all, though: what’s this strange world, or these strange worlds, I should say? How far can I go? Is there an end to the different worlds you travel between, or does it all just loop? I don’t have the answers to these questions yet, because being seven years older than I was when I played Inside, I now understand that it’s important to sleep well every night, not just when I feel like it.
You can probably tell from this alone that as I write this, I’m still thinking about it. Luckily I have some time tonight to find answers. But if the ending of “Inside” is anything to go by, I expect to find more questions than anything else.