If you’ve known me or followed me around the Internet, you’ll know that I don’t really like puzzle games unless they present a uniqueness about them. With The Witness, it was drawing parallels to games like Myst, which I still need to play, but I’ve heard is a great game, so surely the mind behind Braid could deliver. He didn’t.
Here’s where In Between comes in, though. Just looking at the key art for the game, I knew this was going to be a pretty well-made game. Even from the screenshots, they evoke a mood unlike I’ve seen before in such a narrow game, so naturally, this created a desire to review it.
In Between is the story of an unnamed gentleman who is dying at a rapid rate. During the course of the game, “The Man” revisits key moments in his life ranging from his childhood way up into his current situation. The game’s looks are deceiving, however. This is not an interactive story like I had hoped, but a rather precise puzzle platformer.
Each series of levels is presented as a different emotion: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The way this is displayed on screen is not so subtle, though. Denial is shown as dark clouds on the edges of your screen that you literally have to face to keep at bay, and anger is displayed with red balls that grow and contract in size on a timer. Your job is to get from the beginning of the level to the end using only gravity as your means of platforming, as there is no jump button. This is fine, in theory, but when you’re actually playing the game, this mechanic becomes more of a hindrance than a help. You see, the camera has a very limited field of view, making it very difficult to predict where you will land. In a game all about prediction and being precise, I thought this would’ve been better implemented.
I also would’ve liked to see some sort of explanation as to why “The Man” is suddenly able to manipulate gravity. Is this something to do with his disease? Just a fun gameplay mechanic? I might be over analyzing, but when every other mechanic is explained so eloquently, I couldn’t help but wonder why this simple thing was not even remotely explained.
During my 6 hours with In Between, there were many moments where I was so frustrated at just how tough the game really is. At $11.99, I can’t really recommend buying it at full price, as I felt that the game is much more of a “one and done” type of game, and given my constant cursing at the screen that couldn’t even hear the awful things I was shouting at it. If I were you, I’d wait until the title is 30% off or something similar.
All things considered, In Between is a decent puzzle platformer, but don’t let the game deceive you with its art, as this story isn’t worth the frustration.
Review code was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.