Inside the Void is a walking simulator set in space and featuring surrealist elements by Jacob A. Medina. After sightings of strange structures on a faraway planet, an organization has sent several spacecraft for investigation, but communication was lost with them. Left with no option, you embark on a recovery mission to figure out what happened to the crew and rescue them if – they’re even still around.
Developer: 3D Methods
Released: 28 July 2016
Price: Pay What You Want, $1 on mobile
After landing on the mysterious planet and departing from the spaceship, you can explore the barren, uneven terrain. Covering the land is several strange-looking moving structures, each teleporting you into a void when approaching them – a set of even stranger and surreal lands. While walking around the surface and voids, you’ll run into small pods holding messages from the crew, chronicling their exploration and their research of the alien structures.
As you unravel the logs of the missing crew, you quickly figure out why they disappeared. Not content with just researching what they stumbled upon, they also tried to experiment with the weird buildings and some of the leftover data by the previous civilization. Although the theme of tampering with the forgotten past and the consequences of doing so is noble, it falls short with the execution as you are not shown the aftermath of said altering – in fact, you only learn about it through the messages and not through the environment.
Compared to other games in the walking sim genre, Inside the Void feels extremely lonely. There is no narration of any sort other than the messages you run into, and the planet is devoid of inhabitants or anything that would normally make sounds. The long walks between structures and the oppressive ambient music also contribute to the feeling of loneliness that permeates the game.
While this sets the mood and does it well, I believe it doesn’t make up for it, which makes the game feel like it missed a lot of opportunities. For example, the terrain doesn’t have a lot of variety, and besides reading the message logs by the lost crew there is nothing else to do.
Artstyle and Audio
Inside the Void has a retro, vaporwave aesthetic thanks to its simplistic colors, lightning, and polygonal environment. The voids usually make use of wireframes as well, adding to their unique feel. One of the more interesting voids you can enter involve being surrounded by four giant rotating gears, which makes you feel trapped, and in another, you walk on top of spikes. The music, consisting of eight short tracks, evokes feelings of loneliness and adds to the mysterious feeling of the abandoned planet.
Although the game isn’t the best walking sim you could play, Inside the Void is still pretty cool with its unique aesthetics, the narrative, and how it weaves it all together in a surrealist package. It’s not long either, and you could wrap it up in around an hour to an hour and a half! Plus, if you have access to a VR headset compatible with your phone, you could go Inside the Void!
Looking for other walking sims? We got you covered! How about Into a Dream? Or the free Cloud Climber? Wanderlust: Travel Stories is also a good choice. Plus you can read Dear Esther, the OG walking sim!