A man standing in the middle of jail

Inmates Review

Davit Andreasyan’s Inmates is an atmospheric, story-driven horror game that has the raw ingredients to be a must-play.  But, does it deliver?

That depends on how much you expect for your money.

Inmates is essentially a horror walking-simulator, think Dear Esther mixed with Slender.  Players wake inside a seemingly abandoned prison complex and must search for clues to try and escape.  Books, handwritten notes with cryptic clues and random miscellaneous items trigger cut-scenes which in-turn reveal the next section of the game.

More often than not, Inmates successfully creates a tense tone within the suffocating concrete walls.  Graphically, Inmates creates a realistic if repetitive prison to explore, one that strongly conjures up images of Alcatraz.  Darkness swallows the environment and matches scattered around can be used to illuminate the shadows.  Peering into the darkness beyond a flickering flame never fails to ramp the tense atmosphere to 11.

The acoustics add to the eeriness of Inmates; the game does away with music and instead utilises heavy breathing and environmental sounds to force the player to focus on the environment.

Inmates story isn’t anything special, but it doesn’t pretend to be.  Whether the protagonist is dreaming or living a nightmare is irrelevant; players navigate the hallways and try to escape regardless.  Without breaking any boundaries, the story is decent and the finale is satisfying.

Inmates is short.  Very short.  Players exploring every nook and cranny will get approximately four-hours of game time, while those looking to power through could see the credits within two or three hours.  There is no real reason to replay Inmates on completing it, so that brief encounter is all players get for their money.

Whether you should pick up Inmates depends on what you’re looking for in a game.  Inmates only costs $9.99 and would be perfect for gamers looking for a brief horror game that can be completed in one sitting, such as on Halloween.

The price doesn’t really justify the barely-above-average experience, though.  For $12, this month’s Humble Monthly gave players Rise of the Tomb Raider – an exceptional game that more than justifies the extra $2, let alone the extra games thrown in.  Yes, $9.99 is a low price to pay for a video game, but there are so many better games to spend the money on.

Personally, I enjoyed Inmates and would have enjoyed playing it on Halloween.  It’s the perfect game for someone looking for a one-off horror fix, but for those looking for a game with substance that offers value for money, Inmates fails to deliver.  If you’re undecided, it may be best to wait for an inevitable sale or possible inclusion in a Humble Halloween Bundle.
Verdict: WAIT

Inmates will be available for purchase on October 5 through Steam and all major digital retailers at an SRP of $9.99.


Written by John

I'm a 36-year-old gamer, clinging onto the gamepad despite real life responsibilities trying to pull me kicking and screaming away. You can follow me on Twitter: @johnlevelsup.

Current setup: Gaming PC with a 1080 Ti, Xbox Series X, Steam Deck, and retro consoles, on a Gigabyte M32Q monitor, sitting on a Flexispot E7 standing desk.