In Between has a story to tell about a man close to death, running through the events of his life. It's frequently soulful yet melancholy, as he wraps his head around decades of ups and downs, and strives for a happy ending.

But these moments merely punctuate the meat of In Between, which is a surprisingly savage platform game with a smattering of puzzles.

It starts in a hospital, with the man in a wheelchair. This cut-scene of sorts plays out with minimal interaction, before you find yourself faced with a two-dimensional mazes full of spikes.

You can run left and right, but also jump to walls above, below and opposite, defying gravity.

Balls of hate

Even the tutorial takes effort to crack, but In Between is even more brutal when you venture beyond. The first set of levels involve the protagonist facing darkness, which flees when he stares it down, but otherwise follows, envelops, and extinguishes him.

Elsewhere, you battle pulsating balls of 'anger', deadly objects that follow your movements, and gelatinous blocks that reposition you when you attempt to leap through them.

It all comes across a bit like a level-based VVVVVV peppered with worthy narration. It's also frequently frustrating almost to a smartphone-flinging degree.

Much of this is down to the controls. In Between started life on Steam. On mobile, you get a virtual stick for movement and swipes for jumping.

Too often you'll end up impaled on a spike because the controls didn't respond appropriately.

This is annoying enough when tackling part of a level for the tenth time, but even more so when you're expected to negotiate deadly objects at the kind of pace usually reserved for speedrun platform games.

Dying is difficult

In Between's desire for precision and irksome difficultly negatively impacts on the experience. Empathy for the protagonist erodes, and any desire to see through the entire story slowly evaporates.

Fortunately, you needn't defeat every one of the levels to continue, but the nature of the tale means you feel like you're missing out when skipping ahead.

Despite its flaws, In Between has a certain something that will keep you going. The touching story does enough to intrigue, and the level design is smart.

It's just a pity the game doesn't ease up just a bit as you plunge further into a breaking mind that threatens to break your own.