Mixing two things together can be dangerous, but sometimes it’s rewarding. Peanut Butter and chocolate = outstanding. Watermelon inside another watermelon = the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Raspberry and Pepsi = insert your own opinion here as that’s quite divisive. How about a video game?
Cuphead’s classic animation style, with the environmental horror of Outlast/Resident Evil 7, and the intriguing story/world of Bioshock? If this video game cocktail has piqued your curiosity, then Bendy and the Ink Machine deserves your attention.
Bendy and the Ink Machine is a first-person puzzle horror game that throws players straight into the world. In Bendy and the Ink Machine, you play as Henry Stein, a retired animator (who created Bendy, a Mickey Mouse like character) who is invited by his old employer Joey Drew to return to his old animation studio. After arriving at an empty (and creepy) studio, Henry turns on the studio’s ink machine and is attacked by his creation come to life, Bendy (move over DoodleBob). Throughout the game, players can find audio tapes (quite like Bioshock) of what happened to the animation studio after Henry retired 30 years ago, learning that Joey was practising demonic-like rituals while creating the ink machine.
Bendy and the Ink Machine wastes no time, with players quickly learning the controls and base mechanics allowing for immediate pick up and play. With a sepia colour pallet, players will experience a beautiful and classic animation style, yet the environments and dark lighting will have you at a constant state of unrest (games on my shelf have fallen over randomly, and I’ve jumped/screamed). The sound design is outstanding, complimenting the art style and helping to further immerse you into the world of Bendy and the Ink Machine. As the game progresses, players are given tools such as an axe that can be used to break wooden boards and help fight off demonic ink monsters (demonINK monsters?). The puzzles in Bendy and the Ink Machine aren’t as complex as a Zelda dungeon, but they are entertaining (quite like the Portal series). There are even some fun minigames in the animation studio. Walk past a dartboard? Pick up the darts and play for as long as you want.
Bendy and the Ink Machine does have some minor issues. There are chase moments in the game, requiring the player to outrun enemies (like outrunning the Strongfat in Outlast, The Hunter from Dead Space or Jack Baker from Resident Evil 7), though the running speed is quite slow, feeling more like a power walk than a run (like the faster walking speed in your camp in Red Dead Redemption 2), which gives the game some trial and error. If you hesitate too long before running away, the enemies will catch up to you quite quickly. There is also some very minor texture popping/shifting when the walls bleed ink (blink?). When moving Henry, the bleeding ink effect will jitter a little, but that’s it.
If you’re looking for a new game to pick up that isn’t a AAA title, and love horror puzzle games, you’ll fall in love with this demonINK cute character – Bendy. With beautiful graphics, outstanding sound design, and entertaining gameplay, Bendy and the Ink Machine is not only an amazing game, it’s Inkcredible.
Bendy and the Ink Machine is available now for PS4 and Xbox One.