Scanning the game store on Xbox, I happened across a game with eye-catching cover art. After playing the trailer for Bendy and the Ink Machine, I was sufficiently creeped out enough to buy it. The art work looks innocent enough. With characters reminiscent of old-timey cartoons, you might think the game won’t scare you, but I’ve been jumping and yelling almost the entire time I’ve been playing. I’ve now finished 3 of the 5 chapters of the game and I think I’ve experienced enough to give you a rough idea of what to expect.
You find yourself dropped in an eerie world. The coloring, the shading, and the flickering lights combined with the complete lack of awareness about the situation you find yourself in make the game instantly unsettling. Everything seems innocent enough, but as you wander the halls, you’ll stumble upon things that remind you there is more than meets the eye. Something weird is going on here.
As you progress through the story, little jump scares begin to pop up when you least expect them. They are trivial and gone in an instant, but literally had me yelling and throwing my hands in the air. You can actually see this represented in how spastic my screen gets from this scare.
It gets to the point where you just anticipate a jump scare around every corner. You’ll just be walking along thinking there’s no way something is going to happen and then BAM. Evil ink monster. As you can see in this next clip, I am hesitant to go anywhere and it’s for a good reason.
You’re trapped here trying to find your way out, and while you do make a friend, most of what you encounter here is trying to kill you. One critique I do have so far is that because of the color scheme, it can be hard to tell what is the object you are searching for. Things don’t highlight unless you are close to them and the highlight color is very similar to the environment itself. There’s also no map or indicators of where to go. Sometimes the hint will tell you a location, but you may find yourself wandering in the wrong direction on accident at times.
The controls are not complicated and the story is pretty straight-forward. You have objectives to meet and then you progress. New elements are introduced and there’s always the threat of the ink demon looming around the corner. So far, there is no way to beat him. You just have to run and hide. If you don’t make it into a hiding spot, you will die. Even when I died and knew what was coming, it did not stop me from jumping and screaming every time. This next clip is the first time I encountered the demon, and I panicked, immediately getting stuck in a corner and dying.
I still have two more chapters to go. I can only take this game in small doses. I scare easily and I get crazy anxiety when I play, but I want to know what happens. I am liking the game so far and I really love the uniqueness of this world. The artwork, the approach to the story-telling, and the wide array of scare tactics used have me sitting on edge, filled with dread every moment of the game. Do descriptions like that make you want to play a game? Or does that make you say, “yeah, this isn’t for me”. Either way, if you want to branch out and try something new, I think this is a game worth checking out.
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