Sepia toned and splashed with ink, the player is thrust into a world of crushing dread.
Horror games are not my forte.
I have very little experience with the genre so I was eager to delve into the apparent madness Rooster Teeth’s Bendy and the Ink Machine had to offer.
Bendy and the Ink Machine Review
The player is cast as Henry who has been summoned back to his old animation studio by his buddy Joey Drew. Heh, geddit? He has something important to show you, but the true reason of what he means isn’t immediately clear until you step inside Joey Drew Studio.
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And let me tell you, some shit has gone down since you left. Ink splatters the walls reminiscent of gore and viscera. Cut-outs of the titular mascot “Bendy” Litter the halls.
And that’s where the journey begins, Bendy and the Ink Machine’s scares come from both within the player’s mind and the game itself. A constant feeling of dread is present whilst walking around Joey Drew Studios. You’re forced to try and anticipate scares that aren’t generally the predictable kind.
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The fear comes with the fact that things…change. A room you previously entered when viewed from another angle is missing certain things. The main characters eerily calm voice while exploring the messed up surroundings proves to be very unsettling. Not to mention the odd architecture with beams slightly slanted just adds to the creepy vibe.
The cast of characters in Bendy and the Ink Machine is certainly a strong point in the game. Audio recordings scattered around the game provide deep insight into what went down in Joey Drew Studios.
I liked having to stand close to the recording to hear what’s happening as walking away will dim the sound; some audio engineering I found sublime. These recordings are made with a few of the main characters from what appears to be the actual bendy animations and the support staff of the studio etc.
The cuteness of it all is very much limited to the surface and when the player learns what has gone on within these halls, things unravel rapidly.
I found this way of telling the story perfect for this title as rarely do you meet anyone face-to-face. You are generally always alone which adds to the creep factor.
There was an…incident…
Mechanically the game is fairly basic. The player can jump, move and manipulate the surroundings where applicable. The puzzles are ultimately pretty basic with the player tasked with an unfortunately large number of fetch quests.
This is not groundbreaking and actually kind of annoying, thankfully, the sense of dread remains. Revisiting still has a grim foreboding that chips away at the player throughout, but solving the various challenges isn’t that difficult.
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The redeeming feature of this is as I mentioned above is that areas you have previously visited may change before you come back. It’s the same room but something is either missing or moved. There is usually also extra ink splashed around the place, creepy.
Atmospherically the game is excellent. Displayed in an old-timey sepia tone with stark contrasts of deep black, the world and models of the game give a sort of BioShock feel.
If only the combat felt the same.
Bend it like Bendy
Hacking your way through inky minions and animated monstrosities is very clunky and actually takes a little bit of the immersion away from the player. That being said there were many times I was swinging my fire axe at some globs of ink people after they jumped out of something unexpectedly.
I was glad to have a combat mechanic at all though the AI is a little dumb as these creatures are easily fooled.
After a certain point, the player is required to avoid a tyrant like ink monster who is drawn by sound and slaughter. The first time he shows up it is terrifying but later it’s more of an annoyance. Coupled with the fact the player can simply hide in a box in plain view of the beasts and become invisible.
Once you work out what works and doesn’t, it’s a bit of a breeze.
For its flaws, Bendy and the Ink Machine has an equal amount of triumphs. My twitch stream loved watching it andIi loved playing it. It takes alot for me to get into scary games, but I was very happy to play Bendy and the Ink Machine delving into the madness of Joey Drew.
I allowed myself to be genuinely fearful and it was a wonderful release. With excellent visuals and incredible sound scape, Bendy and the Ink Machine is definitely worth a play-through
Bendy and the Ink Machine was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by the publisher. A code for the Switch version was also provided.
Game Title: Bendy and the Ink Machine
Immersive and genuinely frightening - 8.9/10
Clunky Combat - 5/10
Excellent art and visual style - 9.8/10
Fetch Quests! - 4.3/10