Game Review: Bendy and the Ink Machine

This Magical Octopus has just recovered from being ill, so excuse me for the gap in content, my health is my own kryptonite and the only thing keeping my magikewl levels from overflowing.

My friend the Cursed Ocelot or Norowareta Oserotto thought he captured lightning in a bottle for me. I love horror games, I love cute characters I double love adventure/puzzle games and I adore retro vibes.  Norosey, as I call my feline friend endearingly, found a game which had it all. I was so excited I may have inked my pantsu a little bit. Speaking of ink, it was time to play Bendy and the Ink Machine.

Back to the Twenties!

Let’s start with the positives of this game. The cartoon feeling this game offers is truly unique, sure we have seen retro 50’s style games and this game is even reminiscent of those games, yet this time we are taken further back and due to it being cartoon based it feels rather unique.
I feel like I am walking among the early days of cartoons and I truly enjoyed it.
It felt almost like Steamboat Willie, and though my only experience with the cartoon is through the SNES game Mickey Mania I truly felt like I went back in the past.
This game is totally it’s own thing, I love the style and the atmosphere is among the best of the more recent things I played.
Unfortunately that is where the good thing end. Cause we don’t only get a trip back to the twenties in term of Era’s. We also travel to the twenties in the terms of gameplay..twenty minutes per chapter that is! Not only the free chapter is of this length, the second chapter which costs around €6,- suffers from the same flaw. This is unacceptable in this day and age to me. Since this is episodic gaming with some puzzle elements, I compare it with the telltale games series, but where those games offer me my money’s worth, here I feel robbed!
Call Johny Law cause I have been mugged, see!

Colorless

As much as I love the visual style and the lack of color in this game, unfortunately the lack of palette is a great metaphor about what is wrong with this game.
Like the cartoon only being build up from blackness, chapter 1 resolves around only one puzzle! In this case fixing the ink machine, again the atmosphere surrounding this event is great but the puzzle itself is rather terrible. The way to fix the machine is to find 6 random items that have absolutely nothing to do with the machine. You fix it by getting a record, a cog a doll and then some stuff, because apparently the machine requires tributes?!
Well I will give them originality, normally you flip a few switches and in most case you also have to find said switches, this time it’s just random stuff. Which in a way fit the randomness of the early cartoons yet at the same time push you away from feeling engaged in a horror story. This game is supposed to be scary, finding a record and a doll while some random cardboard cutouts move places is not scary nor suspenseful. Horror for me comes trough a manner of suspense of disbelief. A willingness to forget that monsters can’t be real or that the tool you need conveniently happens to be in a totally unpractical place, but this is just going overboard.
The doll is not on the table of the character design, the record i not in the music room, the gear is not near the machines, there is no story being told with this puzzle, there is hardly a world being built, just pretty visuals.  When you pick up a item it just vanishes and magicaly starts spinning on a pedestal, our puzzle would have been more challenging if you at least had to match the items to their corresponding emblem, but no all we gotta do pick up stuff and even that is not done in an engaging way.
As stunning as the visuals are, if we were to visualise the puzzles concept it would a stick figure of a four year old.

Bendy and the Stink Machine

I am deeply upset and baffled by this game. This game has so much potential but ends up totally lackluster yet technically and stylistically perfect. The horror doesn’t shine through at all in the first episode until the very last minute of the game, which is rather incredible and impressive. There are some tension moments before but those are victim to the cute style which makes it less threatening than it should appear and above all by the ridiculously slow walking speed of the MC. By god, I am a sea creature with a very weak body and I move faster than this guy. On it’s own a slow speed isn’t so bad but it takes away that uneasy sense you want the player to have. If you are in a strange place where cardboard cutouts are suddenly moving and you see shadows moving would you start to move just a little bit faster or do you casually stroll by? Though the horror ramps up a slight bit in chapter two , chapter one is so painstakingly slow, in each sense of the word that anyone who is even slightly monetary impaired like me should consider buying the other chapters.
I did and again I find myself being trapped between by being absolutely amazed by the feel of the game and blatantly disgusted by the actual lack of gameplay.
The whole game feels like a tech demo or an incredible game designing resume, the skills are there, the game is not.
This should have been lightning in a bottle for me, instead a glass container filled with doodoo. Sure it’s mysteriously sparking almost magical poop, but in the end I can say after playing Bendy is, I got a jar of turd.

That’s all folks!

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