Friday, June 22

Review: INK [Nintendo Switch eShop]


It’s always interesting to see how a solid and well-implemented idea can elevate what would otherwise be a pretty basic game into something more promising. Indie games, in particular, often are looking for these sorts of tweaks and innovations since they can provide relatively low-effort path to doing something that feels different, even if relatively simple. INK absolutely falls into this category, taking what is honestly a relatively basic and straightforward platforming game and using its colorful and creative splashes to give it an almost puzzle-like vibe.


Going through the basics doesn’t take too long, you’re a square that has the ability to jump and double-jump… and that’s about it. You can thankfully wall jump as well but the most important detail is really that when you double-jump you’ll release some globs of colored ink in a few direction that will stick to any surfaces around you. The reason that this is crucial is that when you start out in every level you can’t see anything in it. Being forced to use your abilities to slowly reveal elements of the level small bits at a time leaves you with the option to go slow and methodical but since there’s really no penalty for dying I found myself more often just leaping into the abyss and hoping for the best.


Over the course of the game’s 75 levels new elements like some enemies, traps, and occasionally devious layouts will stand in your way but really the game is all about that base hook and whether you find it compelling. The sense of discovery can bring excitement but it’s not all smiles. Probably the worst element of the game is the rapid acceleration you have moving horizontally, I noticed this in particular after doing a double-jump. Simply put you really feel out of control more often than not and trying to land on platforms can be unusually tricky at times. There may not be an outright penalty for death but when you repeatedly die and need to start at the beginning of the level and clear all of the enemies for the third, fourth, or more times simply because the controls get way too touchy it can get grating.


With the exception of the issues with control INK provides a great combination of platforming and puzzling to a degree, offering a fair amount of content for a pretty reasonable price. It isn’t an incredible game but it knows what it wanted to accomplish and, for the most part, executes it well outside of the somewhat wonky controls. If you’ve been looking for something a little different that you can play for a few minutes to clear a new level and then put down for a while it’s not a bad fit.

Score: 6

Pros:
  • In general its simple ideas are implemented well
  • A slow progression in general challenge
  • For the budget price it provides a fair amount of content

Cons:
  • If you’re not impressed by the general hook of painting the level to discover the way the platforming itself isn’t generally too exciting
  • The horizontal acceleration, particularly after performing a double-jump can be aggravatingly sloppy