Thursday, November 29

Review: Bendy and the Ink Machine [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Bendy and the Ink Machine is a game that answers the question I don’t think anyone has ever asked: How creepy, weird, and at times a bit scary can a game involving vintage cartoon characters coming to life be? It turns out, it can work pretty damned well. Invited back to your former animation studio it doesn’t take long before the feeling of things being a little off creeps its way in. The game generally does a good job of very subtly introducing elements bit by bit to keep the sense of unease building before hitting its first very sudden crescendo shortly before the end of the game’s first chapter.

For the most part the game plays out mechanically as a first-person adventure and puzzle game but with elements of survival horror intertwined into the mix. You’ll need to explore, work out solutions to problems that usually involve scouring the area for items or things to trigger, and uncover the general story by playing the audio from cassette players laying about. At times you’ll be able to arm yourself with a weapon of some kind, making you capable of handling some of the monstrosities you’ll face but there’ll also be ones you’ll have no choice but to run from.

Whether you enjoy the excitement of the chase, trying to either outright get to your destination through the force of your memory of the level layout, or choosing to hide and let the danger pass you by temporarily, will likely define your ultimate enjoyment of the game. For some people that thrill of a quick scare and then the suspense of trying to get away is a major rush, but for others it simply doesn’t generate as much excitement. It’s the weird theming and nature of what you’ll face with Bendy and his associates that serve as the added hook though, so at least everything feels a bit different and fresh with the game’s coating of creepy ink.

Since there haven’t been a ton of games in this vein on the Switch to date if you’re a fan of some scares and a sense of unease Bendy and the Ink Machine delivers nicely and should scratch that itch. The fact that it’s not bloody or over the top could work as a pro or a con depending on what you’re looking for but I like how effectively the setting and strange characters created a real sense of unease throughout. While it may not be for everyone Bendy and his friends make for a very strange and enjoyable experience.

Score: 8

  • The look, style, and originality of the characters really help it stand out
  • Very good at doing small things to help build unease early on
  • Delivers some great jump scare moments and a bizarre story

  • Whether you buy into the scare elements and the thrill of being chased or not will heavily dictate your enjoyment
  • The lack of visual distinctions because of the art style can make navigating the hallways challenging at times