Bendy And The Ink Machine – Review
Follow Genre: Horror puzzle adventure
Developer: Joey Drew Studios
Publisher: Joey Drew Studios, Rooster Teeth Games & Maximum Games
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: PS4

Bendy And The Ink Machine – Review

Site Score
7.1
Good: Cool graphics, great theme, good music and voice acting
Bad: Rather short, puzzles are simple
User Score
8.4
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)

Bendy And The Ink Machine is a horror game set in an animation studio from the 1930s, the early age of animation. The whole game is in a yellowed black and white cartoon style, making it look pretty unique. Encountering cartoon characters may not sound very scary, but rest assured that they are plenty scary in this game!

Story

You are Henry, a former employee at an animation studio who receives a mysterious invitation from the studio’s boss, Joey Drew, to visit the studios once again. Once you are there, you’ll quickly discover a strange machine named the ink machine, which produces far more ink than would ever be used by the animators. Meanwhile, you’ll clearly get the impression you are being followed around by the main cartoon character of the studio, Bendy.

Scattered throughout the game are several tape recorders, telling a bit more about the studio and the animators and voice actors working there, and the several cartoon characters. Many of these stories also contain hints for the puzzles you’ll encounter. It’s a nice mechanic to introduce more story into the game.

Graphics

The graphics are in a cool looking cartoon style inspired by the early cartoons from around 1930. The style the game is emulating is inspired by classic black & white cartoons, but in this game everything is yellow & black, presumably to give it an aged, yellowed look. The fact that everything in the game is like a cartoon, but in 3D, is pretty awesome when you start walking around in the game. Even the radios playing music are animated like radios in cartoons were: bouncing up and down. Next to these graphics, there’s the ink, shown as a thick black shiny fluid. It fits, but looks a bit strange since it’s not in the same cel-shaded style. The ink sometimes spawns inky monsters too, made of the same shiny substance. While the graphics are pretty cool, they do tend to lose their novelty as you are playing through the game.

Sound

The game has a nice spooky soundtrack, great to put you in the mood for playing a horror game with all the lights dimmed. Throughout the game you’ll hear the character you play with walk around, and commenting on the things he encounters. The voice acting is pretty good. You’ll encounter other beings as well, all fully voiced, and you’ll find many tape recordings of people telling about their work at the animation studio. You’ll also find films and radios playing music, which fits the classic cartoon style. Environmental sounds are also great, they fit for the objects you’re manipulating, and often sound properly spooky.

Gameplay

Bendy and the Ink Machine is a typical horror puzzle adventure game. You’ll walk around a lot, encounter puzzles, backtrack to get the items for the puzzle, and proceed to the next area.

The puzzles are rather simple; it’s easy to see the solution to any puzzle you’ll encounter. However, it can be hard to find the corresponding items as it’s pretty easy to get lost in this game, since the hallways are all in the same colors, so they tend to look alike. Luckily, the area you’ll need to explore is never too big, so you’ll find your way eventually. Sometimes you’ll notice certain objects standing out, even before you’ll encounter the puzzle they belong to, but you can only interact with these objects after you’ve found the actual puzzle.

There are a few jump scares and the usual treat of monsters as expected in a game like this. Sometimes you’ll just need to run, and sometimes you’ll be able to fight the monsters. You’ll often get glimpses of the monsters already, even when there’s no real danger yet. The variety in interaction with the monsters is pretty nice; it builds tension. However, the monsters don’t really feel that scary. Things like seeing a partly dissected cartoon character on a table is actually more kind of funny in a gruesome way than it is scary. It was also fun to see the cardboard cutout of Bendy following you around as you walk through the game.

Throughout the game you’ll find tons of cans of bacon soup you can eat. It’s nice to have a kind of collectible item in a game, but having hundreds per level is kind of overdoing it. Just eating like 20 cans in every room feels more like a chore than an achievement.

The chapters are pretty short, but this makes progression feel nice and fast. Each chapter contains just a few puzzles, and after that, you’ll get a bit of story and you’ll be able to proceed to the next area. The areas aren’t very big, luckily, you’ll only be able to backtrack a little bit to find objects for the puzzles you’ll need to solve. All in all you’ll probably play through the game in under four hours, even if you take your time exploring.

You can die in this game, but it’s not much of a problem: you’ll re-appear again in a tunnel of ink, walk through it, and then you’ll be restored at your last auto-save point. You won’t lose too much progress, and usually you can easily make up fast for the lost time by being aware of the dangers, and knowing how to solve the puzzle you were working on.

Conclusion

Bendy And The Ink Machine is a nice puzzle horror adventure game. The graphical style is pretty unique, and the music and voice acting is excellent. The puzzles aren’t hard, so this game is perfect if you just want to play a casual horror game with an interesting plot to relax in the evening. The monsters you’ll need to fight with are not too dangerous, but the game feels scary enough with its soundscape, jump-scares, and monsters you won’t be able to fight.

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Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)
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Bendy And The Ink Machine - Review, 8.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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