Joey Drew Studios Inc. gives us this adventure of scares and puzzles where most of the bet focuses on a design inspired by the first animated sketches of Walt Disney. These sketches ended up being, ninety years ago, the iconic and beloved Mickey Mouse and later all his gang. Bendy & The Ink Machine It brings us some very similar characters – although something more twisted and gloomy – and an atmosphere that makes us go back to the first thirty years of the last century. A design and atmosphere that surprises and captures in the first bars and that keeps the type quite well despite having a somewhat simple and limited gameplay. Puzzles, exploration and walks from here to there on stage, simple combat and the odd scare. This is, basically, what we will find in this game which we will be shelling in this analysis.
Bendy & The Ink Machine we get into the skin of Henry, a former worker at the lively factory Joey Drew Studios. Our protagonist receives a strange invitation from his boss and studio owner, Joey Drew, to return to the offices. Nevertheless and once inside we will realize that something horrible has happened -and it’s still happening- because the studio is in a ruinous state, there is no one, everything seems abandoned and the walls and parts of the floor ooze black ink. Our first steps will be cautious, since we do not know what is really happening and several theories will pass through our minds. Almost all certain, everything is said, since the same narrative and playable proposal pulls clichés very hackneyed and used in countless productions of the same cut. However, in these first bars the game manages to surprise us and keep us certainly intrigued by what has happened inside.
The atmosphere of the gloomy studio has all the typical adornments of a terror sequence. Their lights strategically placed and flickering, intriguing silhouettes, ornaments that change position suspiciously, the drawings of the studio -impagable the bad roll that gives the smile of the star character-, those woods that creak in our path. All this makes us get fully into action and explore without rest each stay until almost memorizing the first scenario. The offices have several sections and the puzzles themselves -pistas through the pause menu- invite us to go through each of them in search of the objects that make the gears of the puzzle connect and open us to a new challenge. We also have to take into account the recordings left by the studio’s own workers, who will be scattered throughout the stages and who will give us small touches of what has happened in the studios of Joey Drew Productions. Without forgetting about The odd and foreseeable scare. Nothing serious for scary and little thing for veterans in the art of passing fear to the controls of a video game.
So things, soon everything will turn into a nightmare bathed in ink and where before we had to flee we will spend in their final compasses to fight the evil that inhabits the studios. In this way we go from exploring to a transition in which the combat -simple and simple- takes more prominence. The creatures that inhabit the studios will fall with a couple of blows and will not suppose a great difficulty unless we are unarmed or around us. In addition, the control system helps. We will need just three buttons to interact with the world that is represented to us. The only “but” we can put is that sometimes our character is somewhat slow in their movements. However this makes all the sense of the world given the playable proposal. Even if we are not very agile, we will not have problems to flee when necessary and haul axes when necessary. We will not die because of it.
To tell the truth, the game takes characteristics of several genres and this leads to the fact that it does not stand out in any playable section. And is that the exploration is mixed with scares-not terror-and simple puzzles to which is added an anodyne combat system. All this mixture leads us to stay with the original design and setting as the only point certainly remarkable of the whole. All this is not an obstacle to affirm that Bendy & The Ink Machine is a pleasant and fun experience. Everything in it surrounds itself with the typical halo that surrounds this type of independent productions and also shows it openly. It does not pretend to revolutionize a genre or turn the indie scene upside down. It is simply a videogame that tries to provoke tension, intrigue us with its history and surprise us with its theme. And that is what he achieved.
We return to talk about the design to refer to the technical and graphic section of the game. Everything that surrounds Bendy & The Ink Machine It aims to evoke the thirties of the twentieth century and not only that, but also reproduce the animation of the time. That is why dark tones, white and black flood almost every corner. In the same way in which the scenarios start from designs made with wood or metal, depending on the stay in which we are. Let’s not forget that the game is set in what used to be a dream factory, an animation studio. Almost the entire company went to hell after the events just before the start of the game and that decline, that horror is permeated on the walls. We will find work tables abandoned in a hurry, sketches half done, intriguing messages. And thousands of inanimate eyes will be watching us in every corner we bend. Another detail is how the ink is represented-which has reminded us of a kind of paste similar to the infamous chapapote-from which enemies form. From it come lumps, bubbles, it feels gelatinous and dangerous, you know you should not get close to it. It is frankly well achieved.
Despite this good detail, we fear that the technical section of the game will not come out very well from this analysis. We have noticed slumps in the framerate and resolution problems in many of the texts that appear on the screen. And speaking of the texts, there are also typographical and lexical errors in their translation into Spanish.
We have analyzed Bendy & The Ink Machine in its version for Nintendo Switch which has received several technical cuts in both resolution and polygonal load of the set. The game loses its resolution when played in Portable Mode -especially in the texts of the recordings, many of them are barely understood-.
However, you win whole with the console connected to the dock. That’s where the rivers of ink look better and the texts are perfectly legible. In addition to offering us a somewhat more stable image refresh rate. In the visual it is a quite modest game, it imitates the fat stroke of the animated productions and that is present as a design concept. The lighting, however, has seemed more than correct.
Finally, it is only necessary to refer to the sound section of the title. Steps, creaking of woods, muffled giggles, disturbing whispers float everywhere within the Joey Drew Studios. The laments of the enemies and the voices – in English – of the characters have a good level. The music, anecdotal in some points, is based on animated songs of the time so it goes up a little bit more the achieved ambientation.