Bendy and the Ink Machine was a big hit on the PC when it began it’s release back in early 2017. Originally released episodically over 5 episodes it was popular with many streamers due to it’s creepy atmosphere and well timed scares. Now Bendy and the Ink Machine has made the jump from the PC and is available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (version played for review) complete with all 5 episodes featuring all the content from the PC version.
In Bendy and the Ink Machine you play as Henry Stein. A now retired animator who used to work for Joey Drew Studios. After not being a part of the studio for 30 years Henry receives an invitation from his old boss to come and revisit the studio. But upon returning he sees that Joey has been partaking in some occultic rituals at the studio and it’s ink machine has begun bringing the animated creations to life. Turning what was a friendly visit into a puzzle driven quest to get out alive.
I quite enjoyed my time with Bendy and the Ink Machine. The game really nails the creepy aesthetic and it’s cell shaded art style isn’t just nice to look at, it replicates the classic cartoon designs of the 1920’s which on their own could already be considered quite creepy. Just imagine a Steamboat Willy style Micky Mouse ominously watching you inside your house, sporadically jumping out to make sure your heart is still beating as you wander around. Yeah it can get pretty tense at times and leaves you never really feeling safe while playing the game. The feeling of always being watched leaves you constantly on edge.
While it’s billed as a horror game it only has a few cheap scares throughout. Most of it’s horror comes from the uneasy feeling you’ll get while playing as I mentioned along with the realisation of what is really going on inside Joey Drew Studios and coming across items in the environment.
Most of the game’s story is presented to the player via audio logs you’ll find scattered around the studio. Not only do these provide you with some backstory for what has gone on at the studio, quite a few of them provide crucial hints required to solve the game’s puzzles. These audio logs are fully voiced and thankfully the voice acting was performed well which isn’t always the case in games of similar scale.
The core gameplay of Bendy and the Ink Machine has you wandering around the studio finding keys or turning valves on or off to access new areas and progress further into the depths of the mysterious building. The puzzle design does get a little repetitive and tedious by the end as puzzles towards the end of the game aren’t to dissimilar to those at the beginning but thankfully it’s not a massive issue due to the games overall length being on the short side.
You’ll be able to get through all of the game’s chapters in around 4-5 hours. It could take you longer if it’s your first time through but could be much shorter if you’re familiar with the game and know your way around or know solutions to the puzzles. With some speed runners able to beat all of the chapters in around 30 minutes.
I found the combat in the game to feel quite clunky, with the swinging and hitting the enemy kind of feeling like a game of luck at times. Combat items such as the axe are required to navigate levels and solve puzzles but using them to ward off enemies didn’t feel that great. I wish combat was stripped out completely and I had other means to defend myself or have the option to bypass combat all together.
Combat wasn’t the only issue I came across while playing Bendy and the Ink Machine though. I occasionally ran into frame rate hiccups which quickly resolved themselves, I found the text of the audio logs hard to read at times on the Nintendo Switch version and also noticed that the visuals, along with some of the particle and lighting effects have been toned down or removed completely when compared to the PC version. The graphical adjustment doesn’t just affect the Switch port either. The various particle and lighting effects, such as the steamy fog throughout the levels is also not present in the PS4 version either.
Bendy and the Ink Machine is a great horror/thriller game that is now available on home consoles. It will have you trying to piece together the inner workings of Joey Drew Studios to solve it’s mysteries and uncover it’s true story. While the home console ports have had some slight graphical tweaks all of the content from the complete edition of the PC version is present and ready to play here. If you’re looking for a short but interesting thriller title that will have you on the edge of your seat at times you should definitely check it out.
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