Bendy and the Ink Machine: nightmare fuel
This is a guest post by: Bill Cooney or @ on twitter.
Bendy and the Ink machine does not look menacing on the surface. How scary can a game with old school “Steamboat Willy” style animation be? Well it’s about an 11/10 on the nightmare scale.
The highlight of Bendy and the Ink machine is the graphics and animation. The lighting for each level is great, and is used as a part of the scares excellently. Lights will flicker or go dim depending on the situation. Which adds to the immersion. Bendy, the game’s namesake, looks like he would fit right in with other period cartoons like Felix the Cat or Betty Boop, except there’s just something about the character that’s unsettling.
Graphically the game does well in combining 2D and 3D elements together to build the world, and incorporates the early cartoon theme fantastically. The 3D models are great, and I wish there were more of them in the game because they are genuinely terrifying. The textures in game are cartoonish as well, with lots of thick outlines and seemingly drawn-on details which add to the story.
There isn’t a ton of dialogue in this game, but just enough to keep the story and immersion going, but it’s very hard to hear. If the dialogue weren’t captioned with text, it would be nearly impossible to know what to do next. The same goes for the protagonist’s voice as well. But other than the volume the in-game dialogue is done well.
Your character only has one movement speed in Bendy and the Ink Machine, which can make gameplay seem tedious. Most often you must gather random objects hidden throughout the level, but are only told this later in the level after passing the object which means, you guessed it: backtracking! The items are often hidden so well that it’s frustrating to try and track them down. Which often leads to more backtracking. This is made even more frustrating because your character has one movement speed, no sprint.
But that’s not all, there is no save feature. So if you die during a level you get to start the whole thing over again with no progress saved. So if you die near the end of a level (as I did) you get to play the whole level over again! This might be worse than all the backtracking.
This game is definitely scary, the first time through. There are plenty of jump scares and well placed Bendy figures that will make you jump out of your seat. I found myself backtracking so much, though, that the scares seemed few and far between. Not a good look for a horror game. Once I played through a level and died, the scares didn’t change and as a result, lost their edge.
Overall, Bendy and the Ink Machine was an interesting experience. For those that enjoy horror games, and don’t mind long, tedious walks through creepy abandoned animation studios, I would recommend checking this one out. Just don’t count on it being as scary the second time through.