Welcome to a dark and twisted macabre world. Welcome to a desperate race to escape an evil place. Welcome to Bendy and the Ink Machine.
I’m still not entirely sure of the plot, other than that a retired (or sacked?) animator of what looks like a 1930s studio returns to his place of work at the request of a former colleague, only to find it’s been overrun by strange and creepy ink creatures. Over the course of the game you have to find out what’s happened and put a stop to the machinations of Bendy, the ink demon, who was originally a character in a cartoon produced by the studio.
Whilst the game is rated 12, it’s one of those titles that, to me at least, pushes the envelope. My daughter (who is 10) loves it, and I only bought it because she wanted to play it. The art style appeals to her and the slightly creepy also appeals to her, so this was a perfect match!
Bendy isn’t the only ink monster you’ll face as you delve deeper into the studio. Boris the Wolf is a mute friendly character who you meet along the way, Searchers are recurring enemies that form out of blobs of ink (and are easily killed), Twisted Alice is a monstrous combination of actress and character, a strange being with a projector for a head stalks the halls, and the Butcher Gang are a bunch of small ink creatures that actually made me cry out in terror more than once.
Jump scares are this game’s chief reason for existing. From subtle moments (the sudden appearance of a cardboard cut-out of a cute Bendy figure) to men covered in ink vanishing into walls, to Bendy the Ink Demon coming out of nowhere to hunt you, the game tested my nerve, more than once. There are several stealthy portions of the game that have you dodging some terrifying enemies. Thankfully the respawn element means that if you die during a quest to collect items or unlock something, your progress isn’t lost (otherwise the game would descend into a very frustrating experience).
I dare say this was an enjoyable game, though I’m not overly fond of the numerous scary moments. If you don’t mind being scared or don’t think this sort of thing scary, I can’t say if you’ll warmly receive this game or not. The controls are pretty straight-forward, the music is good, and the style is unique. I’m going to rate it 8/10.