Published on January 6th, 2019 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Bendy and the Ink Machine Review
Editor’s Note: A game code was provide for the purpose of review.
Bendy and the Ink Machine has the benefit of recognizable characters with easy marketing of collectable merchandise. I know of the characters and know it’s source material is from a video game on the PC. I knew nothing about the game and assumed it was similar to other popular PC titles marketed to kids like Five Nights of Freddy.
Initially released in April 2017, Bendy and the Ink Machine has recently made its way to home consoles. There is no doubt the console release will make Bendy and the Ink Machine a house hold name to anyone with children watching videos on YouTube or Twitch.
As stated before, I knew the characters but knew nothing about the game itself. The story and the art style of the game immediately peaked my interest. You play as Henry Stein, who returns to his old animation study after receiving an invitation from his partner. You explore the animation study and solve puzzles to see the twisted things his partner has done once he left.
The game is set up through 5 chapters and each chapter explores deeper into the animation study and meeting some of his creations. The first chapter is set up based on environmental story telling like Gone Home. I have interest on Walt Disney and the early years of his animation study and Bendy and the Ink Machine seems to take a vibe from that era. You have a number of things to interact with and story/ques is given through tape recorders.
As you progress through the puzzles, the game introduces enemies and a labyrinth within the animation study. As much as I love the environmental storytelling, I cannot help but feel the level layout and puzzles are straight from Bioshock. There is a familiarity that constantly pulls me out of the game. Elements such as hiding from Bendy is similar to avoiding Big Daddys. Bosses are corrupted aggressive characters with similar character tropes from bosses in Bioshock.
Chapters 1 – 4 focus on great environment, storytelling, and puzzles with minimal combat. Chapter 5 changes the focus to combat and this change makes the game broken and frustrating.
As stated as before, Bendy and the Ink Machine is a port for a PC game and you can tell the game was created for the mouse and keyboard. With the game’s first four chapters being focused on the environmental exploratory puzzles, the move to a controller was not an issue. However, when you have to fight a number on enemies in a series of waves, having accurate controls is necessary. Having conducted this review on the Nintendo Switch using the Joy-Cons, the controls are bearable and forgiving because of the gameplay focusing on puzzle and interactive environments. Once you are required to fight enemies in Chapter 5, the inaccuracy of the controls becomes very apparent. The controls are slow and it is difficult to focus on your target. There is a shooting range minigame that you have to play where the inaccuracy in controls rears its ugly head. Changing the sensitivity level does not help in accuracy. The more I had to fight enemies, I found that part of the combat issue are the enemy hit boxes are extremely small and specific. Most of the enemies hitboxes are right on top of their heads. If you attempt to hit any other part of their bodies, your hits will not register. What is worse, enemies will glitch into objects or other characters making it extremely difficult to defeat enemies because of the small hit boxes. I died multiple times and had to restart the game because of glitches. As a result, completing the game became more of a chore.
Despite the technical issues experienced in the last chapter, Bendy and the Ink Machine’s story is captivating. The more you explore the animation study, the more twisted it becomes. The ending will leave you thinking about who’s story this game is actually about. There is a lot to unpack during after you run credits. Despite this story have an “ending,” the game leaves you wanting more. I am sure we have not seen the last of Bendy and the Ink Machine.