Solve the riddle, escape the workshop, survive. Above all, fear the machine. Fear the Machine!
Bendy and the Ink Machine comes from the small Canadian developer Joey Drew Studios. It’s described by the studio as “a first-person puzzle action horror game that begins in the far days past of animation and ends in a very dark future”.
The game takes place in 1966 and follows Henry Stein, a retired animator who returns to his old animation studio from the 1930s. (The in-game animation studio is also named Joey Drew Studios.)
The game begins after Henry receives an invitation from his old employer to be shown “something important”. It’s on his return to his old workplace that Henry discovers the titular Ink Machine and the host of cartoon characters it seemingly brought to nightmarish life.
Using a mixture of puzzle solving, exploration and combat, players need to aid Henry on his journey through the abandoned studio. Players need to collect a number of items throughout the game, some of which are required for tasks within the game and to restore Henry’s health if he is injured, and others which can be collected for achievements.
Combat is primarily focused around a variety of different melee-based weapons, such as an axe or a pipe. In-game enemies all have different strength levels and resilience to damage, forcing players to be tactical about keeping out of reach and striking when necessary. Henry can retreat inside Little Miracle Stations whenever enemies are nearby in order to recover or remain out of sight. If he takes too much damage, he can escape from the ink that consumes him and respawn at one of the numerous statues of Bendy that act as checkpoints.
In addition, players can find numerous audio logs throughout the studio that give more details about the game's story, particularly concerning the fate of the studio and its employees, similar to the systems used in games such as BioShock. Some of these logs can be missed and require further exploration to uncover the secret areas they often reside in.
The game was initially released as a six-part episodic title between February 2017 and October 2018. Since the release of the final episodic chapter, the game has become available as a Complete Edition across multiple platforms. In fact, off the top of my head, I can’t think of another game right now that is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, as well as on both major mobile platforms with iOS and Android ports having been released in late December 2018.
With a wide range of platforms to choose from, and a solid set of reviews and ratings, Bendy and the Ink Machine easily qualifies for the MEW Indie Game Spotlight and should definitely be added to your “To Buy” list (or at the very least, your “Sale Wishlist” list).
"Bendy and the Ink Machine looks like one of the scariest - and most visually unique - games yet" – IGN
“Inventive first-person horror.” - PC Gamer
“Thrilling and hair-raising for every player!” - ScreenCritics
“The art in the game is downright fantastic!" - Game Respawn