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Alejandro Hitti and Zack Bell’s new pixelated platformer INK is picking up steam, and for good reason. Greenlit by the Steam community in just under 20 days, the Super Meat Boy-inspired indie game offers an even blend of tranquility and rage-inducing difficulty.

Allusions to Super Meat Boy are definitely present
Allusions to Super Meat Boy are definitely present

INK‘s entire gameplay experience revolves around a controllable white cube. At the start of each level, the only visible objects are you, the cube, a square that denotes the gate that brings you to the next level, and any enemies that may stand in your way. Moving secretes colored ink that constantly changes hues – this outlines the level and allows you to see exactly what you’re standing on, not to mention it’s pretty beautiful to watch in action. Double jumping shoots a collection of ink drops randomly around the cube, which adds another huge side of usefulness to the feature.

Thankfully, any ink on a platform will stay around after death. Early levels succeed in easily teaching the player a variety of different techniques to be recalled in the following stages. Progressing through the game will present you with more and more difficult situations, adding a variety of mechanics to the game. Death follows when hitting an enemy block from the side, hitting spikes, getting shot by a homing turret, or falling off the screen – and yes, this includes the left and right edges. Another spurt of ink occurs when you die, making more visible the very part that lead you to defeat.

Inking a set of unexpected spikes is a terrifying revelation
Inking a set of unexpected spikes is a terrifying revelation

Upon booting up INK, it immediately presents you with a soothing music track that subtly loops throughout every moment of the game. Out of the forty levels available in the demo (over 80 will be in the game upon release), INK maintains a level of calmness throughout. The reassuring audio is a great compliment to dying; any frustration you feel is quickly remedied by the music. This concept holds true until the latter half of the demo when the difficulty ramps, though, at which point the frustration of a seemingly impossible-to-beat level takes hold.

A little taste goes a long way. With barely even half of the game available in the prototype demo, INK absolutely portrays Zack Bell Games‘ vision in a nutshell. Much more is to be added to the game before its slated Summer 2015 release on Steam, including boss encounters, three new gameplay mechanics, and plans to add difficulty settings and a multiplayer component. Keep this one on your radar.

 

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Zachery Bennett

The author Zachery Bennett

Zach's eternal preoccupation with video games became cemented at an early age. His first memorable journey away from reality began with a text-based Football game on a dirty Apple II; he's chased fantasy ever since. Having took English classes as electives in college, Zach decided to pull the trigger on a merger between the two obsessions.