Ink, the platformer created by ZackBell Games, can be described a few ways. I think it best described as Super Meat Boy with no story, and your character is a marshmallow that squirts bio-luminescent fluids everywhere to see where it’s going. This doesn’t mean that Ink is a bad game—not by a long shot—though, I do have some issues with it, and some praise. So hold on to your paint ejectors and let’s dig in!
Let’s talk level design. It’s invisible until you paint the level by double jumping, killing enemies, or dying—each sends a shower of color to help light your way. The levels are fairly repetitive feeling, but each one still lends a challenge of its own. Maybe you’ll have to navigate the level twice over to get to the end, or, maybe, a new mechanic gets introduced, which you have no idea about until you find it by spraying your colorful juices all about. Each level is made of a series of platforms and hallways, but that’s most 2D platformers so I can’t particularly be too upset with that.
The mechanics and movement, on the other hand, I can be upset with. Our friendly marshmallow-esque character just feels too darn uncontrollable at times. Either overshooting jumps or landing just wrong feels as if there’s a strong breeze blowing the character when you’re in the air. You move too fast, which more often than not ends in frustration. The hitboxes on the enemies and yourself also feel off at times, as well. I ran into issues where hitting an enemy from the side while jumping killed them, then the next time I died.
Along with all of the other game mechanics mixed in like spikes, moving platforms, and tiny platforms, your character moving wildly about feels almost too chaotic. I do have to hand it to them, though, because even at level 40 I was still being surprised with new mechanics to try to overcome. Luckily enough, they also count dying as a good thing as you paint more of the level, making it easier for you to progress. I even ran into a couple boss battles on my way. I’ll be honest, the first one was unexpected.
Ink is definitely enjoyable for awhile, though be warned: it’s a short playthrough (depending on skill level) and there isn’t much replay value. I played for about an hour and had already reached level 45. The game having only 75 inktastic levels puts that into perspective, though the difficulty does ramp out so that can make those last 30 levels take much longer.
If you enjoy platformers like Super Meat Boy and the like, definitely pick this game up. It’s available on PlayStation 4 for $9.99, Steam on PC for $4.99, and it’ll be available on Xbox One on September 22, for $9.99, as well. If you pre-order, you can get it at a discount!
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