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Game Info:

INK
Developed By: kittehface / Spaceboy
Published By: Digerati
Released: Jun 19, 2018
Available On: Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux
Genre: Platformer, Arcade, Action
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Number of Players: 2 in co-op
Price: $8.99 for Switch, $4.99 for PC
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Digerati for sending us this game!

INK is a creative and interesting platformer with an unusual setup. You start out as a simple white square in a pitch-black world. This doesn't mean, however, that there is nothing in it. There are walls, floors, ceilings and dangerous traps that are all invisible. As you go through the levels, you leave behind a trail of paint. The color of this paint goes through a rainbow color scheme as you go along, allowing you to start with, let's say, red on one side of a room and end up with green by the other side. You can also use double jumping to get you places, which splats paint as well. You can jump off of walls or ride down walls to color them. Pretty much everything you do in this game splats paint on stuff. Even dying does!

The main point of the game is to go through the levels, spreading paint everywhere, so you can see the platforms to get to the rainbow hole in the space-time continuum that you use to beat the level. But sometimes it isn't just as easy as going from point A to B. INK is a platformer with fast-paced and tight gameplay, similar to games like Super Meat Boy and Celeste. As such, each level is a little harder, and every 10 or so levels a new challenge is added. Sometimes it's monsters you have to stomp before you can exit. Sometimes you have to avoid dangerous spikes, or even heat-seeking paint bullets. Maybe you need to grab a guarded key to make your way out. Each time it adds a new mechanic, it slowly teaches you how it works, and dials up the difficulty from there.

INK
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun gameplay; good difficulty; good co-op mode; high replayability
Weak Points: Dull soundtrack; sometimes finicky controls; very short
Moral Warnings: None!

The game definitely is hard, but it's not a frustrating difficulty. By the time I had beaten the final, 75th level, I had felt like I earned it. There are a couple other fun additions, being bosses, collectables and co-op. Every certain amount of levels, you get a boss level. Each boss has their own special mechanics, weapons and level hazard. They're not very difficult but they're very satisfying to beat (here's a little clip I have of one). Another addition is that of coins you can collect that are hidden in the levels. Like the world around you, they start off invisible. You have to (by sheer luck I might add) accidentally paint them in order to realize they're in the level. And to talk about one last thing, the game also has a 2 player co-op mode, which surprised me by being quite good and quite fun. You can play it using double or split Joy-Cons to share with your friends, as you both have to make your way through the stage, completing objectives or just making a beeline for the exit.

Now moving on to the graphics, I'd say they're good. This game's focus is entirely on its gameplay, and everything else is just an afterthought. As such you won't find a beautiful work of art like some games, but it's still good. It's very minimalistic, but also incredibly colorful, to add to the feel of how empty the world is and how much the paint changes it.

And with the audio, I will say it is again not bad. There are 4 tracks of music that loop over and over as you play, getting a new track every 20-30 levels. The bosses do have some unique music, but it doesn't last long as it's only for 4 stages. These songs aren't really memorable, but they aren't meant to be, as again the gameplay is what really draws you in and keeps you entertained. There are also some sounds for jumping, dying, getting smashed, shot, etc. and while they are interesting, they sometimes feel underwhelming.

INK
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Now as for how this game controls, it feels above average. The movement is smooth, and does feel like it matches the game, but yet I can't help but observe some sort of input lag. Now I've tried it in both handheld and docked modes, and while it works fine in both, they still have the same simulated input lag. I say simulated because it doesn't feel like actual lag from the controllers, and more like the physics in the game itself prevent you from moving at a near lag-less speed.

For my last critiques, I will say the game is a bit short. There are only 75 stages in the game, and depending how good you are at these twitch platformers, you could probably breeze through them in 2 hours. I personally am not the greatest, so it took me about 3 hours. And finally, I have to again criticize the lack of any kind of rumble. Even if you spent most of your time on only the rumble, it would add so much to the game. A shake when you jump, a massive juddering when you die, a slight feel as you ride down walls... just something would have been nice. But yet again, as with most indie games I've played on the Switch, no one uses the HD Rumble.

But to sum up INK, I would have to say that it's a very interesting concept that has been executed to the extent of the creator's abilities. Could it be improved? Yes. Is it still a ton of fun in its current state? Absolutely.

- Remington

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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