Quick question at the beginning of my review: what do you think when you hear ink and Nintendo Switch AND colorful? Yes, yes, I know to which game your mind just wandered to. Who blames you, though? I certainly do not because that little resemblance stuck with me as I started that game as well. But boy, will I tell you I have been entertained in completely different colorful way. The big question is: did that title a good job or was it a miss?! You know the drill, keep on reading and have fun with the review for INK!
You are a box. A white box on your mission to make your way through a pitch black environment to the colorful goal in the level. That box might be a poor soul cursed by an evil witch to turn into a square-shaped dude, or it might be a fairy… It is all up to your imagination. The story here is non-existent, but you really do not need any for this game after all. One funny fact though: INK is the third game for the writer of this review with a square-shaped protagonist. Coincidence…?!
INK starts with something that’s as refreshing and bright as the colors you will see in this game: a tutorial. With simple and easy steps, you will become familiar with the way to play this game. In other installments of this genre, I experienced nothing like that. The player was generally simply thrown into the deep waters of the gaming ocean. You jump with the A button and double tapping it will result in a double jump. Beware, though. You are unable to jump a third time leaving you vulnerable until you reach a wall or another surface. Besides the obvious movement thanks to using the left analogue stick, you do not need anything else.
A LIGHT IN THE BLACK
Every single stage of the 75 in total starts off with complete darkness. The exception is our little protagonist (let’s call him “Foxy Boxy” for the sake of this review), because she shines bright like a square-shaped diamond along with a small puddle of colorful ink under it. And now the reason behind “Foxy Boxy”: you got to be smart to avoid obstacles on your way to the top. The obvious and key to success to every platforming game is to reach a goal aka the end of a level or a stage. In INK, you achieve that by jumping your way through the level and explore it at the same time. You have no idea where you are going until the ink covers the ground or it sprays unfazed through the air.
How do you paint something? With every double jump some paint drops will fly around until they will land on some platform… or not. When you die, the same thing happens again. It also happens when you move Foxy Boxy around or hit an an enemy. All these actions cause you to paint a unique pattern on the stage. Thankfully, everytime you start over because you might have fallen into a pitfall or hit something, the color on the stage remains the same.
You probably have guessed it by now. You and Foxy Boxy have to team up and develop a strong bond between each other since you will face a lot of trial and error to progress. Since you start in a completly dark and pitch black environment, you have to take a leap of faith and jump into success – or your doom. You have to try over and over again and not just thanks to the precise technique the player has to master. Like other platformer, you have to get a sense for the momentum which you will eventually. The developer were kind, though. I never felt that there were too many enemies too soon besides the level-exploring action and other stuff. The difficulty rises significantly and may frustrate you, but you always want to come back for more. As you respawn, the previous defeated evil-doers will, too… But at least your paint dried permantly.
To keep you entertained and to spice up the game, you encounter bosses as well. I enjoyed 1 vs 1 battles between them and me very much, and I am kind of sad that we did not encounter more. The first boss battle you engage in INK is on level 25. After you have defeated that cruel opponent, you can capture the memory with the Switch’s video function. I love that about games, and I am glad to see that feature being added to many more games recently.
There is also some good news for all the collectors out there. You can keep on searching for 20 coins scattered across the various levels of the game by making them visible with ink. But you only will find one per stage, so keep your eyes open!
INK offers a local coop mode where you can play with a friend. It is absolute fun, but sharing the Joycon in a intense battle was too flimsy for my taste. Better use another controller for that. Playing that way is great, but not if you want to play in a competetive and fast-paced mood against someone else.
*This review was written by Jennifer for switchwatch.co.uk.
It is pretty rare that I am happy and satisfied with video game music outside of the RPG-genre, but INK nailed it in this point. You have a never ending loop of pleasant and very relucant background tunes with a clear message. It is there, it enriches the gameplay and you will not get annoyed after a long session of gaming. It is a pleasure to listen to as you enjoy the vibrant colour patterns on your screen. Or not since this game can keep you up on your feet!
Visuals & Performance
It is astounding what crisp and absolutely stunningly bright colours can do on a black canvas. It is just fun to see the paint spread all over the place and grab onto a surface to remain there for as long as you paint over it. Simple can be the best sometimes, and the developers Kittehface and Spaceboy did an amazing job here. Of course it is nice to have graphics that resemble real life… but in a game like INK, it is absolutely not necessary to go overboard here. You got quick to no loading times, and after death, you respawn within the blink of an eye.
Similar to other platforming titles, it makes your inevitable exitus not too tragic and frustrating. Because INK never crashed on me or hand any other problems, the only real frustration I experienced was from playing some stages over again countless times due to deaths.
The final section of my review and probably one of the most tantalising. Is it worth your hard earned cash or not? We have $8.99 USD and 8.09 here. You will get 75 levels with the option to collect the 20 coins as well, and you have got the nice option to play in local coop mode. Currently, you can get INK on Steam for 4.99 which is a great price. I do not have anything against the Switch price either since I love playing platformers on a console with a good controller. Consider this an option on Steam as well if you want a great game for less money.
Please consider that the developer asked their potential constumer for an opinion on the price for the Steam release on reddit. This is very nice and, in my opinion, worth mentioning. They care about their audience.
It is fun and worth its price with about 6+ hours of platforming fun. The “Switch tax” is something we pay for it being ported and on the go which is totally fine for that game. I can see myself picking it up again after my review, and that is always a good sign. When I put the game in to confirm something for my review, I got lost and played for another 30 minutes or so. I had realised I didn’t even plan on playing in the first place and was just actually checking something!
*A review copy of INK was provided to Switchwatch by Digerati Distribution.
Simple, but fun visuals
High replay value
Never too frustrating
Online multiplayer would be nice (at least we have one at all, though!)
More bosses would have been great