Bendy and the Ink Machine at first glance is reminiscent of old school Disney animations. It looks like the titular Bendy, could be stood next to Mickey Mouse or Steamboat Willie on a Disney project and nobody would bat an eyelid. The art style is charming in its simplicity; playing the game feels like you are in a cartoon. But this isn’t a cartoon you’d want your kids to watch. Something is wrong, very wrong.
As soon as you enter Chapter One, you can almost smell something is afoot. There is an eerie atmosphere of foreboding in the deserted animator’s studio. Walking around you will notice ink and a lot of it. It’s everywhere and there is an ominous ink machine that needs repairing. In fact, that is your first objective.
More Michael Myers Than Mickey Mouse
Moving around and exploring the studio is genuine fun, and the small details help build the world in which Bendy and the Ink Machine takes place. I don’t wish to spoil too much for those that might want to play, but coming across a Goofy-like character called Boris, who appears to have been experimented on would give 6-year-old me nightmares for weeks.
The tension and horror are not shoved into your face with cheap jump scares. There is a gradual build-up of uneasiness as you wander the lonely hallways and whilst there is jump scares, they are perfectly executed and at no point feel over the top or unnecessary.
The plot of Bendy is perhaps its most intriguing aspect. You are invited along by a man called Joey, with whom it appears the main character had some sort of working relationship with. Other than that, the game is very minimal in exposition. Other details surround the story can be unearthed, but you have to look for them. Or more appropriately: listen.
Bendy And The Ink Machine Is Delightfully Dark
Chapter One is available over on GameJolt and itch.io on a ‘pay what you want’ basis. My only gripe with Bendy is that it was too short for me to really sink my teeth into. No sooner had the game sucked me into its murky world and plot, it was all over. However, the brevity should not be an issue for long. The four-man team over at theMeatly Games has just released a trailer for Chapter Two. It is delightfully creepy.
I can’t recommend Bendy and the Ink Machine enough. Albeit short, it sets up the other episodes perfectly and considering the popularity of chapter one, this may mean longer chapters are forthcoming. For any fan of horror, this is a game worth checking out. Just be warned, a trip to Disneyland won’t be the same again.