Platformers are one of those genres that are, for most intents and purposes, already fleshed out with little room for innovation. Most of the time as I browse the Steam library for platformers, I can’t help but roll my eyes. With INK, however, it caught my attention right away. A platformer title where the platforms themselves aren’t visible? This I had to try.
At first sight, the game was reminiscent of those niche roms of ridiculously difficult Super Nintendo titles. However, the game certainly gives a lot more leeway than those. While everything aside from enemies and the player is invisible in the beginning, as players begin to double jump, slide, or walk, they will fill the stage’s platforms with ink, giving vision to the stage and a better idea of how to proceed to the exit. The title is constantly building a sense of discovery for players as they cautiously proceed.
Of course, as the game proceeds, it does get a little more difficult and players will have to kill all the enemies by jumping atop their heads before walking through the exit. This will obviously lead to several deaths before players can do so perfectly, but the game encourages experimentation and resilience by saving the ink splats from each attempt so players will continually reveal more of the stage through each life they use up. Before players know it, they’ll be taking leaps of faiths toward invisible land because there will always be a reward for doing so
However, invisible stages are not the only thing worth noticing in this game. There is a genuinely difficult platformer awaiting players in this, with gaps and spikes that require almost pixel perfect timing and bosses that will certainly take some experimentation before players can form a strategy. The invisibility in INK is no gimmick; it is another layer in a complex platformer that will certainly satisfy hardcore fans.
The ink definitely adds a nice visual touch to the style, slowly filling each level with color. This is especially during the game’s harder levels and bosses, where players will naturally leave the entire level a vibrant mess. However, with that said, the overly simplistic visuals do leave a little to be desired. It’s not often that players get to play as walking cubes that jump on other cubes. However, I highly doubt many people want to either.
INK is an interesting title and highly creative. Behind the unseen platforms, players will find a challenging platformer that any genre fan can fall in love with. The title brings us back to our roots where players must truly figure out a title and don’t have their hands held and is commendable for finding such a new approach and excuse for doing so. At roughly the price of a meal at McDonald’s, this platformer will be far more satisfying than a quarter pounder.
- Ridiculously fun to mark up the stages and discover everything
- Doesn’t hold your hand, unlike other sissy games out there
- Splashes of paint give every level a new look
- Running cubes aren’t exactly exciting to look at
Available on: PC; Publisher: ZackBellGames; Developer: ZackBellGames; Single Player; Released: August 5, 2015; ESRB: NA; MSRP: $4.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.