Ink - Review
Developer: Zack Bell Games
Release Date: 22nd September 2017
Platforming with colours and a steep learning curve, Ink provides over 70 levels that range from the easy tutorial levels at the beginning, to those that require precise jumps to tiny and/or moving platforms whilst being bombarded by homing missiles in the later levels. This is just the start of it all though, as platforms can only be discovered by landing on them, and covering them in glorious colour.
Ink is a platformer with a difference, and you will immediately notice this once starting the game for the first time. Your little white square will be sat upon a platform against a black background, and an exit which will advance you to the next level will be some distance away. A sense of uncertainty as you take them first steps through the levels, unsure of whether or not you'll wander off a platform to your death. This is made easier by double jumping, which releases globules of paint that sprays out of your square to help show you the way.
As the levels go by, you will notice that there are more than just drops off the world that can cause a restart of a level. Spikes, moving platforms to squish you, and two enemy types that shoot. Doesn't sound hard on paper, but when you consider that you can't see the level until you begin to colour it in, Ink shows just how devious it really is. Sure you get to keep all the coloured sections of a level until you complete it, but that's not to say that it makes the game any easier.
Precisely timed jumps and movement through was hard level becomes paramount once you defeat the first boss, and performing a no death run is a hefty challenge that not many people will overcome. As enemies that shoot on sight become a regular occurrence, patience and a zen like state are critical to your success.
During my time, jumping, colouring and falling to my death, I did become mildly frustrated with the sensitive controls. Slight nudges on the analogue stick would see me miss landing from a jump, or collide with an enemy on more than one occasion. No option to adjust sensitivity meant I had to accept that I'd need to be more careful with all actions.
I'll have to admit defeat with Ink, and at level 72 of 75. So close yet so far. But after more than an hour making a valiant effort, I had to put my controller down and accept that at this moment in time, it's perhaps best that I cannot for the life of me beat that level. Moving platforms and homing missiles make for a seemingly impossible objective. The game itself can be a short experience for those with exceptional talent, as a lot of the earlier levels are straightforward enough to breeze through with little to no trouble whatsoever. I will return one day soon, and beat that level which can only have been designed by a truly wicked mind. Summary
An easily accessible game, that splashes bright colours wherever you can find somewhere to land, that pushes your reflexes to the limit. It won't proved dozens of hours of game time, but for a short burst, Ink delivers the goods with a unique concept of colour-as-you-go platformer. Graphics
Ink keeps it basic with its black background and white square. The addition of colour to brighten up each level with splashes from your jumps and landings means you'll soon find yourself idly filling in as much as you can without realising it.Audio
Kept subtle, Ink's audio negates a blazing soundtrack in favour of an ambient feel. Gameplay
Easy to pick up and play controls, which are held back by an overly sensitive analogue stick movement. Longevity
It's a short game, if you don't come to a halt on a tricky level later on in the game. If you aim to unlock all the achievements, you will get a few more hours out of it. Value for Money
The price is reasonable, maybe a couple of pounds/dollars more than you may expect for a short game, but overall Ink provides a good challenge later on. Achievements
You will no doubt unlock several achievements pretty quickly as you just play the game. Collecting the hidden coins is easy enough with a guide, and completing a no death run through each world will provide you with some frustrating moments. A couple of miscellaneous achievements for bouncing on 6 enemies in a row and not using your double jump for a level round it off. A solid list here, and that full 1000g won't be earned easily.