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InkSplosion review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Petite Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

InkSplosion is not a very complex game. It’s a twin-stick shooter where you’re firing weapons inside a small, confined space at four enemies (or more if you’ve opted to play in arena mode). Clear them out, and you move on to the next level, where you’re randomly assigned a new weapon. Every shot you take adds a little more colour to the screen, though it has no effect on the gameplay. And…that’s it.

Simplicity, of course, can be both a blessing and a curse. In InkSplosion’s case, it means that you know pretty much everything there is to know about the game within moments of picking it up, and it means that it’s fairly easy to become good at the game pretty quickly (as evidenced by the fact 70% of InkSplosion players have Platinum trophies). The downside: you’ll also quickly realize there’s not much point to the game, and that once you get that Platinum about an hour or so into your time with the game, you won’t have much more reason to play.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only downside to InkSplosion. For starters, it’s kind of ugly. You start off with a black and white screen, and it quickly fills up with colour as you fire weapons. Like I said, though, the colour has no impact on the gameplay, beyond making it more and more difficult to pick up enemy bullets and moving obstacles the more cluttered the screen becomes. Given that bright neon colours are both one of InkSplosion’s selling points and a key part of its identity, you’d think that it would want to do something with it, but instead it’s an eyesore at best, an active impediment to enjoying the game at worst.

The baffling design decisions are obvious in the weapons, too. You don’t get to pick which weapon you start a level with, and the range of weapons is pretty limited. Despite this fact, however, InkSplosion’s developers decided to make one of the weapons — the rocket launcher — absolutely useless, since it has a delayed firing mechanism, and its rockets travel more slowly than any other projectiles. It’s kind of bizarre that InkSplosion’s developers opted to include a weapon that’s so thoroughly useless, but, well, here we are.

One of the strangest things about InkSplosion, though, has got to be the lack of online leaderboards. After all, you’re playing levels, racking up the points, and…that’s the extent of it. You can compete against your own high score, but, as with the quick platinum, the novelty of doing so wears off pretty quickly.

Then again, so does the rest of InkSplosion. You may only play a couple of minutes (after you pick it up, realize it’s not for you, and quit) or you may play a few more minutes after that (after you get the Platinum, realize you’ve done everything there is to do, and set the game aside), but either way, your time with InkSplosion is going to be quick and forgettable.

Ratalaika Games provided us with an InkSplosion PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: C-