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INK review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Digerati
Developer: Spaceboy/kittehface
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E

The more of INK I play, the more two things stand out to me:

a) It’s heavily indebted to twitch platformers like Super Meat Boy; and

b) It took all the wrong lessons from said twitch platformers.

See, like SMB and its ilk, INK is built around short, very difficult levels. Its aesthetic may be different (more on that in a moment), but the underlying approach is the same: you have to get from Point A to Point B very quickly, and all kinds of obstacles stand in your way.

The problem, however, is that while INK may put these obstacles in front of you, it doesn’t give you the necessary tools to solve them. As I wrote about a completely different twitch platformer not too long ago, games of this type need tight, precise controls; there’s no room for floaty jumps or characters who can’t stop on a dime.

Unfortunately, INK has nothing but room for stuff like that. Jumps are wild, and difficult to gauge. Landings are even worse, since you’re prone to sliding around. While you can get used to those things and plan around them, it makes for a much less enjoyable experience.

Admittedly, I may be missing the point here. The gist of ink is that you’re controlling a little cube who starts every level in the middle of nothingness. Jumping sends paint flying, and, in the process, illuminates the world around you. Looking the game logically — assuming you want to look at a twitch platformer logically — it stands to reason that paint-coloured surfaces may be a little slippery. I’m not saying it’s a design choice I agree with, or even one that I like, but if you tilt your head just so, you can kind of see where the developers were coming from.

It’s a shame I don’t like the game more, because visually, INK looks pretty nice. The bright splashes of paint really stand out against the black background, and they give the game a look and feel that make it seem like a relic from the early ‘90s.

The gameplay, however, is of a much more modern vintage — and, unfortunately, it doesn’t compare well to its contemporaries. INK may be more visually appealing than its competition, but it doesn’t play nearly as well.

Digerati provided us with an INK Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C