Bendy and the Ink Machine is the story of Henry Stein, a retired animator who is invited to visit the studio where he used to work. The game is primarily a psychological horror title and was originally released episodically. Bendy has a very specific art design with everything given an almost cell-shaded aesthetic, it’s certainly unique. The Studio which you must explore is now covered in ink and is seemingly bringing an entourage of nightmare-like creatures and enemies to life. Everything on the surface has changed from what was known.
As mentioned the game was originally an episodic release and comes in the form of five chapters. Each chapter you play offers a bite-sized segment of the studio to explore, solve simple puzzles and hopefully survive in order to progress through the story. The Studio has sat dormant for a long time after a failed project to expand its appeal, Bendy was gradually losing the interest of fans. When you first start the game you slowly explore the old Studio and it soon becomes apparent that something isn’t right. Even the drawing that you helped to create seems to be moving around the building chasing after you. I don’t want to spoil any of the story as there are twists and turns that I didn’t see coming so I feel you should at least experience this for yourself.
The main character of Henry is a perfect avatar for the audience in that he speaks only when he needs to and this helps to make every story beat more impactful. It is clear to see that the characters in Bendy and the Ink Machine are loosely based on some of the more famous early-twentieth-century cartoon characters. As an example, I believe Bendy is based on Mickey Mouse and as you meet up with the other characters you soon realise who they are also based on.
Because the art style is very stylised it lends itself well to the Switch when in handheld mode, partly because you can’t see all the glitches going on. When I switched (no pun intended) to docked mode things became a lot more visible and it suffered. I recommend keeping it out of the dock as the Switch screen makes this look amazing.
Another annoyance was that if you take too many hits while playing you are moved into a portal which you then have to walk out of but every time I found it glitched. Also, there are audio lags all over the game and accompanying subtitles tend to be very out of focus. So much so that you can barely make out what it says even on the big screen. Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the Switches issues, the game has a longer load time than Bloodborne when it first came out on PlayStation 4 and come on there are fewer open areas than in Bloodborne as well. The walking speed is also an issue, like in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture it is unbearably slow and even when pressing the stick to run you still move at a snail’s pace.
Bendy is not a bad game by any means so now let’s get back onto the good. The voice acting is great throughout the game and the characters aren’t paper-thin adding depth and charm to the overall package. In playing this you can really see that the devs are massive fans of the exceptional Telltale/Campo Santo story-driven episodic content which is never a bad thing.
The Switch version is not without its bugs and flaws but the game as a whole is very good, I recommend the game as it is now but hopefully it can only get better with future patches. My advice though is don’t play Bendy in docked as there is a lot of slow down and some random glitches that only occurred in this mode. Importantly, the story is great and the gameplay is fun. It is a nice short game but equally can take up to 8 hours to finish so does enough to keep you entertained. I managed around the 5-hour mark as the credits rolled on my playthrough so I am sure that I’ve missed some stuff. I will definitely go through Bendy and the Ink Machine again to find all of the secrets.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 20/11/2018
No. of Players: 1
Category: Survival Horror
Publisher: Joey Drew Studios Inc
Download link: eShop