The essential moves are a double jump which splats the local area with paint to reveal levels and wall jumping. Players will also feel the need to adjust their muscle memory, as movement can be a little sluggish at time with a slight slide on landings dependent of their jump direction.
Skills to paint those bills
Once players attain these skills, the game slowly raises its difficulty level as jumps become tighter as well as enemies and hazards becoming more frequent. Whilst this writer is touching on it, levels begin as a blank canvas. Gameplay relies heavily on players colouring in the level by double jumping which again splats the local area. This reveals platforms, obstacles and more.
What this reviewer loved the most about INK is that it actively encourages players to fail so they can succeed. The best strategy for INK is to simply jump around painting the level. As there is no penalty for dying, players can effectively make their lives easier by repeatedly sacrificing their protagonist, which in this instance is a white block.
Portals to nothing
The end game is a portal on the other side of the level which transports players to their next level. The design of said levels are superb and finely tuned to the core painting mechanic. Gaps and platforms are wisely placed to invite just enough player buy in to try and land a run, no one likes achievements on a plate. Well, some people do, but they’re normally very silly.
Gameplay intensifies when player two picks up a joy con, which is an exclusive feature to the Nintendo Switch version. Two blocks now appear on screen to attempt the same levels, which translate to co-op play quite well. Whilst one player is painting the level, the other can start navigating the level to reach portals quicker. It’s a lovely experience that this writer and his gamer in arms cherished, we shall wed on top of a paint swept mountain top. Dressed as cubes.
Although one has address the aesthetic of INK already, this writer wants to point out how much this title stands out from the crowd in this regard. Yes, players need to paint levels, however this is done in a commodore 64-bit style. Although the image is crystal clear in docked and handheld modes, that classic feel is there with what this writer calls block-blur. In other words, pixels have a slight shadow which is coloured slightly darker than the original pixel. Sorry for the lack of a better term, but the effect really gives players the old CRT setup experience.
INK’s sound track is a mix of ambiance and euphoria. It’s very much meant to be a background affair to help players kick back and gel with the gameplay on offer in INK. Sound effects are also minimal, which helped one focus on the invisible levels and growing threats.
Graphics and Gameplay: 4
Overall Score: 3.9/5
INK is a brilliant platforming experience that will keep players entertained for around 4 hours depending on patience. Although there are better and more rounded platforming experiences around on the eShop, Ink hold its own due to its character and focus on a unique mechanic.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Release Date: 19/06/2018
Price: £8.09 (eShop)
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Developer: Kittehface and Spaceboy
Pegi Rating: 3+
Review copy provided by publisher