Thanks to Digerati for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 06/19/2018
The main gimmick of INK comes from how everything in the level except for the player character, exit and enemies is completely invisible. Your character, a simple, white square, colors in the area underneath him as he moves, and rubbing against any sort of surface will add color to it, along with a burst that you can release upon double jumping. Upon death your marks in a stage will still remain, so you don’t have to worry about re-coloring a stage if you make it to the very end only to die.
The controls in Ink are beyond simple, with just movement and a jump button to worry about. When the game starts out, the levels only require that you reach the end to clear them, with nothing blocking the exit from being opened up, but after a few levels are complete you’re quickly introduced to enemies, consisting of multicolored squares that require you to jump on their heads in order to destroy. Destroy all the enemies in a stage and the exit will unlock, and it must all be done in one go, too, so if you die after defeating all the enemies, you’ll have to do so again and reach the exit in order to beat the stage.
Besides that, there isn’t much in terms of hazards. Every now and then you’ll fight a boss that’ll require you to figure out a pattern in order to hit it enough times and destroy it, but besides enemies, spikes and certain obstacles, your most common threat will be falling into a pit, and not just because you’re trying to light up a path to the exit, but rather due to the way your square will jump.
You see, while jumping it’s pretty tough to change directions in midair, with most of your momentum being focuses on the direction you were holding when you initiated the jump. Your “burst” that you pull off when double jumping can help a bit, but even then the jump can feel clunky, which makes certain stages quite challenging when you have the risk of overshooting a platform, all thanks to the jumping feeling akin to Super Ghouls and Ghosts. It’s not bad by any means and the levels are still short enough to not overstay their welcome, but it’s an odd handicap to add challenge to the game. Outside of just clearing the levels, there are also twenty hidden coins scattered throughout the seventy-five stages, placed in very tough spots that require careful precision in order to reach. Like with the enemies, dying after collecting a coin will make you lose it, so you have to do it in one run of the stage.
In conclusion, INK is a decent platformer with a fun gimmick, and while the game has enjoyable and challenging levels, it feels a bit too basic and done-to-death for it to be memorable enough for me. The awkward jumping doesn’t make the game bad by any means, and it’s still a clever concept worth checking out if you like the sound of it, but don’t expect anything exceptional from this game. Outside of collecting the rare coins or playing this in co-op with a friend, there’s little reason to replay the game after clearing all the stages, but it is an enjoyable platformer while it lasts.
I give INK a 7 out of 10.