Developer Misfit Games has been hard at work on their game Ink. Ink is a gruesomely challenging platformer that will test any gamer’s patience. I was able to play the first 15 levels of the game, and they are not easy feats to accomplish. Earlier this week, I was given the chance to interview the Producer and Product Manager of Misfit Games, Chad Small, and he told me Super Meat Boy was an inspiration for the game, and the indie title’s difficulty is definitely an influence here.
Ink is a tough platformer that’s set on a sheet of lined paper. Yes, paper. The unique levels are designed in the fashion of a quick sketch, something similar to games such as Doodle Jump. In Ink, the player controls a blob that can absorb the color of any ink it comes into contact with. Colors such as red and blue, which are the standard colors, play important roles alongside green which is a color that is available for use for a couple of seconds. Having green as a timed color adds (if there wasn’t enough) challenge to the game.
There is a slight ticking sound which speeds up in tempo to give caution to when the blob will revert back to its previous color. The sound would be useful if it wasn’t low in volume. Due to this flaw, it sometimes becomes a guessing game which can result in some cheap deaths. The levels have platforms that are long and short, moving and stationary, and can all vary in color. Black platforms can be stepped on at any time, while red, blue, and green can only be stood on if the blob matches that color at that point in time. The trick is that some obstacles are walls that are colored too. The player may be able to use a red platform to walk across, but to get through a red wall, the blob must be another color. This takes some getting accustomed to, but when this abnormality is conformed to, the fun and strategy begins. The game offers a feature to see the entire level with the click of a button, so one can view the many ways to fail. All of this is done to get to a hole in the paper to progress to the next level.
The theme song of the game is very charming and mimics something that could have come from LittleBigPlanet. The other sounds in the game are often bland, but nothing that would ruin the experience. What can damper the experience is the fact the some death animations when coming into contact with a hazard are non-existent; only a white box appears. The hazards encountered are white pools, streams, and even swirls of white ink. The pools and streams will reset the little sprite back to the start, and the swirls will turn it into a white blob, leaving the player with the handicap of only being able to stand on black platforms.
Ink is for players who yearn for and can take a challenge. I was only allowed access to about half the levels for Ink, and the last one took me a rough 20 minutes to complete. I fear and welcome the journey to higher levels. Ink is a balance between incredibly frustrating (to no one’s fault but the player) and tremendously rewarding. After the completion of each level, I would sigh in relief only to tense back up again to face a new challenge.
No release date or window has has been given for Ink, but PC gamers can expect to play first. There’s no word yet hinting at a release on other platforms.