Bendy and the Ink Machine review for Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Rooster Teeth Games
Developer: TheMeatly Games
Medium: Digital/Cartridge/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Given that I?m a huge fan of movies of the ?30s and ?40s, it?s hard for me to look at Bendy and the Ink Machine in a wholly objective light. After all, it?s a game that draws its inspiration directly from the cartoons and the art style of that era, which means that it starts out with a massive advantage in my books. All it would take for me to fall head over heels in love with the game would be for it to be halfway good as far as gameplay goes.

I guess, then, that the gameplay isn?t quite halfway good, since I?m not completely enamoured with Bendy and the Ink Machine.

As much as I thoroughly enjoy every moment of looking at the game — and there are plenty of opportunities to look, since much of the game is built around simply exploring an abandoned animation studio — when it comes time to engage with it the results are less than enjoyable. Too much of the game revolves around fetch quests. You hunt for keys. You hunt for items to power up a machine. You flick switches — so, so many switches. You see lots of the studio, but that?s because you?re spending so much time walking around it, looking for item X to help you move on to the next stage.

Better that, though, than fighting or running, since Bendy and the Ink Machine doesn?t do either of those things particularly well. Fighting mostly consists of hacking at ink monsters, while running feels awkward and unwieldy. The latter isn?t helped, either, by the fact that everything is very dark, and the constantly black ink dripping from every surface doesn?t make matters any better.

But the aesthetic — oh, the aesthetic. Bendy and the Ink Machine looks phenomenal, in everything from the friendly/demonic visage of the titular Bendy that grows a little more sinister every time you see it, to the way everything around you looks appropriately old-timey. And, of course, it all gets an extra retro-y sheen from the sepia-toned visuals.

But, unfortunately, great visuals only go so far. And even if Bendy and the Ink Machine has some of the best, the rest of the game doesn?t live up to them, making this a first-person horror game that you may be better off watching others play than actually playing it yourself.

Rooster Teeth Games provided us with a Bendy and the Ink Machine Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-