Bendy and the Dark Revival review for PlayStation, Xbox

Platform: PS5
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher: Joey Drew Studios
Developer: Joey Drew Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

As a father of a 6-year-old, you tend to try and learn about brands and franchises you ponder if you should allow them to watch, play or collect it. For me, my son was into Thomas the Tank Engine for more than half his life. Then one day in 2022 shortly before his birthday, he got an itch for Five Nights at Freddy?s and has been interested in it ever since. I know, I know, he?s 6 years old, shouldn?t you not allow him to like this?

It?s tough, because when I was his age, I was able to see Child?s Play 2 in the theater, which at the time scared the hell out of me but it ended up becoming one of my favorites of all time. He has grown to truly love everything about it, and with it comes the collecting aspect which gets me to store, where I see all these other Franchises that seem scary but geared for kids.

Case in point, is seeing in GameStop many times in the past was collectables for ?Bendy?. At first glance, this cute black and white character leads me to think it?s maybe a new cartoon for kids. My son was quick to correct that assumption and explained it was a game and is kind of scary like FNAF and Poppy Playtime. I never thought anything of this franchise until seeing the Press Release for ?Bendy and the Dark Revival?, which is a sequel to ?Bendy and the Ink Machine?, which I have clearly not played.
The trailer showed a dark and gritty visual style very reminiscent of Bioshock. This alone made me intrigued. Fast forward to playing the game and it?s nothing like I expected from seeing these Toys in the stores. It?s a neat premise of having Bendy and his friend?s part of an art studio where aspects of the animation studio come to life and create an alternate and twisted world that you will explore as the main protagonist, Audrey.

The game feels like an adventure puzzle game initially, which works well as you try to find a way out of this nightmare, but it quickly becomes a game of cat and mouse when you encounter ?The Ink Demon?. This is an Evil monstrosity that chases you throughout the game and cannot be hurt. Your goal is to run and hide. This becomes a mechanic that appears as you progress in the story.

During your time, you will encounter puzzles to progress as well as abilities that help you explore areas previously inaccessible. You will eventually be given the ability to defend yourself with a basic melee weapon and here is where I feel the game shows its weak point. The controls leave much to be desired and the combat is frustrating and lackluster. It feels like a tacked-on feature and was enjoying my time with the game until this portion.

As you get further, you will eventually get to bigger enemies and the combat I already don?t care for, elevates to a whole new level of frustration, at least for me. This is my main gripe with the game, but I feel the story is interesting enough and wanting to learn more about Bendy, his friends and the animation studio that created him.

Bendy and the Dark Revival is a longer game than I expected, closing in around 8 hours for me, and I have to say, I love the visuals. It really reminds me of Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. The concept of the Ink essentially taking over the world gives it a nice artistic approach to a dark horror inspired environment, and not be gory and bloody. When you fight enemies, instead of blood, ink is sprayed and I appreciate the fact that I was able to come into a game in recent times, completely blind and have a mostly enjoyable experience.

Outside of the combat and questionable controls at times, I was immersed in the world and plan to revisit by playing Bendy and the Ink Machine. This is a good example of not judging a book by its cover, or in my case, a Funko Pop at GameStop.

Note: Joey Drew Studios provided us with a Bendy and the Dark Revival PS4/PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+