Inked (Mobile)

You are the nameless hero, a retired warrior who lives with his companion Aiko.  Not sure if they are husband and wife, but they live in a world made up of hand-drawn black and white sketches.  Like what you’d see in an artist’s notebook.  Their world kind of has an Asian theme, with Japanese shrine gates and whatnot, but there are also futuristic Stargate looking portals at the end of each level for some reason.  Anything is possible in sketches I guess.  Anyway, one day the hero and Aiko discover a bird with a broken wing, and set out on a journey to find out what happened to it.  Inked is a puzzle game for mobile devices, but reviewed on iPad here.

You view the game in an isometric perspective, and tap on the touch screen to tell the hero where to go.  Every so often you’ll come across a puzzle.  Most of these are the block pushing, switch activating variety.  Some blocks you can drag and drop with your finger, and rotate them by tapping another finger on screen.  But other blocks, indicated by a different color, you may have to have the hero push around.  You’ll do this by tapping on the block you want him to push, and tap again for him to let go.  You’ll manipulate blocks and bridges in this way to give the hero a path, or place ramps so rolling circle blocks can roll where you need them to.  After you solve a few of these kinds of puzzles, you’ll enter a portal gate and start the next chapter.  And there are a quite a few of these chapters, too!  Like more than a dozen!

I really liked the sketch style graphics, and every so often you’ll see a photorealistic pair of hands or a memory from the artist, reminding you that everything in this game is from notebook doodles.  And I really like these kind of puzzle games, but the touch screen controls could use some work.  They need to take a look at how moving things around is handled in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, as that game fares much better in that regard.  And the game could’ve used a hint system, too.  Luckily you can start off right after the last puzzle you solved.  If the controls were better, I’d say this mobile game would be considered ‘console quality.’

Kid Factor:

Aside from seeing a drawing of a bird with a broken wing flopping over, the game is fairly non-violent.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but not necessary just to play as most everything has spoken voice.  No in-game purchases either!  Younger gamers may get frustrated at the controls and difficult puzzles, though.

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