Classic cartoons from the 1920s remind us of better times. Everything was carefree, everybody was nice and pleasant to each other and solutions to any problems were very easy. But what if there was a darker side of that nostalgic phase? Explore the more sinister side of classic cartoons in Bendy and the Ink Machine.
Stated on the game’s official site in Game Jolt, Bendy and the Ink Machine is a “first-person puzzle action horror game” developed by TheMeatly Games and created by theMeatly & Mike Mood. TheMeatly.com is an online platform that hosts web comics and game reviews. They also produce and endorse independent games from submissions by fans, who also happen to help and fund TheMeatly on producing most of its contents through Patreon and online merchandises.
The game takes place in an abandoned animation where players take on the role of Henry, a former animator who badly needs to confront the horrors of the past that have been haunting him all this time.
In Chapter 1, “Moving Pictures,” Henry receives an invitation to return to SillyVision, a studio owned by his former associate Joey Drew. To Henry’s surprise upon his arrival, he witnesses the ink coming from the Ink Machine has been dripping all over the place. Here, players must be able to repair the machine and fend off any threats.
In Chapter 2, “The Old Song”, players continue their quest on evacuating from the haunted animation studio while revealing the secrets that have been kept for three decades. They will also navigate SillyVision’s orchestra studio to gather more evidence from Joey and confront the musical director Sammy Lawrence. Other enemies that players have to face are The Searchers, the hostile ink humanoids lurking in groups.
Upon immersion, players are presented in an environment with visuals reminiscent of Walt Disney classic cartoons while the filter effect is sepia. Henry provides enough clues to players about his involvement with Joey. It is also noticeable that the ink bleeds more as the game progresses. Cutouts of Bendy are seen everywhere, starting from tame surprises to disturbing jump scares.
Judging from its gameplay, Bendy and The Ink Machine may have taken queues of the twists of Spooky’s House of Jump Scares. During the first moments of the game, the jump scares are mild and innocent. As players dive deeper into the darkness, more malicious beings will hunt them down. Sceneries are also turning darker with occult imagery and terrifying monsters.
After garnering attention with the help of Youtube gamers, fans are able to formulate theories, incite discussions, and inspect the game’s mysterious backstory. As players get to know the production process of animation, some fans believe that the game is a commentary in the animation industry.
Both chapters are available in Game Jolt and Steam, while a third chapter is already in the works