“Inked” by Somnium Games (Edi Ferhatović, Matej Orlić, Barbara Orlić, Andrej Bodružić, Vlado Tašner, Denis Huber, Marko Pavliško, Lovro Golac, Lavro Vukić & Neven Lujo), Bryan Olson & Pixmain (TszWai Lam, Katrina Zhao, RuiPeng Jia, TianCheng Yan, Jie Sun, ZhiQun Wang, Adrian Kucharski, Fausto Ciancio, Hongjia Xu, Jinny Kang, Julian Mohr, Keiko Teino, Lionel Kohn, Marco Flor, Meng Yang, Piertommaso Bottura, Rui Wang, Simson Dieterle, Vladimir Novikov & Xueying You).

“Guide a rogue samurai […] on a journey through a puzzle-ridden quest to restore what [he cares] for. Following your adventure is the mysterious Artist, the person who drew the world around you. Your stories are connected in more ways than one, and the journey you will take will change you both.”

Full disclosure right ahead:
Sebastian Standke used a free preview key of “Inked”, provided by Pixmain, to play the game and write an article about it.

A retired samurai, known only as the Nameless Hero, and his beloved partner, the painter Aiko, enjoy the peaceful life in a beautifully drawn world. But just as she is about to devote herself to her passion, she notices a bird with broken wings dragging itself to them with its last ounce of strength. The two want to get to the bottom of the matter and decide to wander deeper into the world of “Inked”. However, they are not completely alone, as a man’s voice – spoken by the talented Bryan Olson – accompanies their quest.

The identity of the narrator is quickly resolved: It is the artist who made their existence possible in the first place. While he seems friendly and well-meaning at first, he soon takes Aiko captive, forcing the Nameless Hero to search for her in all sorts of realms. The villain’s motives remain vague at first, but the protagonist has no time to think about them either. After all, he wants his love back at his side.

So we embark on a puzzle adventure through the most diverse areas. Each new level comes with at least one new mechanic, which was specially adapted to the scenario. For example, in an arctic level we can use a device to freeze water into ice platforms, while in a desert stage we can burn down wooden platforms to clear other paths. The objects that you have to interact with can be basically divided into three categories. First, there are items that you can tap once with the touch controls and then freely place and rotate. Then there are other objects that you can move back and forth, as long as there is a free path from the start position to the desired end position. The last category consists of things that have a fixed position.

In a total of nine chapters (plus a prologue and epilogue), “Inked” thus tells a story about love, loss and the question of how to deal with both. Although one might object that the puzzles could be a hindrance in telling it, I have to disagree with that notion. On the contrary; after all, the artist wants to teach his creation a difficult lesson. But maybe the student will become the master in the end – but you will have to find out for yourself if that is true. I will only tell you this much: I had to hold back a few tears. [PLAY]