IInkulinati is an ink-based strategy game where you play as a master of the secret art of Inkulinati – the art of bringing ink to life which is used for battles in the pages of medieval parchments.
You’ll become a master of the quill as you battle against hand drawn beasts and medieval heroes to prove your supremacy at the art of Inkulinati. To summarise it shortly; it has blown my digital socks off with its art style, depth of gameplay and sheer entertainment factor , even in its early access state, and I’m salivating at the thought of the upcoming additional content.
In relation to the game-lore; you play as a master of the secret art of Inkulinati – the art of bringing ink to life which is used for battles in the pages of books. Inkulinati at its core is a turn based roguelike with a heavy emphasis on strategy. Every level takes place in a two-dimensional arena (which is the medieval parchment), with different randomly generated objects and layouts that can influence your strategy.
I’m admittedly not the biggest strategy fan, sheerly due to the fact that my consistent stupidity in these style of games infuriate me, but there’s something really special and addictive about the full package that Inkulinati has to offer.
Where the game really excels is in its emphasis on decision making. Rather than the linear approach of ‘kill before you get killed’ presented in most turn-based games, the game puts its primary focus on unit placement. Put a unit in the wrong place, and they can simply be pushed off of the edge of the arena. Seperate them too far from your and a snail might just jump the gap and eat them in one hit – and yes; that is an actual sentence that makes sense in relation to this game.
It amazes me how unique the entire gameplay experience feels. Yes, there are shades of other games that blend into the experience, like deck-building elements from Slay the Spire and common turn-based RPG elements, but it doesn’t lean rely on these aspects – it instead pushes the elements it brings to the table, such as the unique troop types, strategies and complexity of combat.
It’s something I’ll repetitively harp on about, and I think is becoming a primary selling point to me on what I love about so many indie games out there – the art-style and presentation of the game’s visuals in every avenue of Inkulinati are immaculate. Medieval art as a whole has always been something I’ve loved, and I feel Inkulinati perfectly encapsulates this style and goofiness (just google some medieval artwork if you don’t understand the goofiness).
I briefly touched on this earlier, but the unit variety is something that really needs some additional praise, as it really draws the whole thing together (do you see what I did there). Initially, you’ll get presented with simple beast variations of dogs, rabbits and foxes, all with a unique archer, swordsman and spearman classes.
As you’ll progress, you’ll unlock demons, instant-killing snails, abominations and even a farting donkey bard, and in my opinion, this is really where the game opens up. You’re constantly encouraged to mix up the composition of these beasts as well, as the longer you use the same unit type, the more expensive it becomes. It’s a nice feature to keep you on your toes, and really gives you the full exposure of what ever units strengths and weaknesses are.
In its current state, you’ll encounter two different kinds of battles as you play, either a 5v5 beast battle, or a more strategic Inkulinati vs Beast battle, where you’ll summon beasts progressively throughout turns to protect yourself and deal damage to the opposing Inkulinati until one of you are dead. The difficulty in both of these may be a bit surprising to everyone, as even the easiest of difficulties (and trust me, I tried), will punish you for your poor decision making, so I’d suggest taking your time going through the tutorials thoroughly, so you don’t get discouraged early on.
Inkulinati encapsulates everything I love about Indies – it’s a bold concept that you just wouldn’t normally find from a bigger studio, and can feel the love and effort put into every aspect of the game. If you like rogue-likes, strategy games or a good ol’ fashioned challenge – I implore you to give it a try. Inkulinati is available on Steam and Xbox Game pass right now.