Inked A Tale Of Love Review (PS4) – A Puzzle Adventure Drawn By A Struggling Artist
Inked A Tale Of Love PS4 Review Beautiful hand-drawn illustrations as the basis of a game world have become more common lately, as developers realize how so immersive and alluring organic imagery can be as an alternative to the latest attempt at realism. generic cartoon platform or CGI. Croatian developers Somnium were visually inspired by historic Asian art with their sparse use of color and a muted palette that, combined with line art, creates a unique setting for this simple Japanese folk adventure.
The love story is closely linked to the struggles of the artist observing and eventually interfering with the hero’s journey, like an omnipotent and malevolent Terry Gilliam since his debut with Python. If this sketchy but nifty outline caught you in this review, then my (bullet) point has been made with success …
Inked A Tale Of Love PS4 Review
The Nameless Biro
As the unnamed hero of Inked, you guide your retired samurai warrior in search of his lost love Aiko, an artist troubled by the sick and injured animals of their world. She set out on her own to find the cause of the damage to the wildlife, and our hero must solve puzzles across a diverse landscape in order to find her and aid her in her quest.
The journey is divided into ten chapters with distinct landscapes and animals within, ranging from crumbling citadels, scorching deserts, swamps, icy tundra and many more. Nine webs of Aiko’s art are hidden in each level for you to find, between solving the many puzzles that hinder your progress to reach the final portal that transports you to the next level.
Using a forced isometric perspective that evokes a host of vintage adventure games dating back to Ant Attack on the ZX Spectrum, our hero’s special power is to manipulate a small selection of blocks, ramps, switches, and bullets in each. “zone” which are all contained on the screen at the same time.
This stand-alone puzzle mechanic allows them to be more accessible for those struggling with something too cerebral (my hand is up), and the learning curve is perfectly judged to introduce new elements and techniques to progress once that. the player is comfortable with the potential Solution. That’s not to say that some aren’t extremely difficult, but a little thought and logic will usually get you through what initially appears to be an obtuse selection of blocks and ramps without tearing your hair out.
Later levels offer the ability to burn wooden structures to reach switches or inaccessible areas, as well as ice levels that allow you to freeze and melt water in the same way. Raising mechanical platforms and using steps and ramps are your only way to climb as you can’t jump, so it often simplifies gameplay and dictates the layout of the levels in a nice and predictable way.
The main drawback is the control system, as the square button was preferred over the cross to select an item you want to move, and on more than one occasion I found myself undoing carefully prepared scaffolding as the button layout was anything but intuitive. Otherwise, there’s not much to fault the gameplay unless you have an aversion to puzzles that gently strain your brain.
Break the fourth wall
As the story progresses, Aiko remains quite evasive but it continues to motivate our hero to find her. The ‘fourth wall’ is soon shattered when the artist’s hands begin to appear with a few still cutscenes that reveal scenes from his life that influence his mental state. These begin to have an effect on his demeanor and the way he treats his characters in the game, similarly turning the story into something more emotional and complicated than it initially seemed. Stepping out of the immersive art style could have ruined the atmosphere (according to the tedious sections of modern-day Assassin’s Creed), but it works pretty well here as a quirky idea to intertwine the artist’s world with folk history.
Of course, Inked’s USPs are the gorgeous line art that not only makes up an incredibly detailed isometric world, but also brings the two protagonists and the animals in their world to life, all of which are wonderfully animated. A subtle watercolor background is used behind the solid scenery and the bustling parts of the world are equal in their exquisite detail to the rest of the characters. Sonically, the appropriate and subtle musical soundtrack is interspersed with lovely organic sound effects that complement the visuals very well. Between scenes, the voiceover of the American narrator is something of an acquired taste but luckily that does not interfere too much with the charming Japanese atmosphere of the story.
Fast on the draw
There is between 4 and 5 hours of gameplay in the story, and the finalists will want to replay the game in order to collect all of the carefully hidden webs in each level. Considering the price of the game, this is a sufficient amount of gameplay for casual gamers who enjoy relatively simple puzzles framed in a sublime hand-drawn world that is worth seeing until the emotional finale.
While the core gameplay doesn’t break new ground and is essentially quite archaic, there is enough originality in the story and in the design to make up for that. As a result, Inked A Tale of Love is a recommended buy for lovers of design, puzzles, and emotional stories.
Inked A Tale Of Love is out now on PS4 / PS5
Review copy courtesy of Pixmain.