My beaufitul face

Dan Palmer

Hello. I work for Condé Nast Britain as a front end developer. I usually tweet a lot of crap whilst listening to a lot of music. My nickname is Gonads. I wear shorts all year round.

Sunday Morning Itch - Bendy and the Ink Machine and Reap

written on Feb 12, 2017
Games

Bendy and the Ink Machine - Chapter one

Bendy is a first person puzzle horror game. It is the first chapter in a series created by The Meatly, comic writer and artist.

You play as Henry, a cartoonist that has received a letter from an old friend, Joey Drew. In this letter we find out that 30 years ago, you and Joey used to work together and if you are ever in town, that you return back to your old workshop as he has something to show you.

The game uses the main character’s previous job as an influence for the visual direction: 1930s cartoons. Objects and environments have a very harsh outline with a sketchy detailed inside. The game’s colours are black and white but however, due to the dimly lit environment, it has turned the white to an old, faded, worn paper yellow. The typography used on the signs is thick, bold and uppercase with a traditional comic book style shape. Almost resembles the text used for the ACME signs in Roadrunner.

You start off in the entrance hallway to the workshop. Along the walls are previous animated works created by the studio. In the main room is a projector, chairs, tables and a life size cutout of an illustrated character. Old wooden boards stretch along the ceiling and floor, some laying diagonal if to quickly patch a hole. Dropping from ceiling is ink, pooling on the floor.

As I know horror is one of the themes of this game, I assess my controls. I can jump but not run. Interesting.

I wander around the corridors, empty shelves, posters, boarded up cracks in walls. Every now and then there are spotlights pointing towards the floor, illuminating dimly lit halls.

I pass a wall with “DREAMS COME TRUE” written in ink.

I continue down corridors and come across an audio player. It contains an employee expressing his concern for the business as they were no longer finishing work on time. Also he describes about some strange behaviour from Joey; needing workers to donate something from their workstations in order to “appease the gods”.

Bendy and the Ink Machine

I pass rooms that contain an ink machine, a projector with a button reading flow and one with a character strapped down to a table. The creature has its chest cut open and also looks as if it could have come from the studio’s fictitious work. Below are puddles of ink and on the wall is written “WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?” Perhaps this “ink” is something else’s blood.

I turn back and find the power room. In front is a sign reading main power with a lever below. To the left is a flashing button that has low pressure written on it. Around the room are six pedestals with six images displaying an item: doll, music note, ink can, gear, spanner and book. I have to find each of these items in order to restore power.

As I leave the room, one of the life-size cutouts is standing stationary round the corner. I should not have jumped.

Hunting for the items is easy. Once I have collected them all, I am informed I need to get the ink flowing so I head towards the projector room.

Walking down a corridor, one of the life-size cutouts pops its head round the corner and then disappears. I should not have jumped. Again.

I hit the flow button and head back towards the main power room. Now on all of the pedestals are the items I collected. Pulling the lever makes the items disappear. I hope this appeases the gods.

I make my way back to the ink machine room. The doorway is now boarded up and as I approach, a creature pops its head up. I spin. I run walk. I head back to the entrance. Ink is flooding the floors. I then fall through a hole in the floor.

Turning around I see a boarded up hallway, accompanying axe on the wall and the words “THE CREATOR LIED TO US”. Still in a rush, I grab the axe and plow through the boarded hallway. At the end is a room with a pentagram on the floor with coffins leaning against the wall. The screen begins to shake.

Chapter one ends. I will be playing the rest.

Itch link: https://themeatly.itch.io/bendy-and-the-ink-machine


Reap

Reap is a top down exploration game that uses a procedurally generated map as the core of its game. It was created for Ludum Dare 34.

You are a sailor who’s ship has broken apart upon arriving to the islands. Your initial objective was to find treasure however after losing your ship and being partially stranded, you must also try to survive.

The colour and style of this game resemble an old hand drawn map. Faded yellowy paper and simple map symbols showing pick up items, mountains and sea lines. The view being contained to a circle feels very compass-like.

Reap

There are few things you can do in this game which makes it easy to plan but also hard as you’re confined to its limitations. These are:

  • Chop the surrounding forests for wood. These can then be turned into bridges and rafts allowing you to reach other parts of the world.
  • Plant turnips to grow more. This is your food source.
  • Dig for treasure.

Your character has the ability to carry two items, one in each hand. As you play the game, you’ll have to travel to other islands to find treasure. Being able to carry in both hands makes moving items a lot easier. However, I ended up always carrying a turnip in one hand in case the next location I visited had no food supply. This essentially only gave me one hand.

There are three meters in the game: energy, food and time of day.

1. Energy

This displays how much energy you have left till your character falls asleep. Doing things like walking, chopping trees and planting crops spends this energy meaning you have to be strategic as to what you do during an energy cycle. This depleted a bit too quick.

2. Food

This shows how hungry you are. As you play, this meter slowly empties. Usually after sleeping, it will drop a slice. To increase this meter up, you have to eat turnips. This leads to moments where you’re unsure as to whether to plant what you have now in hope for a bigger reward later or eat them hoping you find some more.

3. Time of day

I love how this is displayed. Your view is displayed within a circle window. Around the outside is a sun, slowly rotating round. As it moves, the screen darkens if its getting towards night time but it also shrinks the radius of the circle, limiting your character view range. This makes it a lot harder to explore whilst on the sea.

Reap - Eating turnips My face when I eat turnips

As much as I loved the simplicity of this game, I found it a bit too hard as when moving from one island to another, I just got lost at sea.

Itch link: https://managore.itch.io/reap