Platformers are amongst the easiest genre of games to pick up and play, and while we’ve seen a resurgence in 3D platforming as of late, INK aims to keep things simple with its fast-paced 2D platforming. Coming to console a couple of years after its PC release, the hook here is that it’s only through your actions that you get to even see the level, with each landing and jump splattering the world around you with a beautiful spectrum of colours, revealing the level splat by splat. It works in the game’s favour, delivering one of the most interesting ‘splatformers’ we’ve seen in some time.
There’s something truly satisfying about seeing a variety of colours splatter across the screen while working your way through some interesting platforming sequences and colouring in parts of the levels at the same time. It’s like Splatoon and Unfinished Swan blended together with a hint of Super Meat Boy.
The goal in each level is to get your cube through each of them without dying, sliding around, jumping, splatting enemies by landing on them, and wall jumping your way around. There’s more than a few tricky moments, but should you die, you thankfully respawn very quickly and the world stays just as coloured in as you left it.
The enemies that appear throughout these levels fire their projectiles in time with the music, which gives the game a hint of rhythm action – Sadly, the enemies themselves move in a left-right motion like Goomba’s from Super Mario and aren’t too hard to get past. The difficulty of some of these levels can be quite infuriating when you consider that the only real mechanic is that you have to colour in the platforms you’re jumping on, at times the excessive difficulty can feel unnecessary and can tarnish the experience at random points.
As with most platformers, there are also collectibles to grab, which appear as circles with hearts in them across the game’s 75 levels. INK also features three bosses at the three 25 level milestone. Even so, INK is not the type of game to have interesting characters and story development. So if you’re looking for a platform game with a story, then INK probably isn’t worth picking up.
The game substitutes these attributes for a great puzzle splatformer and the simplicity of its paint mechanic, though you can weary of this single idea in the long run. If you’re more of a puzzle platformer fan, then you’ll love this, as the game will try its hardest to make every level feel like its own puzzle, and it is incredibly satisfying when completing the harder later levels.
INK is an ambitiously simplistic platformer that creates its own identity with its level splatting gameplay. The only problem is that despite the attractive colourful visuals at various points, the game’s simplicity can get tiresome in long sessions. INK is worth picking up if you’re a puzzle-platforming fan, but those looking for a bit more depth may find other 2D platformers more enjoyable.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4