I’ve been talking to the people over at theMeatly for a while now. Initially I was lured by their amusing cartoon strips about game development as it game me an insight in to the world of the people I engage with a lot on Twitter. I had no idea at that point that not only were they in to game development themselves, but they were just putting the finishing touches on the first chapter of their new game ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’. When I spoke to them of my surprise in a short interview, they agreed that “Most people know me from my game development comics, but often seem surprised when they found I actually make games as well. The truth is, I was creating games long before the comics ever began. I spent some time developing with several indie studios for the App Store back when it was still new. My struggles and pains of game development really launched theMeatly comics. 🙂 Now I am trying to focus on my games a bit more and hopefully impress a few of my readers! I just plain love creating!”
So, we have an indie puzzle based horror game. These are two genres that I can get behind because puzzle games are one of my top genres of choice and because its a horror game and people are becoming quite sadistic in their enjoyment of watching me get scared to death and I must say you get a strange buzz out of it. theMeatly got even deeper about it,
“I think there is something rooted in every human being that likes to feel afraid sometimes. Fear is deeply alluring.”
As this chapter was available as a kind of ‘advert’ to generate revenue for the next part of the game development, I was really keen to check it out. I’ve been interested in the pressures of funding that developers face and so wanted to see for myself whether this would be a good method of generating interest in the game so far and encourage backers via the Patreon system.
“I have some super fun and strange ideas for the next chapter of “Bendy and the Ink Machine”…Overall, I’m looking at some heart pumping action, bigger scares, and a story that the players will actually connect with. But I really need our player’s help to make it!
So I’m asking people to support my Patreon account to make it possible for me to keep the story going for people to enjoy.”
The game has a cartoon themed aesthetic that throws back to the initial days of Disney and Mickey driving Steamboat Willie. It has the vibe of 1930’s reel film combined with the nods to the rudimentary drawing and animation style that you would have expected from early animated work. The little character of ‘Bendy’ gives you an increasing sense of unease from the outset. You were sure he wasn’t there a moment ago. Had he always been that close? The fact that he’s a little cartoon makes for a feeling that you want to find him cute and fluffy, but the soulless gaze gives you the big creeps every time you look at him.
For a game that is based on a palette of fifty shades of brown, it looks spectacular because it is true to the theme it creates. It doesn’t try to add colours that aren’t true to the art style, and this makes it all the more creepy when you are trying to find your way around as the points of reference become confusing. You truly get the sense of feeling lost in this environment and are trying to find your way around to complete the short task that is featured in this chapter.
It doesn’t feel very scary at first. There’s a definite atmosphere but it’s manageable and you can merrily go about your business completing the simple puzzle that is a part of this release. Then it starts to get a bit freaky. The sound changes, the atmosphere shifts and the closer you get to completing the puzzle, the more anxious you become about what will happen if you do. Then you complete the puzzle and all hell breaks loose. If you are a regular on one of my Indie horror streams you can probably predict the tirade of profanity, but this really did give me the freak outs. The whole atmosphere of the game suddenly alters and then it’s all over.
This is some way of launching a game. I haven’t seen a release attempt to get funding in this way before and I have to say I have found it very successful in persuading me to get behind the game. A lot of care and attention has been put in to every part of this so far from the story, to the atmosphere, to the style of the environment. Its an outstanding 20 minutes of gameplay and I truly hope that the game is funded from this point forward because I think it has the making of something excellent. Who knew animation could be this scary? In an industry often obsessed with realism and high end graphics, it is testimony to the quality of production here that this is successful without the need for realism.
I can highly recommend the first chapter of ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine‘. Its a solid 20 minutes of fun that you can pay what you like for and support on Patreon if you would like to see the game continue. Good luck to the team at theMeatly who have clearly worked hard on this and I cant wait to see the success of ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’ continue.