Inked: A Tale of Love is a puzzle game at its core but where it truly shines is the message that it’s trying to get across. Let’s see what this game is all about and if it’s worth a look into.
Inked: A Tale of Love starts you off with the nameless samurai. He comes down from this temple and meets up with the love of his life, Aiko. He soon finds out that the birds are dying. Because of this the Nameless Hero and Aiko go on a journey to save the rest of the birds.
The first part of the game teaches you its gameplay mechanics. The gameplay controls are very simple. You choose highlighted objects to move around the screen. You then use these objects to solve puzzles of varying difficulties. They start off easy at first but as the game progresses the puzzles become more trickier and trickier. You’d need to think about all the possibilities and do a lot of trial an error.
The most common objects that you will encounter throughout the game are the box, the sphere, the ramp, the bridge and a box with handles.
The box, sphere, the ramp and bridge are objects that can be moved with your mighty pen. While the box with handles will need to be moved physically by the Nameless Hero. The box can be used to help you move across small gaps.
The sphere is most commonly used in puzzles that involve holes as activators. They are also used in certain areas to knock down gates. The ramp helps you get to higher places or get on top of a box. The bridge lets you cross wider gaps and can be placed on top of the box ones.
The box with handles can only be moved by the Nameless Hero. So it’s one of the trickier objects that come into play. Just like the Nameless Hero, it is bounded by the limits of where it can move.
Due to the limitations, you really have to be creative in solving the puzzles. If you can just think outside the box and think of the many possibilities, going through the puzzles would be a breeze. The game won’t provide you hints or clues so you are basically on your own in solving the puzzles.
In each area, you will also find paintings that you can collect. The paintings will be hidden in plain sight so you’d have to search using the search button to find these. Each area has 9 paintings to find. Some are very well hidden so you really need to keep your eyes peeled.
This adds another level of variety to the puzzles. Because not only are you trying to solve the main puzzles, you are also subconsciously trying to find the hidden art works.
Each area that you go, will also have it’s own unique object that will become a key part for puzzles in that area. For example, there is a level where you can obtain a block that will make water freeze. Another area lets you use fire to burn things down or activate certain blocks. There’s also an area where you can harness the power of wind.
The background music that accompanies the game is very calming and soothing. It really helps with being able to concentrate in doing the puzzles. The overall aura of the game is very zen that you can almost forget how frustrating the puzzles are.
Aside from the puzzles, the game truly shines in its story and narration. The narrator is actually the artist of the world the Nameless Hero is in. He plays God and does whatever he pleases to make the life of the Nameless Hero difficult. It feels like there are two main characters in the game and that they are interacting well with each other.
The story is something to be applauded for. Behind the puzzles and the beautiful art lies a story about taking for granted what you have. It’s a story about what a person is willing to give up to get to their goals. It’s a symbolism to how we as a people tend to turn a blind eye to whatever is happening around us just to satisfy our own needs and wants.
The Nameless Hero though teaches us that sometimes we just have to let go. And move on from things that we know is just going to end up destroying ourselves and succumbing to the darkness within. The Nameless Hero teaches us that sometimes the right answer is not always the one that we want but it’s the one that we need.
Overall, the game is challenging enough for puzzle enthusiasts. It actually deserves at least another playthrough especially if you’re missing out any of the artwork. My only qualms about this game is that you’re not able to choose a level or go back to previous levels if you wanted to. You’d have to finish the game and redo the whole thing all over again. It’s kind of disappointing if you just wanted to finish up collecting artwork you may have missed as you’d have to wait until you’ve finished the game to do so.
Nevertheless, Inked: A Tale of Love is a good addition for those people who likes solving puzzles and want to keep their brain working.