Today it’s time to talk about Inkulinati, a turn-based action video game that launched on Game Pass as early access inspired by the aesthetics of ancient medieval manuscripts.
Before I begin, allow me a little history lesson. In the past, it was customary to illustrate manuscripts with fantastical creatures and beings in the margins, this was called illumination. These illuminations in many cases represented the desire of illustrators and copyists to capture their own reality, but through their imagination. Thus, the creatures of the manuscripts are ironies or sarcasms: soldier dogs, bishops represented as cats or minstrel donkeys.
Inkulinati exploits this facet of the story and turns it into a game, an epic battle between scribes like a magic chess game. If there’s anything I have to tell you about Inkulinati, it’s that it’s not a normal video game at all. The confrontation seems real and with a certain mystical touch against our adversary, but it is true that a certain immersion is missing to reach the levels that we could feel in a game like Inscription, for example.
A story to write
In the game, we play ourselves, but in the shoes of an ancient medieval scribe. From the hand of Magisterium (our teacher with a suspicious resemblance to Master Yoda from Star Wars) we’ll learn the ins and outs of the battle between scribes. After a party that goes crazy, we will have to walk a path ofe fights between creatures and beasts with other scribes fight against the personification of death.
Inkulinati, although it lacks a strong narrative thread, it has an impressive satirical and sarcastic section. The game is plagued with its conversations with ironic comments and even references to medieval films and series. I challenge you to find all references to The Knights of the Square Table.
The enlightened war
Right from the start, what caught our attention was its aesthetics. Inkulinati plunges us into the world of ancient medieval manuscripts in the same vein as Pentiment last year. At all times, the interface represents a medieval scroll in which we will fight our battle. The ink that falls from our pen stains the board and gives us advantages in combat and we ourselves can perform actions on it with our writing hand (remove creatures or move them).
The sound as well as the lines of the drawings plunge us into ancient documents and transport us to medieval times. Although we find a movement interface that is not immersive compared to the efforts made in other aspects of the game.
We will have at our disposal a tutorial window that takes over almost the entire screen and prevents us from enjoying the experience. This interface is optional, but the game is very complex from the start, so our first hours at Inkulinati will be almost mandatory.
Regarding the difficulty, after having experienced the tutorial I decided to focus the game on a “normal” difficulty. But normally I had nothing, the game attacked mercilessly and every mistake was severely punished. It is very easy to lose a game in Inkulinati although it is designed for this and the “resurrection” is quite simple. Although it is not a roguelite, its structure of power-ups is quite similar and if we are smart and careful we can survive this inky apocalypse.
In short, I would like to reflect on the powerful impression this title made on me. And it is that the references to Pentiment, developed by Obsidian and released last December, and the independent success that was Incryption (in its recent launch on Nintendo Switch) were not accidental. These are two games I had the chance to play recently and it turns out that Inkulinati is partly a mix between the two. Pentiment’s aesthetic has blended with Incryption’s style, and if you liked both games, you’ll probably like Inkulinati. And here is the big “but”, because it is also possible that you will be disappointed.
Inkulinati Early Access gets the thumbs up, but falls short of excellence. The art section is good, but not revolutionary, and its gameplay is smart but not immersive. We hope this test will help you improve some aspects that can make it a must-have in our PC, Switch, Xbox and Game Pass catalog.
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming World you are looking for.