Medieval art comes to life in quirky hand drawn battles.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inkulinati is a downloadable turn-based strategy game available on Xbox Series, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows and macOS computers. Players control medieval style drawings as they fight in turn-based battles within the pages of a book. The game features a thorough tutorial to help players learn the main points of gameplay mechanics, but the learning curve is still a bit on the steeper side. Combat involves hard drawn characters, including animals and fantasy creatures, fighting each other with a combination of medieval weapons and humorous abilities. Violence is constant, but by no means is it graphic. The ongoing narrative written as battles progress occasionally makes use of some crude insults and very mild profanity.
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What’s It About?
The pen is truly mightier than the sword in INKULINATI. Based on the medieval practice of marginalia, these classic manuscript illustrations have come to life, battling against each other between the pages of a book. As a master of the Living Ink, you control your part of the story's narrative, drawing units and sending them across the margins to duke it out with an opposing master trying to bend the story to their own desires. You'll create fantastical creatures, from canine archers to donkey trumpeters to two-faced demons, and utilize their unique skills to gain the advantage. Watch out though, because at any moment a plot twist could be looming, changing the very landscape of the battlefield with plumes of fire or other environmental hazards. Prove yourself worthy of having your story told, and never forget that history is written by the victors.
Is It Any Good?
Sometimes, a story just seems to write itself. In Inkulinati, that's a very literal statement. The game's style is based on the medieval practice of adding illustrations within the margins of manuscript pages. By bringing these pictures to life to fight it out on paper, it makes for some unique interactions and twists to the usual turn-based strategy formula. The Academy mode serves as a decent tutorial for learning the basics, but it still takes a lot of practice to learn many of the nuances of the gameplay. Moving units around and managing ink reserves feels clunky at first, and some actions seem almost counterintuitive. In a lot of ways, Inkulinati feels less like a video game and more like a board game. And once you adjust to that and get more familiar with how the mechanics of the game operate, it starts to feel a lot more natural and gets easier to fully appreciate.
While there's a bit of a learning curve to playing Inkulinati, the game is instantly entertaining. There's just something fun about watching the wackiness unfold on the page, and the game is chock full of wackiness. Where else would you see a furry devil with an extra face on its rear, farting on a sword-wielding rabbit, before a chainmail covered hand swoops in from on high to bop the book and knock everyone to the ground? And this is in just one turn. Meanwhile, as the action takes place in the margins of the pages, the written narrative of each battle unfolds in pithy text up above. Sure, it can get a bit repetitive after a while, especially when the story starts to reuse some of the same lines, but it still often makes for a silly tale good for at least a few good chuckles. Inkulinati might not been the deepest or most user-friendly strategy game, but its quirky presentation makes it well worth the paper it's written on.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the influence of history in entertainment. What are some examples of movies, games, etc., that are directly inspired by history? How can games like Inkulinati motivate audiences to learn more about history?
How can different artistic styles change how games click with audiences? How can it affect the impact of things like violence or humor, particularly with younger gamers?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
- Release date: January 31, 2023
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance, Book Characters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Comic Mischief
- Last updated: January 27, 2023
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