A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bendy and the Ink Machine is a creepy adventure game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch. Played from the first-person perspective, gamers explore a run-down cartoon studio that's more like the creepiest place on Earth than the happiest. Using axes, machine guns, and pipes, players have to fight off ink monsters, though killing them doesn't result in any blood or gore, just spilled ink. There are also some violent cutscenes, including one that shows someone being skewered with a sword, and another in which a character has an axe embedded in their head. Disturbing images include things jumping out at you, a character strapped to a torture device, and what resembles a Satanic ritual. Part of a franchise that also includes the mobile game Bendy in Nightmare Run, this episodic series also includes toys, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia.
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What's it about?
In BENDY AND THE INK MACHINE, you take on the role of Henry Stein, a retired animator. Joey Drew, an old friend of yours, wants you to come to the animation studio where you used to work together thirty years ago. But when you arrive at the studio, Joey's nowhere to be found, the building is in disrepair, and the whole place feels...off. You soon realize that something's very wrong here, especially with the halls being infested with odd ink monsters. It's up to you to figure out how to stop these creatures, find out what happened to Joey, and survive to tell the tale.
Is it any good?
Though it's initially cute, this adventure game quickly becomes a freaky test of your reflexes, your problem solving abilities, and your heart's ability to keep beating. In Bendy and the Ink Machine, you return to the animation studio where you used to work, only to find there's something really creepy going on. Played from the first-person perspective, you have to solve situational puzzles while also fighting off ink monsters, all in an attempt to figure out what's going on. Everything happens in locations where moody lighting and eerie atmospheric sounds put you on edge, and things jump out at you at disturbing moments. It's not just the scary monsters and super creeps, either; the cardboard stand-ups of Bendy are downright frightening when they pop out at you unexpectedly. Originally released as separate episodes on PC and Mac, this collected edition presents the entire game, and brings it to game consoles as well.
But while this game does a great job of creating and maintaining a creepy vibe, and challenging your ability to think straight while being scared silly, the gameplay does have some issues. For starters, your character doesn't move very fast, even when he's being chased and you try to get him to run. He also forgot his flashlight, and doesn't seem to get why he should pick up a candle, even though the place is dark and some illumination might help him get around. But these are not so much mistakes as they are creative choices to keep you scared and engaged in the gameplay. That's why fans of escape rooms, haunted houses, and those who think old cartoons are creepy will have a frightening good time with Bendy and the Ink Machine.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Bendy and the Ink Machine affected by the fact that you're killing ink monsters? Would it be intensified if you were killing humans instead?
Is it a problem that Bendy and the Ink Machine has cute imagery for characters, but scary game situations? Can adults like cute things that are framed with more mature content? Can you see how a parent might mistakenly buy this game for their younger kid?
- Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: TheMeatly Games Ltd
- Release date: November 20, 2018
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Violence
- Last updated: May 22, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.