A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Inscryption is a horror themed strategic card/puzzle game available for download on Windows based PCs. Players compete against a mysterious opponent in a series of card battles, occasionally stepping away from the table and exploring the surrounding room for special items, puzzles, etc. While there's no graphic depictions of violence onscreen, there's a lot of implied violence, such as "sacrificing" animal cards to play more powerful cards and also using certain items to gain an advantage at the cost of apparent self-harm. Due to the game's horror element, it may be too intense for very young players.
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What's it about?
Welcome to INSCRYPTION, that last game you'll ever play. Well, at least if you lose. You have been chosen to challenge your mysterious host to a card game adventure. With your customized deck of woodland creatures in hand, you must traverse an ever-changing map and survive any and all encounters that block your path. Be sure to follow your host's rules or suffer the consequences (even if he makes those rules up as he goes along). Need a break? Step away from the table and stretch your legs. And while you're at it, take the time to explore the room, looking for clues and items that might help you win your match. Defeat your host and you just might escape with your life. Lose and risk becoming a permanent piece in some future challenger's game.
Is it any good?
Things are often not what they first seem, because what starts off one way can often become something totally different once you start peeling back the layers. Such is the case with Inscryption. At first blush, the game comes across as a relatively simple card game with some slightly sinister undertones. It's creepy enough that your opponent-slash-gamemaster always skulks about deep in the shadows, with only a glowing pair of eyes staring you down. The, once your cards start talking to you, telling you of their suffering and trying to warn you about your host, things quickly take a darker turn. And once you first step away from the table and begin to examine the room you realize you're trapped in, that's when you start to really grasp the true nature of the game. This is more than just some normal card game. It's more than just a puzzle game too. This is psychologically intense survival horror.
Inscryption is almost as frustrating as it is entertaining at times. While there's a rulebook available to explain the basics of the gameplay, it doesn't help when those rules seem to change at the whim of the gamemaster and stack the proverbial (and sometimes literal) deck against you. Stepping aside from the table and into the "escape room" styled cabin is even more vague. The host might tell you to pick up a specific item for some reason, but there's so much more you can interact with. There are numerous secrets hidden throughout the cabin, as well as more than a few red herrings. And since the host isn't keen on you escaping his grasp, he's never very forthcoming with information in your favor. This means a lot of the game is trial and error, and that means a lot of dying and restarting as a new challenger. Still, as frustrating as it can be, with each playthrough, you learn a little bit more and make a bit more progress. As a result, escape always feels like it's just barely outside of your reach and the next match might finally be the one leading you to freedom.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror in entertainment. Why is it sometimes fun to be scared? What are some of the creative ways that games, movies, books, etc., scare audiences?
How can games like Inscryption help teach players to use strategic and creative thinking to overcome obstacles, even during stressful situations?
- Platforms: Windows
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Devolver Digital
- Release date: October 19, 2021
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: October 19, 2021
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