The world and people on it are travelling at a million miles an hour. No one has time for each other and family moments are short and precious. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy the closest people in our lives? We all need time to unwind and appreciate our nearest and dearest. Inbento runs with this idea with its surreal nature and relaxing puzzles.
Developed and published by Afterburn and 7Levels, this is a colourful, casual, puzzle game. It tells its tale through a range of still images and uses bright puzzles that require logical thinking. The surreal story comprises a group of cats who highlight the difficulties of family life.
Inbento will test your mind with its small but well thought out puzzles.
I love to test my mind, but Inbento occasionally pushed me to the edge. With its small puzzles and minimal movements, you quickly become tied up and make repeated errors. You are shown a recipe on screen that must be replicated with ingredients found in a separate pot. Different methods of movement are introduced, and these vary from plucking blocks and twisting shapes.
Each world introduces new colours and new methods of working. As you progress, they combine and you become inundated with choices and different solutions. This is where the challenge ramps up, as you must think several steps ahead to ensure you are successful. You may think this sounds stressful? It really wasn’t! Even though I struggled with some solutions, the Eureka moment was worth the effort.
Food, glorious food!
The game spans fourteen worlds and comprises one hundred and twenty puzzles which is not unusual for an indie puzzle title. What was strange, however, was the use of Bento dishes to create each puzzle. The traditional food was painstakingly recreated with rice and vibrant ingredients being used as key elements. It was a little bizarre, but it matched the theme of each still image at the start of each world.
I loved the challenging stages but my favourite element has to be the little cutscenes. These heartwarming images will make you smile and chuckle, especially if you have a young family. The cats clearly love their food as this forms the backbone for every scene. With no spoken or written word, you are left to interpret the meaning of the pictures and this was thoroughly enjoyable. The developers have done a great job of letting your imagination run wild while cementing every element together.
I’m a sucker for a difficult game, but sometimes a small helping hand is much appreciated, sadly, Inbento doesn’t agree with this thought process and no hints are available. There were several moments where I was stuck for a solution and I was close to quitting. It’s an area that should be addressed as it would be a shame to miss out on much of the game if you fail to see the solution.
Brilliantly vibrant but needs a shakeup!
This is fantastic to look at. The cutscenes use a cartoon style reminiscent of old-school children’s programs and the fixed screen perspective gives you a clear oversight of the action. Sadly, though, Inbento stagnates slightly as it doesn’t alter much from its opening stages. Yes, it becomes more colourful and new ingredients are added, but; the imagery needed a shakeup to prevent it from becoming repetitive. The food theme is great and the developers should have run with this and created levels using other traditional items.
The atmosphere and emotion are shown beautifully through the soft music that accompanies the gameplay. A change of pace and tone represent more stressful moments and a relaxing soundtrack supports the rest of the action. Its inoffensive nature emphasises the family ethos and creates a calm ambience.
Picking up food has never been so easy!
Though the visuals were repetitive, they helped to ensure that the control system was simple to handle. The fixed-screen enabled you to focus on the puzzles and the clear markers on the blocks made it simple to understand what you were doing. The relaxing gameplay was helped by a lack of time restrictions allowing you to slowly work through each problem. Moving the blocks to their correct location was simply achieved with a combination of button presses. It was user friendly even if the puzzles were tough to overcome.
Though the story is great, there are unfortunately limited reasons to return. The lack of variety and no NG+ mode reduces the desire to return to this. This is compounded further by the simple achievement list that is completed as you run through the game. Fans of the puzzle genre will enjoy each challenge they face, it’s just a shame it doesn’t inspire you to return.
Inbento: The heartwarming game with a tricky and bizarre core!
Inbento’s unique style won’t be for everyone and the lack of dialogue will confuse some and other gamers will dislike the basic style. However, I appreciated its bizarre approach and touching story. The still images were great and allowed me to interpret a unique tale. Some puzzles were tricky and the developers should have added a limited hint system to lend a helping hand. I enjoyed its strange offerings and recommend you to buy it here! Relax, take some time out, and build fond memories with your cat family.