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Inked: A Tale Of Love Review (Switch eShop)

In the current era of impressive development tools and talented studios of all sizes, there can only be download games that are as eye-catching as those on a budget while focusing on a small, carefully constructed experience. Inked: A Tale of Love is a great example of what small but talented creative teams can achieve, taking a leap from Apple Arcade and remembering the beautiful variety of the Switch eShop library.

Inked: A Tale of Love uses a hand-drawn style not just for visual panache, but as a fundamental part of the story. You play a hero who first tries to solve a mystery of suffering animals and then goes in search of his true love. It is cleverly told with a narrator who is more than he seems, along with a fourth breakthrough in the wall for added effect. It’s a simple but carefully told story with impressive beats that will make you think twice about some action.

The gameplay itself is relatively simple and perhaps highlights the origins of the game on smart devices. You’ll work your way through multiple environments and chapters from an isometric perspective, looking for hidden paintings, and solving a variety of puzzles. These are great for the most part, with new mechanics and ideas constantly evolving to keep things interesting. There are a puzzle or two that felt a little flawed to execute, but the vast majority are clever and fun to solve.

This is a relatively short experience, lasting a few hours, but feels like the time has been pretty well invested. There is fantastic audio design with a great soundtrack and well spoken narration. It’s visually captivating too, and not so much mimicking hand-drawn ink art than actually seeing the part. Somewhat rare for a Switch game, there are also visual quality settings with three variations from low to high. At the highest setting there are occasional moments of slowing down and stuttering, but we definitely went for “high”; However, being able to choose is a nice touch.

As the credits roll in, you will likely still find some hidden paintings, and even if you leave them behind, it is a consistently pleasant and satisfying experience on Nintendo’s system. With smart puzzles, a beautiful presentation, and a story full of emotional moments, Inked: A Tale of Love is worth your time.

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