App Army Assemble: Inked - Does this beautiful puzzler's story draw you in?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Inked - Does this beautiful puzzler's story draw you in?
| Inked

Inked is a gorgeous puzzler with a pen and ink art style. It follows a ronin referred to simply as The Nameless One as he searches for his lost love, Aiko. The visuals are certain to catch most people's attention but beautiful graphics don't always make for an excellent game, so handed Inked over to our App Army to see if the puzzles are on par with the aesthetic.

Here's what they said:

Ed Davis

A very pretty and engaging game. The hand-drawn art style is one thing that keeps you playing, and the simple, yet elegant puzzles, are the other. Virtual joysticks, for me, never work well. They are clunky and inaccurate. Inked fortunately takes on a point and click method which is much more suited to the touch screen. The way you interact with the puzzles has been well thought out so that the controls don’t become a frustration here. A nice little puzzle game that I would highly recommend.

Rohit Bhatia

Oh boy, this game had me drooling over the beautiful graphics which are hand-drawn and look fantastic with the smooth animations. The controls were simple as just tap to move and interact with any objects. The puzzles were simple enough to do and a bit challenging as we progress through the whole game but not frustrating. The story is good and keeps you intact in what's going on. There are pictures that are scattered throughout the chapter which I believe are pretty hard to find. My main problem with it was my phone heated up so much I had to stop playing and give my phone a breather after just completing Prologue and Chapter 1. Puzzle fans will love this and I recommend it.

Paul Manchester

Instantly striking graphically and with some beautiful animations. The controls are simple and work really well, even with my fat fingers it was easy to direct the character to carry out the correct movement and actions. It’s nice when a game can have both style and substance, happily this game delivers with clever puzzles and an engaging well-narrated story. Whilst none of the game mechanics are going to set the world on the fire, it’s overall quality will keep puzzle genre fans happy. I’m not too far in at the moment but can’t wait to explore this stylish puzzler some more.

Oksana Ryan

This is a game that really impressed me. There is a narrator unfolding the story of a couple who set off on a quest to find an evil force who has harmed their 'feathered friend'. in order to progress they have to move objects to reach levers or to climb to higher ground.

To be fair there isn't anything in the actual mechanics of the game that make it dramatically different to any other games in the genre, but what I loved the most was the amazing drawings. Each scene was a well-drawn sketch seamlessly moving forward and by far the main attraction of the game. With the well-balanced challenge of the tasks and the excellent drawing, I would definitely recommend this game.

Armaan Modi

Inked is a story-based puzzler with ballpoint pen graphics. We are required to solve the puzzles to make the way for the characters to progress through the world and the story. Inked features good looking and detailed graphics, as between puzzles, character movements are shown by way of precise animations instead of cutscenes. The controls can be difficult as the objects we interact with can get hidden under the finger but there are multiple ways to move objects and there is also controller support.

The game makes use of haptics when pushing objects (which can be disabled) which is a nice touch. The puzzles I found in chapter 3 were similar in mechanics and were satisfying. The game also features the essentials like cloud save, achievements and graphics settings. I liked the time I spent on Inked and I recommend it.


Let’s just start this with a simple statement, Inked is a great game. When all boiled to its basics, it’s an isometric viewed puzzle game with the world you play in looking like it was actually drawn on the screen with a fine ballpoint pen. It's simplistic yet complex looking but never bland or drab. You make your way through the levels by pulling, pushing or moving objects and summoning some items you need by your character creating them, like they were being added to the drawing.

The story is multileveled, there is an artist drawing the game world to tell the story as if it were a comic, and sometimes he will interact with the world you are playing in where you see his hands move across the screen, drawing items or causing an effect to happen, and there is a narrator, describing the artist and the playable character's actions, all this is set to a sombre soundtrack that compliments then game perfectly with controls that are functional and don’t get in the way. This is one of those rare games I will look to complete as the sound, visuals and storytelling are engaging and makes you want to play on.

Swapnil Jadhav

Adventure story-based puzzle game with beautiful graphics. this game is a perfect example of controls in a touch screen game. Such intuitive controls are perfect for a game with an isometric top-down view.

Massimo Saraconi

So, I’m playing Inked and enjoying it so much, the pen/pencil art style is amazing, the puzzles are really clever, the characters and story are pretty good and the controls are fine, but what I liked the most is the eastern Japanese background and sounds, love that kind of environment since the old C64 days when we were happy playing games like The Way of the Exploding Fist (speaking of background, not mechanics), so this is for me a must-have at the moment for all those who search for good puzzles and a beautiful story set in a Japanese background.

Harry Birnbaum

In addition to what others have said it’s atmospheric with funny bits like including the artist in the game with his memories and his hands, I like that there is no time limit but once you start playing there are no other buttons on-screen to access game features and getting your avatar to let go of the blue brick after positioning it carefully and then dragging it instead of dropping it can take several tries, same with ramps where I click to hold and having it jump all over the place.

Another thing is I am always having to swap between programs and when I go back to the game it reloads making me have to replay most of the level. I’d have more to say but I’ve been stuck at one puzzle and can’t get past it.

Jason Rosner

Inked is the type of game that makes me fall in love with what’s capable from the mobile platform. I’ve been a gamer for a long time and I appreciate games that take a chance on creating something new. I absolutely adore the gorgeous art style of Inked. And even though graphics don’t always make a game, here they lay a foundation that sets up everything from the narrative down to creating these unique, subtle moments that stand out as you are playing - such as seeing an artist hand-painting actions on screen.

Inked is a puzzler presented by these drawings made by a narrator as you live out the story of a “Nameless Hero” on a journey in the name of love, loss, and hope. The game starts you off with a tutorial to help familiarize you with the controls and overall feel of the gameplay. About ten chapters follow and you have the ability to save your progress in the cloud so you can always come back to where you left off. The puzzles never present you with too hard a challenge, but this purposefully works for a game that has a story to tell.

Mike Lisagor

I really like Inked. It doesn’t try to be more than what it is. It’s an adventure puzzler with a beautiful story. The puzzles are fairly straightforward and the controls work well. You tap to move where you want to go, and another tap on an object can move it. Along the way, there are hidden art pieces in each level that may entice you to come back to find them all. I am having a very hard time finding them, to the point where I don’t really want to discover them all. I am normally a perfectionist so this bothers me a bit. Despite this, Inked is easy to recommend for anyone who is looking for a non-stressful adventure game that is enjoyable to play.

Mark Abukoff

I’ve grown a little weary of the Monument Valley type puzzlers, but Inked is a winner. It’s a gorgeously drawn game and world of shapes and movements with a simple (so far) but engaging story about a retired Samurai on a quest to help his love. Controls are simple and effective on my screen. The subtle musical score is a lovely backdrop to the ballpoint pen-based drawings. The voice-over is quiet and soothing, and the simple characters are imbued with more life than most in this genre and I’m looking forward to completing the journey. So far I’ve found the puzzles to be engaging without being so difficult as to be frustrating. Easily recommend this beautiful and thoughtful title.

Chad Jones

Inked is a really gorgeous hand-drawn puzzle game with similar gameplay to Monument Valley. You play a retired Samurai hanging up his sword to help a friend. I love the visuals, it really does look like your playing someone's illustrated drawing. The narrator does a great job (not Bastion quality though) and I love the way they implement his hands drawing the story every so often.

As far as the puzzles go, I completed 3 chapters (so far) and haven't really been stumped by the puzzles so if you're a die-hard puzzle fan you may find it a bit too easy. I don't play puzzle games too often and really I was so captivated by the visuals that I didn't care. I definitely will be coming back to this to finish it.

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