『Inscryption』The game was released. I played. It was a great game. Was funny. I want everyone to buy it and play with it.
…… Originally, I should stop writing with this. Because talking about “Inscryption” in public seems to be contraindicated. But alas, I’m a writer. It is a race that has a sexuality that makes it inevitable to write emotions around us. Therefore, this prohibition is broken. If you haven’t played “Inscryption” yet, please go to the official homepage now to buy and play this game. You should understand what I mean. The reason why I couldn’t help writing it like this.
This article is a review by the author who played “Inscryption”. It’s a creepy moan of a human being who couldn’t suppress the urge that springs up from the bottom of his heart.
Summary of works
“Inscryption” is a psychological horror game released by Devolver Digital on October 20th. It is characterized by incorporating elements of card games. Daniel Mullins Games was in charge of the development. It is known that he has continued to send works called “Kaisaku” to the world, such as “The Hex” on “Pony Island”. It is already compatible with Japanese, and the translation was done by Kashibashi Games.
* The following spoilers about the contents of “Inscryption” are probably included.
Not a roguelike card game, not a deck-building card puzzle, not an exploratory adventure, ARG
If you look at the PV of this work, you can see “a map with squares and branches” and “a card game played on the board”. At first glance, you will get the impression that it is a dungeon crawl type card game that incorporates roguelike elements such as “Slay the Spire”. However, that is just one aspect of this work. It’s just one of several “card game rules” presented by the game.
Inscryption presents the rules of an alternative competitive card game that alternates with the progress of the game. Players must respond to this by building a deck from the card pool and achieving the goals set through the battle.
However, it is hard to say that the contents are sophisticated even with one rule of “roguelike card game”. There are few cards in the prepared card pool that form attractive synergies, and the bosses that appear in each stage have a clear way of winning. If you’re lucky, you may get enough items and cards to instantly break the rules. Instead of building a deck full of originality and struggling to win, it is settled down to a simple content like a jigsaw puzzle, searching for answers that mesh with each question presented. This puzzle-like content tendency is also common to “other card game rules”.
But in the first place, the card game element in Inscryption isn’t a big part of the game. This work is equipped with point-and-click type search and puzzle-solving elements in advance, and the game itself will progress only after clearing this. This is why the card game element is settled in the position of the key required to unlock the search target and search location, and the contents are relatively simple so that the contents can be easily cleared.
As you complete the card game puzzles where the rules change, and repeat the search, the player eventually reaches the mysterious live-action video, the discomfort that drifts throughout the work, and the innermost part of this work. “Inscryption” is neither a deck-building card puzzle nor an exploratory adventure, but an ARG (alternate reality game) that explores the mystery of “why a cursed game existed”, including the out-of-game part. It becomes clear that it was there. Volunteers are currently in the process of capturing the game on Official Discord, and the codes and Easter eggs hidden inside and outside the game are being cracked.
Expansion of the game scale that can be done without discomfort
The great point of “Inscryption” is that it expands the game scale many times as the game progresses, which can be said to be the creator’s “performance output” and “design power”, in an extremely natural way with narratives involved. At the point. The virtuosity of the production seen in the past work has been further refined. The game begins with a roguelike card game that “completes with a desk and chair,” but suddenly it becomes possible to “stand up” and explore the studio. Eventually, the situation surrounding the player changed to the rule of card game adventure, which is a fusion of card games and “exploring the wide world.” After traversing the world of diverse game rules, the final area to explore shifts outside the game to “the reality we live in.” At the same time, the live-action video, which was seen as a mere horror production, transforms into a hint to solve the mystery of the birth of “Inscryption”.
The game design of “Inscryption”, where the stage of the game expands from desks and chairs to reality, is a metafictional element such as “the battle for the role of the game master in the game” and “why such a game exists”. It matches the story that involves the story, and the change of rules and the expansion of the world view function very effectively as a production of the mountains in the story. The story itself that unfolds in the game is also sadly beautiful, with the sadness of the in-game character interwoven with criticisms of “creating works that tend to impose fun” and “in-game bizarre acts.” It is finished in the contents.
The creation of objects and sound effects is also wonderful. Different card textures and visuals for each rule. Beautiful dots, crisp, yet surprisingly surprising painting. One of the difficulties of the story about metafiction is that “the production that makes the player aware of the difference between the game world and the reality hinders the immersion in the work”, but in the world view and the work constructed with particular attention. The good tempo that drifts draws the player firmly into the work even if the stage and rules are changed many times, and keeps the game play smoothly and naturally.
Personally, I also feel that it is an interesting attempt to set the final landing point in the storytelling of this work as ARG. Because, in ARG where one player must be sent to virtual reality as a preliminary preparation for playing, “at the time of playing, the boundary between the recipient’s reality and virtual can be blurred” “creating a world view and story” It seems that it makes a lot of sense to adopt the means of “entering” computer games as a rabbit hole. Then, “Inscryption” may have been produced by ARG in advance.
The quality of the ARG itself of this work is not so high from the time of rule setting, such as “the deadline for capture is not specified” and “I do not know how far the investigation range can be expanded”, but ARG itself I felt that the method of incorporating computer games as an admission fee or as a substitute for pamphlets could further evolve as entertainment.
Advance warning and spoiler balance
On the contrary, the difficulty of “Inscryption” is that the storytelling method of this work does not match the promotion being carried out at the time of writing this article. One of the real thrills is the surprise that “card games weren’t the main game” and “it didn’t end with a desk and chair”, so there was a mismatch with consumers who were purely looking for card game main content. I’m sure you’ve done it. In fact, Steam, which sells this work, has received user reviews that criticize the advertising method.
This is a very difficult problem. Advance warnings and spoiler balances are also hot topics in the game arena. For example, the adventure game “Doki Doki Literature Club!” Released in 2017 had “hidden” a bizarre depiction as one of the real thrills of its work, but it was renewed in 2021. “Pounding literary club plus!” When it was released as “Psychological Horror”, it was advertised as “Psychological Horror” from the beginning. In addition, there are options such as advance warning for grotesque depictions in the work. The way the work is shown has changed significantly.
The loop-type mystery “12 Minutes” released in the same year has many violent depictions in the work, and because it adopts loops, players can show and experience it endlessly until they clear the game. There is also a mystery-solving gimmick that makes use of the terrible violence in this work. This content was criticized as “why did not give advance warning”. The reason is that the publisher cites that the rating of this work is for people over 17 years old (ESRB M rating).
Surprise is not something that everyone can enjoy. Especially if the content is shocking. Still, it cannot be avoided. It can be said that it is an extremely egoistic and selfish act. On the other hand, it is certain that the pleasure and excitement that the existence of “unexpected” brings, as if it stimulated intellectual desire, is really hard to obtain. Nowadays, creators are actively communicating with players through SNS and other media. If you have any doubts about the situation in Inscryption, please let us know from the official Discord. One way is to continue to dialectically update the form through interaction with the recipient.
That is all for the review of this work. “Inscryption” will undoubtedly be one of the representatives of the year.
The tricky game design idea that shines with Daniel Mullins’ personality, the story prepared to realize it, and the gimmick that makes you want to share the topic about the work are well meshed, and it is highly unique and interesting. Is creating. The translation by Bridge Games is also wonderful without any discomfort. Unfortunately, when I participated in ARG, I wasn’t living in the United States (I wanted to go digging a floppy disk), and my English ability was low. I want to improve enough to communicate with people without difficulty.