Review: Inscryption

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But what’s up his sleeve?

I recently had to describe the concept of pony island to someone. What I ended up saying was, “It’s a game about being in a toxic friendship with Satan.” It was an experimental title in terms of storytelling, mostly taking place on a single screen and layering on top of the deception. As you take it all out, things start to make sense, and that creates a strong sense of satisfaction as all the pieces start to fit together.

So I guess I can’t blame developer Daniel Mullens for sticking with this. Encryption is this. You’re faced with a situation that’s easy to figure out, but you can instantly tell there are bugs below the surface, and if you just grab the dog-eared corner and shoot, you’ll be treated to a new perspective. .

General Gameplay Encryption

Encryption (PC)
Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
Editor: Devolver Digital
Released: October 19, 2021
MSRP: $ 19.99

You find yourself locked in a cabin with a dark gentleman. Like a relationship hungry table player, he immediately forces you to join him in a competitive card game. The blink of an eye is when you lose you die.

Encryption, at least from the get-go, is sort of a cross between a CCG, a deck-building game, and a tabletop RPG. You progress from encounter to encounter along a map, collecting cards, and defeating bosses played by the game master. There is clever roguelite progression that comes from exploring the cabin and resolving issues. ‘puzzles. This gives you access to more maps and engravings that allow you to slide further and further down the map.

Honestly, I think the atmosphere and gameplay could have taken the whole game away. Developing strategies to overcome the random nature of the game was satisfying, and I didn’t feel like a lame duck just because the game gave me everything I didn’t want. My most powerful hand turned against me, and when I finally finished knocking down the boss, it was with a fairly below-par deck outweighed by my highly developed gamer brain.

I’m not sure how appropriate it is to describe the game. Marketing material only shows the first part of the game. Encryption with brief hints that there is something beyond that, but I can’t just pretend that’s all there is. It’s almost too much to tell you he’s wearing a skirt and you’re going to get him. Do I tell you what you are going to see? No, I guess I’ll just let you know if you’re going to enjoy the view.

Yeah. Probably. Most. I’ll be honest, the first phase of the game was my favorite, but it’s not like everything has been ditched in favor of a completely different experience. The base game remains the same, but it has four layered changes that change things up quite a bit. Like Registration progresses, its flavor changes. The atmosphere is changing. Graphics change. It’s just enough to discourage you, but not so much that you have to start over.

Inscryption Carver and sculptures

If you’ve sensed a bit of cynicism on my part when it comes to the plot, it’s just because I think it takes more than the wrong direction to tell an interesting story. Do Encryption succeed in presenting something behind his deception? It’s okay, yeah.

While the progression remains mystifying and cryptic, at its core it presents a decent story about a power struggle between four bored creators. You find yourself stuck in the middle of it, swept away by the undercurrents. Technically, you play as a named character trying to unravel this mystery, which is possibly the weakest part of the tale, but easily overlooked.

It has its share of mundane story mechanics. It is built on the whole idea of ​​the “haunted game”. Try to be surprised when it is pulled from your Steam friends list or asks you to select a file on your hard drive. Again with cynicism, but it’s honestly entertaining, even though it feels so completely in the script that it comes out of the script like that. Encryption the trick works well as a mechanic, so even if you’ve seen this sort of thing before, it’s not entirely out of place.

Inscryption Large circulation

Really the best parts of Encryption are when you have to fathom the margins. Whenever you have the opportunity to stand up and look around, there are plenty of fun puzzles for you to solve, many of which reward you with extremely useful cards and tools. You can also grab some of the game’s backstory if you browse enough. There is just something satisfying about wandering around a dark cabin, solving escape puzzles.

Make no mistake, however, the only way to progress is to win at cards. All the puzzle solvers are here to help you strengthen your deck. Also to add ambiance. Maybe to scare you a little.

Speaking of goosebumps, the graphics are masterful. The ubiquitous use of darkness and the pixel filter works well for 3D sections. Low fidelity adds spooky value to already muddy visuals. It does a great job of framing everything and making sure you can only see what you’re meant to see. It can sometimes feel like a pixel hunt when looking in the dark for something clickable, but it communicates the important things reasonably.

Card

My prediction is that Encryption will be somewhat divided. I can see a lot of people get excited when, after their bath has finally reached a comfortable temperature, a bucket of ice is thrown into the water.

It was like that for me. I was deeply engrossed until the game rocked for the first time and then I fell in love. I reconciled before the end, but still felt like I was playing a few similar games of different quality. Maybe it was a good idea to turn things around before they had a chance to get stale, it’s just nothing gripped me as firmly as the first chapter.

Having said that, I enjoyed Encryption. Part of me is tempted to dive back in to see if I can extract more secrets from its cracks. Really, this is where he excels: not the wrong orientation, but the hidden crawl spaces where he hides all the bodies. At best, you feel like you are discovering a deeper plot. At worst, you have the impression of watching a magician pull handkerchiefs out of his sleeve. It’s cool, I guess, but you know they’re kidding you.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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