Inkbound is ready to tell its story with its 1.0 update

The latest from Monster Train developer Shiny Shoe is coming out of early access and has taken some big steps forward.

Shiny Shoe

Developer Shiny Shoe has been hard at work on Inkbound for a long time, releasing on Steam Early Access in 2023. After nearly a year, the game is now ready for a 1.0 release and has evolved considerably in that time. Shacknews was invited to check out Inkbound's upcoming release build during this year's Game Developers Conference and the changes were very noticeable.

For those who may not remember our December 2022 preview, Inkbound is a dungeon crawler-style roguelike that takes players to a storybook universe that's being threatened by a mysterious ink-filled force. As one might imagine, the game's lore has been fleshed out considerably. There's a final boss ready to roll and everything, though Shiny Shoe is staying quiet in regards to its official identity, noting that the mystery of the big bad will unfold over the course of the story.

Engaging in turn-based battles in Inkbound 1.0.

Source: Shiny Shoe

To further expand its narrative, Inkbound now has cutscenes and fully voice-acted NPCs. In fact, any interaction with an NPC encountered in the Atheneum library (the game's hub world) or over the course of a run will recite dialogue.

Inkbound's combat has undergone some big changes, as well. It's still rooted in pseudo-turn-based battles, where players are allowed to move around a field of battle before striking with a selected attack. However, the resource system has been revamped considerably following player feedback. Attack and movement are no longer a shared resource. Players can now better plan out their offense and then later use their movement resource separately to try and minimize damage taken from enemy attacks.

Inkbound is still at its best when played with friends. Up to four friends can still jump online and get into short 30-60 minute runs together. Of course, it's not always possible to get friends together and sometimes users will even be away from home. That's why it's exciting to hear that Inkbound is adding an offline mode for solo players who can't connect to the internet for whatever reason. Offline runs will still count toward character progression and player stats will be updated once they reconnect to the internet to play with friends later.

The last thing to note is that Inkbound is adding controller support, which is noteworthy because it means that the game will launch with Steam Deck compatibility. There's more coming to the game that we didn't have time to cover, but interested readers can learn more over on the Inkbound Steam page. Inkbound will exit Steam Early Access on April 10.

This preview is based on an early version of Inkbound's 1.0 update played on-site at the Shiny Shoe headquarters in San Francisco, CA.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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