It is a rare day that a game comes along that completely surprises and delights me like Inscryption has. This game, which will remain mysterious despite this review, is both complex and simple, beautiful yet basic, fun and baffling and altogether a genuinely brilliant creation.
Cards from a standard deck are collected as the game progresses, and resource cards are automatically added to add points towards drawing cards. At the basic level the goal is to damage your opponent enough before they take you out, but Inscryption adds so much more depth.
Pegged as a card-based odyssey that blends deckbuilding roguelike, escape-room style puzzles, and psychological horror, Inscryption is a tough game to describe further. The core and consistent part of the game is the card battles that occur through all the (very) different acts.
This is a roguelike, so as the game is explored not only are more cards discovered, including ones that talk (so very cool) but cards can be upgraded and items can be collected till you die, and then only certain permanent items carry over. The way it is implemented is so interesting and at times macabre, with a knife being one item that plays a particularly prominent and grotesque part of the narrative.
The card game initially feels quite shallow but as sentient cards are found (there are only a handful of those) and cards are upgraded or sacrificed, the depth comes out, in particular when the varied boss card battles occur. These always have two phases and are universally amazing, especially how the bosses are represented, which I will not spoil.
The first act is well publicized and has other elements on top of the card battles, such as overland exploration, and puzzle room aspects as the starting cabin is explored. The puzzles are clever and tough enough to take some time and the exploration is actually reminiscent of Curse of the Dead Gods with branching paths featuring varied rewards and challenges.
Saying anything past the opening act, and even discussing the craziness that occurs even in the first portion of the game, would be a disservice to anyone trying the game fresh. Inscryption even blocks screenshots so the oddities and twists are not easily shareable. It is frankly brilliant.
The story as it progresses is creepy, walls between realities get broken and the game gets flipped on its head more than once, but it is so good to experience. Daniel Mullens Games have made something here that is an almost transcendent videogame experience.
Inscryption is ridiculously fun, amazing to look at, constantly surprising and has a depth that is hard to describe but such a pleasure to experience. This is an Indie game that I think literally everyone should try if just to experience this amazing piece of videogame art.