Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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In this subversive rogue-like deck building point-and-click puzzle horror game (yes, all those descriptors apply!), you battle your way past various bosses, worlds, game mechanics, games interfaces, horror videos, puzzles, and your own sanity in an attempt to get to the other side of whatever it is you are trying to get to the other side of. Please don’t ask me to describe this game.

Inscryption is a such a gem of a game. It manages to communicate what it is all about before you have even made your first move: when opening the game, the only option available on the start screen is ‘continue game’ with ‘new game’ greyed out. The eyebrow-raising never stops from there.

Inscryption is, at its core, a card game not dissimilar to, for example, Magic: the Gathering or Hearthstone. It has a deck-building mechanic that may be familiar to players of Dominion or Slay the Spire.

The game’s first section will take a while to beat, resetting your progress and deck every time you lose. In between runs, however, it is possible to leave the table where you are playing cards and subject the little cabin you are playing in to a thorough inspection, allowing you to complete puzzles to improve your deck, and, ultimately, progress beyond the first stage.

Once you do, you will find that Inscryption is not just one card game, but an unholy amalgamation of no less than four different deck-building card games glued together by a story told through found footage videos. I will not describe more, because I don’t want to spoil all the twists and surprises.

Inscryption has fun gameplay that, in itself, would merit a positive review. But what makes the game really interesting, is that it plays with the concept of a ‘video game’ in a way that reminded me of The Stanley Parable. It tries to – and succeeds at – reaching beyond the screen and grabbing the player itself, with bizarre elements such as cards talking to you to evaluate your plays as you make them and an army of flying bears beating you to death if you do too well.

Inscryption is a mad vision of a game, but one that constantly pulled me in and that made me want to go home from work early to figure it out. I would 100% recommend it to anyone familiar with Magic-style card games or lovers of the subversive type of game that fucks with your mind.

My only gripes with Inscryption are that at times it does a poor job of explaining game mechanics and that the user interface is often a bit janky. But then, given the amount of different games, interfaces and mechanics in the game, we really shouldn’t judge it too harshly for that.

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