Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Bendy and the Ink Machine: Dreams Come To Life Review


It’s time to look at the Bendy novel that came out a while back. The first Bendy game was definitely a lot of fun with how atmospheric it was. There was always just a lot happening and everything had a second meaning of some kind. The spooky atmosphere is really what helped make the game so good and it’ll be hard for the second game to match it. Well, the book is a way to bridge the gap and it actually has some important information so I’d recommend giving it a shot. It really turns up by the end as any good horror book should.

The book follows a kid named Buddy. He has grown up in a fairly poor neighborhood where everyone struggles to make enough to stay in their houses and get food. It’s just Buddy and his Mom, but they’ve done well enough so far. That’s when Buddy meets up with Joey Drew and somehow manages to get a job at the Bendy art studio. As someone who has always wanted to draw, this is perfect for Buddy. Joey is pretty eccentric and quickly seems to forget he hired Buddy, but the kid is just glad to be making a steady wage. He even becomes friends with a girl named Dot who also works there. Unfortunately this studio may be hiding something sinister within. Will Buddy have to risk his life for this job?

There’s really only one thing that holds this book back from being solid all around. That’s…Buddy. He’s the worst book main character that I’ve ever seen (Not counting light novels) and he just never becomes a good character. He’s surprisingly mean to his grandpa throughout the book and is always super defensive. I don’t even totally understand why Buddy was always so petty. They hint it’s something about his being Polish and catholic or something but the book doesn’t delve into it and I’m not so briefed on foreign policy that I was able to pick up on it. Maybe if I thought about it more but it didn’t even seem relevant to the book all that much so I don’t know why Buddy was always getting steamed. Couple that with the fact that he isn’t very smart and super timid and you’ve got a truly terrible combo.

Dot is nice enough to be his friend and he always gives her a hard time. Then you have the fact that he allows everyone to drag him along for a ride. Joey tricking Buddy into paying for dinner was the single worst scene in the book because his family really needed the money and Buddy didn’t think about that. It’s definitely surprising that Joey would have him pay, but Buddy should have taken no chances. He should have been celebrating such a big day with his family, not with his boss. This came back to bite him rather quickly. Buddy also tends to be quite dramatic through the narration and isn’t even a reliable one. He admits towards the end of the book that he isn’t even sure how much of this is real since he may have mixed up events. Yeah….Buddy’s no good.

Beyond that the book does a good job of slowly building up the tension. There are some fake jump scares at the beginning of the book but eventually we start to get some real horror in there. It starts off pretty subtly as things just don’t add up or you see some shadows. Of course part of it is Buddy literally jumping at shadows, but it can get very real. Right off the bat I can tell you that the book ends on a high note. The ending is quite solid and makes for an exciting climax. It’s really a great payoff that helps make the rest of the book succeed as well. This is the kind of book where a weak climax would have hurt quite a lot. I don’t want an ambiguous ending that tries to stay realistic instead of being like the game. The Bendy game showed us that the dangers are quite real so I’m glad that the book embraced that.

I haven’t read a lot of books lately, but it’s always good to get back into them because they really do help you jump into another world. Not having any images really lets you make up the pictures yourself and visualize everything without assistance. In a way that’s probably what helps make the immersion so complete and powerful. This book is certainly as interesting as any other that I’ve read. With a better main character it would be able to hit the next level but as it stands I definitely had a good time.

I talked about Buddy a lot, but we do get a few other characters. First up is Dot who is a solid heroine. She’s always thinking ahead and doesn’t mind pushing the rules a bit in order to satisfy her curiosity. She isn’t just about to accept things as true just because someone told her that this was the case. Her persistence is solid and she is also willing to put her life in jeopardy to solve a case even if Buddy is too scared. Her attitude of not wanting to beat around the bush with pleasantries the way everyone else does is also admirable.

Then you’ve got Joey Drew who is shown to be rather absent minded the whole time. You can see the chinks in his psyche early on though. The guy definitely appears to be a little corrupt and also close minded which is surprising for an artist. Of course we don’t know if the guy can really draw, I’ve got my doubts. Sammy is also around and he’s pretty insane like in the first game. He’s always doing something crazy but it’s tough to deal with him because the heroes don’t know if he’s insane in a quirky way or a dangerous one. If you wait too long with someone like that you won’t know until it’s too late.

Buddy’s Mom is a good character although she also keeps too many secrets. Not telling Buddy that the grandfather was coming over was a bit last second. It’s not like she should need to let him know, but a heads up would certainly help him not panic the way that he did. Buddy is quite jumpy after all. As for the grandfather, it’s not his fault that he doesn’t know a lot of English but it does make his scenes a bit annoying at times. He loves to beat around the bush and takes Buddy on a journey before getting to the answer. Heading to Buddy’s job was a bad move though because it really got Buddy into trouble and he could have been fired for something like that.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this book out. If you haven’t played the Bendy game or are unsure of how you would enjoy it, then you should read this book. If anything it makes sense to read this book before you play the game because it’s just a great introduction to the game. The book takes place before the game as well so it makes sense to do the prequel first. It’ll also make you look at the game a lot closer. The book really does a great job of expanding the franchise. So long as you can get past Buddy you’ll be in for an enjoyable adventure here.

Overall 6/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Bendy and the Ink Machine: Employee Handbook Review


It’s time to look at the Bendy guidebook that came out a while back. I like the angle of calling it an Employee Handbook as it guides you through the inner workings of the company. The first half of the book is basically a walkthrough of the game and then the second half gives you illustrations, concept art, and fun facts. It’s a fun way to learn more about the universe of Bendy. Also if you missed out on a lot of the audio tapes like me you get to see them all here which is pretty cool.

It’s been a long while since I’ve written a book review and this one doesn’t technically have a plot so it’s definitely a nice way to jump back in. There’s really nothing negative to say about the book because it does a really good job of getting you the information you need. The writer had a lot of fun with the script here as there are a bunch of inside jokes. Things take a sinister turn now and then with the narrarator always having a passive aggressive tone. They let you know that taking vacations is not going to happen here and double down on the fact that you should be really happy at the job.

You learn through clippings and employee quotes that most of them aren’t getting paid for the overtime they put in. Additionally they have to work in a very noisy environment and there is a ton of office gossip. It sounds like Drew really got more and more corrupt as time went on. He didn’t even give too much credit to the guy who built the amusement park for Bendy. As the book goes on you really see how the whole thing spiraled out of control. I think all of the blame can really fall to Joey here though. He seemed to know or at least suspect that something wasn’t up but did nothing to stop it. He pit employees against each other and kept making the work conditions worse until something had to give. His special projects also ate away at all of the organization’s budget until it naturally had to go under.

Sammy definitely seems like the diciest person on the staff. He appeared to be losing his mind early on so it doesn’t even come as a surprise when he goes off the deep end. His appearance was one of the most powerful moments of the whole game though and I was a little sad that we didn’t get more development for him in the book. He’s a pivotal figure and while this is the kind of series where we likely will never get all of the answers, it will still be cool to learn a little more about him.

I did learn how to draw Bendy at the end of the book which was pretty cool. I didn’t try to draw his partners yet since they seem a little more complex but I’ll add that to the bucket list. It’s a nice little addition that I’m glad made it into the book. I also took a look at the bacon soup recipe which sounds reasonable, but I’m not a big soup fan so I’ll probably skip on that. I feel like I’m not a big fan of soup because I like my food to be solid. It would explain why pudding and jello don’t really rank for me either. I’ll eat em all of course, but they aren’t my first choice.

There’s not much else to say here but I’m ready for that Bendy sequel. I know they are saying it’s not a total sequel in some ways, but I really hope it is. Maybe that’ll be some kind of plot twist. Really the game doesn’t even need to answer any plot questions, I’m just ready to learn more about the time loop and fighting off Bendy a little more. It’s impressive how many theory videos there are about Bendy. That’s the kind of following you get when the writing is on point and you build such an interesting lore into the game.

Overall, The Employee Handbook is a pretty fun book to read through. It’s definitely helpful for trying to get the Platinum in the Bendy game since they show you all the collectible locations and give you tips along the way. You could even read it as you play through the game although I wouldn’t recommend it since part of the experience is experiencing everything first hand. The book would spoil some aspects for you if you’re doing both simultaneously. Even if you don’t buy the game it’s a pretty interesting look at the back-end and maybe it’ll even convince you to buy the game. It’ll definitely have succeeded in a major way if that’s the case.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bendy and The Ink Machine Review


It’s time to take a look at my first ever horror game. I may have played some other games that could be considered to be part horror like Scooby Doo, but none that go all the way like this one. Bendy is definitely an impressive game. It throws in a lot of intense visuals and a dark story without having to resort to over the top levels of violence. It really is quite impressive and this is definitely a game that I would recommend checking out. It has certainly done a good job of really making a name for itself and now I’m ready for the next game. (Even if it isn’t a direct sequel)

The plot of the game follows a guy named Henry as he heads back to his old workplace after having left a long time ago. The whole place seems pretty far gone but he wants to figure out what his old pal Joey wanted to show him. Unfortunately he is then knocked out and may not be able to get out as easily as he thought. The workplace is now filled with beings of darkness and they all want to destroy him. If he gets out of this alive he’ll definitely have some words for Joey, but in the meantime he’s going to make sure to clock in and keep a calm head at all times.

Henry is definitely one of the bravest characters you’ll ever see. It’s almost to the point where it’ll actually take you out of the experience for a few seconds because this guy just isn’t afraid of anything. He keeps a monotone voice throughout the game even when he is being directly threatened. The guy just doesn’t get phased. While it is just gameplay mechanics for him to talk about getting paid for this and clocking in, it does make the save feature pretty memorable and certainly a lot of fun. Henry is the kind of character that you want to lead the team because he is charismatic.

The gameplay is that of a 1st person shooter without the shooting. Effectively most of the game is about investigating various rooms and areas to meet objectives. These objectives range from pulling levers to beating enemies. When you are holding a weapon you can swing away at the villains which is always pretty fun. The gameplay isn’t focused on the combat mechanics though so there aren’t many of them. It’s really just one swing so make sure you get used to it. There are also puzzles here, but none of them are all that annoying. Once you’ve played some of the puzzles you’ll start knowing what to expect as the game goes on.

It took me around 4 and a half hours to beat the game. Online I see that the average was 3 so this is actually one time where it took me a lot longer to beat it than the average player. That’s fine, it’s definitely not a game that you want to be rushing through anyway. There are a lot of little easter eggs all around the place and collectibles to nab. Listening to the audio recordings will help you get a better picture of the plot and story inside of the game as well. The Platinum trophy for this game doesn’t seem all that hard but you will need to play the game at least twice. I feel like the toughest trophy is definitely going to be trying to get all of the bacon soup cans though. There are just so many of them throughout the game and there is no way to see how many there are. Be prepared to play for quite a bit if you want to truly 100% the game.

As mentioned, this is a horror game so the atmosphere is clear. Fortunately this is an area that the game has on point right from the start. The factory that the lead is in is very dark and mysterious. You’re going to see a whole lot of creepy visuals throughout as Bendy and the other villains utterly wreck anyone who comes inside. It’s the kind of game where the Youtube theory videos will definitely have a field day. There’s a whole lot to unpack here and you could write essays on almost any part of the plot. I definitely enjoyed the story a lot and I’m sure you will as well. The ending of the game is perfect and there are definitely a lot of ways you can follow up on this title.

As for the characters, we’ve got a few of them running around. Naturally one of the big ones is Bendy and he is definitely a highlight. Due to the nature of the game he doesn’t appear a lot until near the end, but his scenes are definitely memorable. He’s got a great character design and makes for a solid antagonist. Then you’ve got Boris who is pretty much a Goofy homage. That guy’s probably the worst of the ink supporting characters because he’s always acting nervous and ultimately gets wrecked. He never really put up a good fight. Then you’ve got the Angel(s) who are definitely very solid. Don’t want to spoil anything with these characters, but the duality of the Angel definitely makes for a powerful role. Then you’ve got Tom who definitely doesn’t like Henry at all. The guy’s got a real axe to grind in more ways than one. Ultimately you’ll have to wonder if this guy is really trust worthy anyway.

Sammy is another big villain and he’s intense because the guy is the first big villain to show up. He commands respect and makes for a good boss fight. I like his design and the guy’s just an interesting villain. There’s also a camera enemy how is pretty tough although not Bendy level. I was actually able to defeat him the first time I ran into the guy which was pretty cool. I exploited an area that was too small for him and just kept whacking away at the guy until he went down. Trust me, that felt pretty satisfying since for the most part these guys are always kicking you around. The boss fights were definitely handled very well.

Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is very impressive. There are a lot of really solid tunes here. They definitely help to amplify the setting through and through. You need good music to really complete the world and Bendy had that on point. The graphics are also important and definitely work very well. I played about half of the game during the daytime and half at night. It’s definitely best to play at night, but works either way. This game really knows how to properly handle the jump scares and it left big shoes for the follow-up entry. We’ll see if it can match up to this one.

Overall, Bendy and the Ink Machine is one of those games that you might not have heard of before, but it’s worth taking the plunge. It’s an excellent game that is also quite original. You won’t think even for a second that this one is trying to copy another title. It’s going for a fresh take and that’s always what you want to see. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for the sequel even if i do wish it would come out as a full game right away and not using the chapter system that everyone seems to love nowadays. Be prepared for the array of jump scares!

Overall 8/10