Inscryption: Foretold in the cards or torn to pieces? (OPINION)
May 3, 2022
The year is 2011, and vlogging (video blogging) has become all the rage on YouTube. People adorned themselves with hot hue-colored clothes and dip-dyed their hair. The iPhone 4S was the newest model on the block.
This setting is the time period where the horror video game “Inscryption” takes place. “Inscryption,” released Oct. 19, 2021, flew under the radar of most reviewers and players. However, the game is a must-play for horror and mystery fans alike.
“The first time you boot up “Inscryption,” you’ll find the “New Game” option grayed out; you can only choose “Continue.” This is a small hint about the larger mystery running through (and outside) the game,” said Jenna Stoeber, video producer at Polygon.
The game has players take control of Luke Carter, going by the name “The Lucky Carder,” who is a card reviewer and vlogger. After mysteriously receiving a digital version of his favorite card game “Inscryption,” Luke begins to play it and sees the horrors unfold. Players must play different cards of animals to outwit the Game Master who sits in the shadows. The various cards have different stats, like health, attack and sigils. Creating a strategy has never been more fun, as players experiment with different cards to see what works and what does not.
“I called it (Inscryption) “an inky black card-based odyssey,” and that’s maybe spicing it up a little bit. You play a lot of cards, that’s the main thing in it, but you also go on a strange adventure,” said Daniel Mullins, creator of “Inscryption.”
One strong component that “Inscryption” has going for it is the art style. The graphics look stunning, despite being a horror game. The cabin that the game starts in feels comfortable, but also foreboding. Mullins took many liberties in making the cabin look like somewhere players might stay on a camping trip, but also somewhere straight out of a horror movie.
“Between bouts with enemies and mutilating your cards, you can stand up, leave the table, and inspect The Game Master’s sparsely decorated cabin. This gives players a break from the cards and allows them to test their wits with puzzles,” said Stoeber.
The mystery and horror elements make “Inscryption” worth playing on their own. While playing the game, players might run into cards that will talk to them. These are the Stoat, the Stinkbug and the Stunted Wolf. Each of these has its own personality, but they all advise against listening to the Game Master. All the while, the Game Master ridicules players for talking to the cards. It creates drama and a dynamic atmosphere that other horror games struggle with.
One downside to “Inscryption” is how complicated it can be. The game dumps players into a card game with little insight on how to play it. Players must study an in-game tutorial book just to learn what they are doing. This is hardly noticeable as the game progresses, but it definitely takes a while to understand the game’s mechanics.
Overall, “Inscryption” keeps players enthralled with the scares and mystery throughout the whole game, unlike many modern horror games which get stale after a while. “Inscryption” keeps players coming back for more with a memorable and addictive card game that players can enjoy for years to come.