Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 12/03/2020
Price: £4.49 / Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Lunchboxes are great. Mostly. One day you have a nice butty, maybe a cheesy dipping snack or a bag of crisps. The next day you crack open your box and your damn Capri Sun leaked all over the goods. inbento is a quaint puzzle game all about arranging your bento box and making sure it never disappoints. So, pay attention, keep it tidy and take your time, because no one wants a soggy lunch.
Curiosity Filled The Cat
Opting for a warm, gently muted colour palette and some lovely pictures of cats, inbento sets up a deceptively varied grid/block-based puzzler.
The staple of many a bento box is a little bed of boiled rice, so it’s fitting that inbento’s opening stages are kept nice and simple. You’ve got small 4×4 boxes prompting you to copy the recipe in a jigsaw like fashion, by dropping pieces of salmon onto a block of rice. After carefully drifting through the introductory mechanics at a pleasing pace, inbento starts to show its hand. Gameplay evolves from swapping and dropping blocks to positional rotation, groups of movement in different directions, layering Tetris-like shapes and deploying duplication techniques all tightly pressed into a lovingly prepared midday meal.
The intuitive nature of the screen layout, visual cues and control system works magnificently for short bursts, placing you swiftly, but firmly into the relaxed frame of mind, without the need for preparation and preamble. As such, everything is so pristine, tidy and clean that you may be reaching for the disinfectant and the mood created is that of a cool cat chilling on the windowsill (and you won’t want that stinking dog bringing in its muddy paws).
inbento deftly employs a no-mucking-about policy, a delicate efficiency in UI design that is perfect for mobile and handheld gaming. Everything you need to know is on a single screen, every icon, every function treated as a means of divergence from any form of worded tutorial. This sleek production gifts the player a chance to skip the bland starter and devour the rich, delicious main. It’s not difficult to see why this mobile game made such a clean jump to Nintendo’s handheld hybrid, bedding in neatly alongside other puzzlers of the same grain. The steady introduction of new mechanics with a subtle musical score and gentle visuals are a treat. Sure, this box comes with just the one flavour, but for what you’re paying, it’s definitely filling.