A bento is usually a meticulously put together meal, kept immaculately in a box where the presentation is often the cherry on the top. While those are certainly a treat for both the eyes and the stomach, Polish studio Afterburn Games is trying to replicate that with their game, Inbento, for the Nintendo Switch.
Originally a mobile title, the Nintendo Switch port made perfect sense for this puzzle title. After all, players just have to construct a bento box similar to the recipe shown, how hard can that be? Apparently, quite so, as Inbento is not shy about testing the limits of your imagination.
First up, however, there is no escaping the less is more approach Inbento takes to both presentation and gameplay. The art style of the game is charmingly minimalistic, with no text or dialogue. All you have are snippets of an adorable cat family living their daily lives, and the bentos that bring them together.
Even without text, it is intuitive enough for any player to pick up and understand the mechanics involved. Given various tiles and shapes, players will have to rotate, swap, and move the pieces to form the required bento.
Inbento starts out straightforward enough, with the complexity ramping up as you progress through the game’s chapters. Soon you will be discovering new mechanics, such as layering tiles to obtain the correct shape you want, as the sizes of the bentos increase as well.
Your brain will definitely get a good workout over the 14 chapters of Inbento. Should you ever make a mistake, the trusty undo ability will allow players to rectify their moves step-by-step, all the way to the beginning. There is appropriately no fail state in Inbento, unless you decide to walk away from it.
The game works well both in handheld or docked mode, with the touch controls translating perfectly onto the Joy-Cons when docked.
Inbento is without a doubt a chill experience, especially when you factor in the music. The lo-fi tunes are perfect for an afternoon of mixing and matching bentos. Coupled with the game’s welcoming aesthetic and warm vibe, Inbento is a recipe for you to discover an inner peace.
For a mobile port, many would have their concerns. However, in Inbento’s case, this is one of those rare cases where nothing truly goes wrong, and the experience is all the better for it.
The puzzles are engaging, the style is captivating, and there is much to be gleaned from the game’s minimalistic approach to content.
If there are gripes to had, it is just that Inbento is quite short on replay value, while the difficulty can sometimes be inconsistent. Nevertheless, for players looking for a puzzle game that transcends into a meditative experience, Inbento is here to serve.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Fun, short, and sweet. Inbento is a wonderfully chill puzzle title that deserves to shine on the Nintendo Switch.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 7/10
Presentation - 9/10
Value - 7/10