Top 10 Games Like Bendy and the Ink Machine (Games Better Than Bendy and the Ink Machine In Their Own Way)

Top 10 games like Bendy and the Ink Machine
Looks like a certain Ink demon woke up on the wrong side of the bed...

Who out there has ever had a jump scare? I know it’s not just me. Everyone had to have played a horror game at some point in their lives, right? Oh, well… then that might just be the ink talking.

In this day and age, independent creators are bringing masterpieces into this world. And, surprisingly, leaning more toward the inky, slinky, and animatronic inspirations. After the huge successes of original indie games like Bendy and the Ink Machine™ and Five Nights At Freddy’s™, horror and detective games have gained a massive - almost cult – following (myself included), along with other creators - both large corporations and more creative indies - wanting to put their hand in the ring.

So, it’s my duty as a gamer to alert you all to 10 gems that are reflective of the styles of these recent smash successes in their own fun, creative, and creepy ways.

*gestures through a door creaking open*

Shall we?

10) Jenny LeClue – Detectivu (PC; [Coming to PS4 and Switch consoles later in 2019])

 < Jenny LeClue – Detectivu gameplay >

Summary:

When her mother gets accused of murder, it’s up to Jenny LeClue to do whatever it takes to clear her name. The style of the game reflects a slightly-cutesy hand-drawn imagery, without weakening or taking anything away from the storyline. Though mainly point and click, the game still has a sense of uncertainty, as the reactions and choices you choose determine the path the story takes.

What Makes Jenny LeClue – Detectivu Fun:

  • Uncertainty: the game could go in multiple different directions instead of a single, defined path
  • Artistic style: Though varying differently from modern gaming visuals, it’s both jarring and exciting, as well as a slight relief to see something different, taking us temporarily away from the norm
  • Creativity: While the game’s summary seems like a basic premise, it brings back vibes a simpler time, while confronting the players with a slightly mature theme of dealing with trauma, sudden twists in reactions around you, as well as not being able to predict what will happen next.

College girl: Jenny LeClue runs past Gumboldt College in her search for proof of her mother’s innocence. A detective is too old and too busy to trick-or-treat when there’s a murderer on the loose.

College girl: Jenny LeClue runs past Gumboldt College in her search for proof of her mother’s innocence. A detective is too old and too busy to trick-or-treat when there’s a murderer on the loose.

Angel of Death: Jenny LeClue may be getting in too deep, as a statue of a black-hooded angel points her way. An artistic choice? Or a Warning?

 

9) Clea / 克莉  (PC)

< Clea / 克莉 gameplay >

Summary:

When your parents have been experimenting on chaotic servants, wouldn’t your first choice be to run? Not Clea. Especially when those Chaos servants get loose in the building and her parents are nowhere to be found. Brave little Clea, with her little brother in tow, is determined to find their parents and get out safely. But what if there isn’t anyone left alive to be found?

What Makes Clea / 克莉 Fun:

  • Graphics: The art is simple, but also quite stimulating. It’s created in the perfect style needed of a game in the horror genre and then goes the extra mile with the movements of the Chaos servants.
  • Maturity in horror: So, like other horror games, there’s obviously some ‘mature’ content, mostly related to blood or jump scares. Luckily, this game isn’t like Five Night’s at Freddy’s, so your jump scare trigger can rest at ease. However, the game still touches on topics that reflect the genre and storyline of this game: experimentation, monsters, death, and sometimes touching on suicide – which is a topic that even most movies shy away from. Bold move, InvertMouse creators. I applaud you.
  • Item creation: While you play, you can collect items in various rooms and merge them to create other items to help you get through certain levels and eventually win the game. It reflects a simple yet intuitive creativity, and brings a fun and interesting strategy aspect to the game, without straying from the youthful terror, the survivalist goal, and ‘horror’ nature of the storyline itself.

Demonic Twin: Clea is confronted with a doppleganger, who, throughout portions of the game, seems to serve as both a depressant, and an audible voice of her own doubts and fears.

Psycho Family: Clea not only has strange Chaos servants to avoid, but the young girl’s own fears come to life as demons that resemble her own family attack her. Nightmarish, to say the least.

 

8) Lorelai (PC)

< Lorelai gameplay >

Summary:

This game marks the end of the “Devil Came Through Here” trilogy of horror games by Harvester Games, the first one named, “The Cat Lady” and the second one being “Downfall”.

After years of abuse and horrible family life, Laura “Lorelai” Wood wishes she could have a new life, start over. However, in a horrific twist of events, she finds herself dead and in a strange Afterworld, one which looks like an acid-trip gone wrong. Though a major motivator in this story is getting herself and her loved ones back to life, her main mission is to get revenge on her step-father for all the deaths he’s caused.

What Makes Lorelai Fun:

  • Simplicity: This game only uses the 4 arrow keys on your computer, so Loralai can only move left to right. But, even with limited movements, the objects you interact with and the people you communicate still give that typical chill and enthralled adrenaline that horror- or thriller-based creations are expected to instill.
  • Interactions: While the controls are basic, the interactions guide the story along at a decent pace. Like I said above, the interactions reflect that of standard horror tropes, giving a slightly familiar vibe and feel to seasoned horror lovers. However, the answers you give people and the actions you get to choose in game will determine what type of ending you get. Keep that in mind while playing, because even 1 particular reply you choose could end up with a grisly ending. Maybe.
  • Storyline: As I am an author as well as a blogger, I’m a sucker for a good storyline. The basic premise already reflects a deep and intertwined plot just from its basic summary, and despite minimal interaction the player’s part, it’s a thrill all the same. No spoilers, but if you are the type who like a complex plot and complicated relations between characters, no matter what medium of content it’s in (movies, etc), then this minimalistic game might be up your alley.

My Baby Sister: Lorelai enters her baby sister Bethany’s room, cryptically saying, “I’ll get you out of here”, if only to motivate and encourage herself.

Deal with the Devil: Lorelai meets the Queen of Maggots, who guides her to inflict revenge on her step-father for all the abuse and killing of those she most cares about, while also trying to bring herself and those lost loved ones back to life.

 

7) Rescue Lucy 2 (PC)

< Rescue Lucy 2 gameplay >

Summary:

In this sequel game, aside from several years passing and the protagonist girl is now all grown up, the basic premise didn’t change much. Girl lets dog Lucy walk outside, Lucy doesn’t return after a good number of hours, and now Girl has to find Lucy… again. And that’s despite changes in what you interact with inside the old abandoned house and other such places. In this point-and-click horror game, the need to find Lucy is a motivator. Because the poor dog likely needs to be saved. But… saved from whom, exactly?

What Makes Rescue Lucy 2 Fun:

  • The Soundtrack: The creepy music in the background sets the tone for each and every scene in the game. Similar in nature, but ultimately gives enough of that horror-game vibe to pull you in and keep you riveted, trying to brace for any unexpected surprises.
  • Graphics: If the similar storyline gets you put off slightly, the graphics might cool that burn a tad. The reason I believe this game is a gem is because the graphics are so detailed that it keeps gamers enthralled enough to play the game.
  • Mini-Games: As a kid, I grew up playing PC games in the likes of the Nancy Drew games and the game “Riddle of the Sphinx”, as well as analog gems like board game Clue and card-based game Alibi. The reason I gravitated toward those various types of games was the puzzles. I always loved a good puzzle. I still do. I even help my spouse when he’s playing a level on a game that he gets stuck on because of a puzzle. Rescue Lucy 2 has a good amount and variety of puzzle mini-games that keep your mind active and the focus strong. No worries if you’re not the puzzle type, because once you get through a few, you flow into the rhythm of the game soon enough.

Abandoned House Scene, Take 2: This game brings us back to the abandoned house we found Lucy last time. Did she return all these years later?

Haunted Hangman: Entering a room with a skeleton on a noose through a hole in the ceiling. Why are we still here? Why don’t we RUN?

 

6) Oxenfree (PC, iOS, PS4, Xbox One, Linux, Android, Nintendo Switch)

< Oxenfree gameplay >

Summary:

In this supernatural thriller, you play Alex, who takes a small group of her friends (and her new stepbrother) to an island. You then accidentally reopen a ghostly portal, unleashing a curse from the island’s mysterious, yet unknown past. Until you let them out, that is. Now, you and your friends have to make decisions on what to do, how to do it. An remember, every decision you make – and every single word you choose to say – will determine your fate, along with everyone else’s.

What Makes Oxenfree Fun:

  • Creative Storyline: Not only is the premise intriguing, but the characters seem more fleshed out than a good number of other games that are similar. I use the term ‘similar’ loosely, as this one is a super unique tale. You also play the character that causes the conflict and danger in the first place. Generally, when a character unleashes unholy evil spirits from their supernatural prison of 70+ years… Well, admit what you’re thinking: it’s usually a supporting character, like the jock or the nerd or the outcast. Rarely the protagonist, as far as plot normally goes. Mark another one for the video game history books.
  • The Artistic Style: The design of the game - from the surroundings down to the characters is unique in itself. Though the characters look minimally constructed, I think that’s a clever choice of design. Leaves expressions and smaller movements and such to the imagination, adding to the compelling storyline that already is in place
  • Interactive Play: The col part of Oxenfree is that, similar in nature to Lorelai, every conversation can affect how the game ends. However, Oxenfree’s choices and paths are more in number as well as making the plot and characters have more depth and making the future and ending fate of the characters so uncertain that it’ll keep you playing, for sure

Island of Mystery: Behold, what remains of an old military island. What kind of trouble could a group of naïve teenager get into here, with no one else around to meddle… or save them either

Pumpkin Hanging: It’s just a small sketched game of Hangman. Nothing wrong here. Let me use the walkie talkie to talk to the spirits that trapped us here in the first place.  Invite them out. Looks like they really know how to play a game!

5) Hello Neighbor (PC, iOS, PS4, Xbox One, Android, Nintendo Switch)

< Hello Neighbor gameplay >

Summary:

Ever had a creepy neighbor before? You know, the kind across the street, kind of paranoid and strange looking? Well, little Nicky does. And he knows his neighbor is hiding a secret, likely in the basement he locked someone up in. You play as Nicky, a little kid who’s determined to find out what is in his neighbor’s basement. You’ll have to sneak into the Neighbor’s crazy house of questionable construction (Honestly, who built that place? How did it pass inspection?), and creep around to figure out how to unlock the basement. But, be careful. If Neighbor finds you, he will chase you down. Unless you get away, who knows what Nicky’s fate is?

What Makes Hello Neighbor Fun:

  • Whimsy: At first glance, the style of characters and cartoon design seems to have popped out of an early 2000s kid’s TV show. As a result, the actual danger in the game seems less intimidating to the player, and makes the game that much more fun to play. Just don’t get caught, kids-at-heart. Be careful. Don’t let your guard down too much.
  • Premise: The idea is intriguing. A young kid breaking into his neighbor’s house because he believes the said neighbor locked an actual person in that basement… No kid in this generation would ever try that, nor any kid in any generation this century, at least. But, the fear of this naïve kid’s daring rescue attempt pulls in players to help, if only just to confirm that Nicky is one dumb kid for all he goes through. If only he’d just gotten the cops.
  • Fighting Back: I think the chasing aspect in the game is what makes it a unique, popular game, and likely could contribute to the attention and cult following enough to afford and create both a prequel game and a spin-off game. The ability to chuck items at Neighbor to slow him down is creative and exciting, especially for a first person POV and one with the surroundings that whimsical and youthfully calming. Good choice, Dynamic Pixels’ development team. Good choice.

Run, Nicky! Run!: You have to run when Neighbor spots you. If not… Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

A true Spy Kid: Peeping through the Neighbor’s window is playing with fire. Nicky better watch out. Too curious for his own good.

4) Night in the Woods (PC, iOS, PS4, Xbox One, Linux, Android, Nintendo Switch)

< Night In The Woods gameplay >

Summary:

Returning home when you quit is hard enough. But, when the old friends aren’t the same anymore… and neither is the town… And, what’s that figure in the woods?

In this game, you play Mae, a recent droput of college, returning back to her hometown to find that things had changed - majorly. As Mae, you will wander the town: talking with residents, exploring the town and the surrounding region. And, yes, that last one includes the woods, which Mae’s memory raises a red flag in her head. Should she explore it and investigate? Because that forest doesn’t seem as calm as it should…

What Makes Night In The Woods Fun:

  • Cartoon Style: The character and world sketches and designs have a child-like quality, similar to how I described the designs from Hello Neighbor and Jenny LeClue, but in its own unique way. Having a darker story with more youthful reminiscence for most of us honestly makes the game more appealing and likely attracts a good amount of their players as a result of such a clever artistic decision.
  • Genre Flexibility: This game is actually more associated as an “adventure” game, not necessarily horror like most of the others on this list. However, the fear and reaction and adrenaline aspects of the game definitely stem from a horror-based inspiration. Being able to serve as more than just a jump scare session or the chilling feeling of paranoia where you are on edge thinking someone will jump out of the closet brandishing an axe, AH, LOOK BEHIND YOU!
  • Just kidding. But, having a game and storyline balanced between two very popular genres is quite the feat, and I applaud Infinite Fall for going the extra mile.
  • The Soundtrack: This was one of the big reasons this game became an indie hit. The soundtrack for the game is PHENOMENAL. Each song tells either a story, or reveals personality traits of the characters and areas you interact with, even without knowing. You get an idea of who they are, how they feel, or what they act like, even before meeting or interacting with them that that point. That track that will play will reveal both everything and nothing, and you’ll be the one to find out the ‘whys’ behind the sounds and rhythm of each track implies…

Great Town Explorer: Mae runs through town, exploring to find some things she remembers… and a lot of changes that she never expected.

‘Mean Girls’, Indie Game Style: Trying to reconnect with friends isn’t easy after so many years, is it, Mae? Hopefully thigs will turn around eventually.

 

3) Little Misfortune (PC, Linux)

< Little Misfortune gameplay >

 

Summary:

When you constantly find bad luck, you’d say it’s UNfortunate. However, in this game, you play as the character MISfortune. Misfortune is a little girl. Her quest? Listen to a voice in her head, who says if she beats his game, she can win the gift of eternal happiness, which Misfortune wants to give to her mother. To win, she’ll have to follow all the rules. Which is just, pretty much, just take the consequences of every action. Good and bad don’t exist when your reality becomes warped from your own naïve imagination… 

What Makes Little Misfortune Fun:

  • Bright Optimism: Trouble and risks follow Misfortune everywhere. You’d think she’d have broken down by now. Panicked. Something negative. But, for a majority of the time, the consequences of her bad luck hardly phase her. It’s just become her reality. She remains the true optimist. Could be her age. Could be her experiences. Getting hurt or hurting others, accident or purposely, she remains a cute, oblivious ray of sunshine. In my mind, I wonder if other gamers that play this are also screaming at the screen, if only to take out their frustration at her talent for just being youthfully… stupid. No other word. But, that, I think, is also why people play it. To watch a young kid who suffers so much, but still smiles. And builds a pentagram. … *sputters curses* Misfortune, what the heck did you just do?
  • Childish Naivete: A naïve little girl makes this an exciting game, because, although she is optimistic, as mentioned above, but she’s still a child, meaning she still has doubts, and still has fears. Watching her in each situation really reflects howo a child is in real life. Out of the few games I’ve seen with a super young protagonist, this has to be the most realistic. At least where I live. Could be different elsewhere.
  • Uncertainty: Supporting the above point, Misfortune’s youthful innocence both hurts her AND helps her in the game. Playing this game means observing her as you play, and not knowing whether her optimism and naïve state of mind will progress to her goal safely, or cause a major roadblock or negative consequences.

Meet your Misfortune: Little Misfortune has bad luck following her wherever she goes. Can she survive this little ‘game’?

Strange Voices: While on a train, a mysterious boy sits across from Misfortune. Is she somehow making a friend? Meeting a secret rival? Or maybe facing a potential enemy?

 

2) Sally Face (PC, Linux)

< Sally Face gameplay >

Summary:

Meet Sally Face, a little boy with a prosthetic face whose tragic past and nightmarish fears follow him anywhere he goes. Released in a series of chapters, you have to navigate different places in Sal’s ‘world’, such as moving into a new apartment with his dad, a building with a few strange ‘characters’ as neighbors and more than a few hidden secrets. Navigate around the building in the basic storyline, but more curious gamers should investigate with a fine-tooth comb, because they’ll find challenging puzzles and even a few mini-games. Keep your eyes open.

What Makes Sally Face Fun:

  • Narrative: The ‘dialogue’ within the game is a plus for two reasons. One: for the artistic, creepy text that is reminiscent of an older video game style, similar to the kind I grew up on. And two, the actual words being said will make you even more curious and intrigued, pushing you to play more to find out what a character meant, or what events might be hinted at. The mysterious and vague/broad words said will pull you in, both eagerly and curiously.
  • Communication: A cool piece of tech in the game allows you/Sal to communicate with ghosts, who will hint or help in their own way to give nudges in the right direction. It’s similar to Oxenfree (talked about above), which had a radio that could pick up frequencies that shouldn’t exist. Even though the actual communication methods are similar, the spectral spirits in Oxenfree were using those frequencies to get released and get revenge. That was their sole goal. In this game, the ghosts mostly are helpful and not able of too malevolent personalities. Most, at least.
  • Backstory Details: I say this makes it fun, because the backstory from the events prior to the game are a mystery. How did Sal’s mother die? How did he end up with that prosthetic face? Why did Sal and his dad move in the first place? As you push forward to try and reveal the secrets of Sal’s past, as well as parts of other character’s pasts, the questions continue to mount on your mind, which is a definite motivator to play the game onto the potentially grisly end.

Horrific Reactions: Sal and his companions see something that they probably never wanted to see.

Good for the Mind: After all Sal’s been through in his young life, a therapist might just be what the doctor ordered. Pun intended.

 

1) Fran Bow (PC, iOS, Linux, Android)

< Fran Bow gameplay >

 

Summary:

Seeing horrifying nightmares jump to life everywhere you go? Dismembered bodies? Malevolent creatures attacking you? Ghosts floating through walls at the moments of least expectation? That’s life for Fran, a young girl with a mental disorder and struggles with ‘visions’ on a day-to-day basis. After witnessing the death of her parents, she and her cat, Mr. Midnight take off into the woods. In an unfortunate turn of events, Fran gets locked up, and it’s up to her to escape the asylum to find her cat and run to her last living relative. With all of her mental nightmares traipsing after her and tormenting her sanity every step of the way.

What Makes Fran Bow Fun:

  • More than 1 Home Run: KillMonday, the developers of this game, are also the company behind Little Misfortune (mentioned above). Both are incredibly creepy games with naïve and undeserving little kids. Also, both Fran and Misfortune’s stories are within a shared world/universe, according to game creators.
  • Overactive Imaginations: Truth be told, most kids with overactive imaginations probably believe in the same strange creatures and voices as reflected by the girls in both Fran Bow and Little Misfortune games, which probably speaks to the little kid inside all of us. It makes both characters relatable, despite the age difference between the protagonists and the target gaming audience.
  • Mental Representation: Luckily, in today’s world, admitting mental health issues is becoming easier, and acceptance of those issues is a more common moral trait in more people day-by-day. However, admittance and acceptance aren’t something easy for children. They are too young to really understand the impact and sources of these types of things, and most, once slightly older in age, dismiss as just their overactive imagination. In Fran Bow, it is hinted and well known well into the beginning that Fran suffers from mental disorders. Though Fran may not be able to grasp at her age what exactly that means for her future, but plenty of gamers who play this game likely will. As a whole, gamers either respect the decision to add that personality quirk into a storyline based around a child, or empathize with Fran, finding similar traits between her and themselves that make it more relatable. By adding mental troubles might’ve seemed like a risky move to some, but ultimately makes the game more realistic and relatable, and, as a result, makes for a great motivating storyline.

Rabbit Hole: Fran and Mr. Midnight climb into a strange swirling portal. Where might it takes them?

Puzzling Challenge: Fran Bow, in addition to the basic gameplay and controls, includes occasional puzzles to assist Fran in her journey without being deterred by the horrific creatures her mind brings to life.

In Conclusion, if you are a fan of Bendy and the Ink Machine, check these 10 other games out! Who knows? Maybe one of them might become your new 'demonic' obsession.

More on this topic:
As a shy little bookworm girl was an unlikely heroine. Christine proved otherwise: winning races, slaying aliens by the hundreds, and defeating spirits of darkness with a Keyblade. How about that?
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Destiny
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Origins, Five Nights at Freddys, Mirrors Edge Catalyst
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