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Monster Train Developer Announces Inkbound, A Co-Op Mishmash Of ARPGs, Tactics, And Roguelikes

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Developer Shiny Shoe, the indie team behind 2020’s Monster Train, has announced its next game and it’s called Inkbound. 

Revealed today with a fancy new trailer that showcases gameplay and cinematics from the game, Shiny Shoe describes Inkbound as a mixture of action RPGs, tactics games, and roguelikes. It looks great, too, and you can check it out for yourself in the announcement trailer below: 

“Inkbound takes players on a journey through procedurally generated storybook worlds, battling monsters that are set on unraveling the nature of reality itself,” a press release reads. “Players can dive in solo or party up via online co-oop in hybrid real-time/turn-based encounters. All the while, heroes become more powerful the deeper they progress in each roguelike run.”

The game is set to hit Steam Early Access sometime in 2023. It takes place in an area known as The Atheneum, which Shiny Shoes says is a “world that contains all the stories that have ever been written.” There, anything that’s written in Ink can become real. This includes nightmare carnivals, ancient ruins accompanied by volcanic annihilation, and more. Players will take on the roles of Binders, who are characters charged with maintaining these stories, and they can go anywhere at any time so long as it has been written before in Ink. 

The developer says the combat system blends the brawls of ARPGs with the deep strategy of a tactics game, and you can probably already see how The Atheneum sets the game up nicely as a roguelike. Combat turns are “snappy and quick, but players can slow down and take time to fully evaluate their current threats,” choosing optimal times to either rush enemies for big melee strikes or better position themselves for ranged attacks. 

 

“Inkbound is not a card game, however, like Monster Train, you’re creating and upgrading a build to change the way you engage with each roguelike run,” Shiny Shoe creative director Andrew Krausnick writes in a press release. “Fans will notice that Inkbound shares DNA with Monster Train, but we expanded upon what we learned making that title, to create a richly different experience, which also combines our love of co-op games and ARPGs.”

Shiny Shoe explains Inkbound has been built around co-op gameplay in that Binders can work together to debuff enemies and subsequently hit them with follow-up attacks. Or, on the contrary, a Binder can choose to hang back, opting instead to focus on keeping the party healed up. Because it’s a roguelike game, every run will be different and co-op changes that even more, although the creators say co-op is not required (but it will be rewarded!). 

“We cultivated an incredible community with Monster Train, so with Inkbound, we wanted to explore ways to approach that shared experience within a new genre,” Shiny Shoe CEO Mark Cooke writes in the press release. “Our goal is to give Binders new surprises to discover every week – whether it’s deadly new enemies, powerful loot, or even entirely new biomes. And that’s the mission statement of Shiny Shoe. We want to attract a base of players who love our games and find new reasons to keep playing them so that they’re remembered fondly 20 years from now.” 

While waiting to learn more, read Game Informer’s Monster Train review


Are you excited for Inkbound? Let us know in the comments below!

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