The developers of hit deckbuilder Monster Train are gearing up to release their next game: Inkbound, a unique turn-based RPG that’s designed to play fluidly either cooperative or solo by using many of the same tricks as action RPGs and mobas. Outside of combat players move freely, while inside it they move around and toss out attacks freely on their turn before the enemies take a shot.
Like Monster Train, Inkbound is a roguelike based around drafting abilities, upgrades, and equipment to make synergized builds for maximum efficiency—all about that exponential growth curve from scrub to unstoppable. The game story takes place inside the Atheneum, a magical library of sorts, where solo or in four player co-op you enter stories to explore them.
Just like Monster Train, developer Shiny Shoe will release Inkbound into Steam Early Access. That’ll be this week, on May 22, 2023.
As part of the run-up to releasing Inkbound, Shiny Shoe has released a video talking about how they related Inkbound’s development to Monster Train’s. “Inkbound may look like an ARPG because it shares the same camera angle, but it’s not an action game,” said Shiny Shoe CEO Mark Cooke.
That doesn’t mean it’s slow, however. “Crucially, in both games, players can act rapidly. We always aim to respect the player’s time, and don’t want to bog them down watching slow-paced, repetitive animations. You can go slow and think when you need to, and go fast when the decisions come easy,” says Cooke.
PC Gamer took a look at an early playtest for Inkbound in January. “I played around with the test build myself for a few minutes and it looks potentially promising: The underlying mechanics are familiar—from a central hub, you make runs through semi-randomized linear levels, taking on numerous setpiece battles along the way—but the game world is very pretty, and the story has me curious too,” said Andy Chalk at the time.
Find Inkbound in Early Access on Steam starting May 22, 2023 or on its official website, inkboundgame.com.