Bendy and the Ink Machine

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Bendy and the Ink Machine is an indie Puzzle Survival Horror Episodic Game created by theMeatly. It's available via Game Jolt and Steam. Its official website is https://www.bendyandtheinkmachine.com/

You play as Henry, a former traditional animator. You get a strange note from a friend, Joey Drew, that invites you to your old workplace. While there, you have to turn on the ink machine, which apparently powers the place. Shortly after powering the machines, a creature looking like "Bendy", the breakout character for the company, begins to chase you. Nothing is as it seems, however. What happened to your old work buddy? Why does Bendy appear to follow you everywhere you go? And from where all these esoteric symbols in the walls of your former workplace came from?

There are a total of five chapters for this game. Chapter One was released on February 10, 2017. Chapter Two was released on April 18th, 2017. Chapter Three was released on September 28th, 2017. Chapter Four was released on April 30, 2018. Chapter Five (the possible Grand Finale) was released in October 2018, along with the release of ports for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch around the same date. A mobile spinoff Bendy in Nightmare Run has been announced for August 2018.

Tropes used in Bendy and the Ink Machine include:
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • The first chapter being only 15 minutes, there's very little information that isn't left up in the air for interpretation. The murder and dissection of Boris the Wolf is an especially big point of contention, since the candles on the floor suggest it was Joey's doing, while the message on the wall suggests it was Bendy, and adopting either viewpoint changes the game's narrative significantly. The second chapter clears it up a little bit, by showing that Bendy is, indeed, murderous, but just what went down at the studio is still a mystery.
    • It's also becoming rather unclear if the Bendy we saw is the real Bendy. Because, even after the Ink Machine is activated, and Inked Bendy is released, the cutouts that were active beforehand don't turn hostile and remain curious and sometimes helpful.
    • The cliffhanger of the second chapter will leave you asking questions as well. Yes, Boris seems to have saved you from Bendy, but is he your friend, or does he simply want you for himself? More importantly, how exactly is he still alive given what we saw in Chapter One? Was he resurrected? Are reanimated cartoon characters actually unkillable and what we saw was just a temporary setback? Is he even the same Boris?
    • The third chapter reveals a bit more: Boris is friendly, and he's not the same Boris as the one from the top floor. It also seemingly answers a question from Chapter One as well: It's implied that Alice killed the Boris on the top floor, as well as several others, to maintain her "beauty". However, it also brings up a few more questions of its own. Alice claims she knows "why Henry is really here", and that she "won't let him get in the way of what has to be done", but she never explains what she means by that. Why did Henry come to the studio? Does he want to shut down the Ink Machine? If so, why would he turn it on in Chapter One? Did he come here for some other reason? Or is Alice's line just a result of Sanity Slippage?
  • Anachronism Stew: Considering when the animation style was in vogue, you might think the game takes place in the 1960s, except for the cassette tape players scattered about, which themselves seem to record things from decades ago.
  • An Axe to Grind: Henry arms himself with an axe after falling into a hidden room below the exit.
  • And I Must Scream: In Chapter Three, "Alice" describes being "returned to the ink" as being trapped inside of a well full of endlessly buzzing, screaming voices.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: With the Chapter Three update, any progress-critical item will now shine, making them easier to discern among the sepia environments.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The tape recorders strewn around the studio count as this. Some have workers complain about Joey (and Sammy) suffering Sanity Slippage, others relate to everyday work at the studio. They often contain clues.
  • Arc Symbol: Bendy's cheery mug, as seen above. Also, pentagrams.
  • Arc Words: "He will set us free." "The Creator Lied To Us."
  • As You Know: The note from Joey specifies that he and Henry worked at the animation studio thirty years ago and have fallen out of touch.
  • Awesome But Impractical: On a tape recording in Chapter One, one employee Wally Franks mentions that the ink machine is noisy, uses a lot of ink, and seems pretty useless. In addition, it means the animations aren't getting done on time.
  • Big OMG: Henry utters one upon seeing Boris strapped to the table in Chapter One.
  • Body Horror: Where the hell do I start?
    • Bendy himself seems to have a taller and more humanoid physique, although he's wearing a big cartoon glove on one hand... The glove has three fingers, but there is a fourth finger stabbing out the end of it.
    • Sammy seems to have become part-ink during his time beneath the studio.
    • The ink monsters in Chapter Two.
    • Alice Angel, the Butcher Gang and Norman are not pretty to look at. At all.
    • Boris? You first see him strapped to a table with his innards apparently ripped out. You later find an room filled with corpses of characters and multiple Borises with their innards ripped out.
  • Bound and Gagged: Henry near the end of Chapter Two, after Sammy captures him.
  • The Cameo: One of the tape recordings from Chapter Three, made by a Mr. "Shawn Flynn", was voiced by JackSepticEye, who later did his own play-through of the game.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The title.
  • Check Point Starvation:
    • A very common criticism of Chapter Two was the fact that there are no checkpoints. If the player died at any point, it's straight back to the beginning with absolutely no progress saved, which meant up to twenty minutes of backtracking to get another try at what you messed up on...
    • This was later fixed in a patch, and the game now auto-saves just before those two points.
    • There was even a save point added into Chapter One just for the hell of it, even though Chapter One is really short and there are no enemies that can actually kill you until the final maybe 30 seconds.
    • Chapter Three introduced a respawn mechanic, turning this into a case of Death Is a Slap on The Wrist. However, if you quit for any reason, even if it's not your fault, the game will disregard any saves and send you back to the beginning of the chapter on the next playthrough.
  • Cliffhanger: It's a 5-part story/game, so of course there'll be cliffhangers.
    • The first chapter ends on one. You are trapped under the exit to the studio, armed with an axe as Bendy begins to emerge from the darkness.
    • As does the second one. You have just escaped Bendy and someone has barred the door behind you. As you call out to your mysterious helper, Boris emerges from behind the corner.
    • Third one does the same thing. Henry wakes up after the elevator crash and sees Boris trying to revive him, with Alice sneaking up from behind and winding up to strike Henry's only friend in this place in the back.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Since the release of Chapter Three, Henry respawns after death without losing any progress, with punch clocks serving as checkpoints and Bendy statues serving as respawn points.
  • Easter Egg:
    • After you turn on the Ink Machine, return to the room where Boris is in and walk through the wall with the poster on it to find a secret room containing the mascot of the game's developer, theMeatly.
      • You can also do this in Chapter Two, by going through the Boris Poster next to the Piano after turning on the Flow Control.
    • In Chapter Two, playing the radio in Sammy's office will play a special swing version of Build Our Machine.
      • Another radio added to Chapter One in an update, in the room where the light turns off plays another fan-created song: Bendy And The Ink Machine, by Kyle Allen.
    • A slightly freakier secret as of the Chapter Three update: if you hack or glitch into an area where you're not supposed to go, you come across a Bendy cutout with realistic eyes and what appears to be Blood From the Mouth, holding a sign that reads WANDERING IS A TERRIBLE SIN. Apparently, this was put into the game to discourage hacking.
  • Eldritch Location: As of Chapter Three, the animation studio seems to be turning into this. Not only is the basement impossibly big for the tiny building above it, it also has things that just don't make sense for an animation studio to have, like giant open rooms with nothing in them, a department for producing plush toys of the characters, and several long hallways that serve no purpose but to have random projectors placed in them at random. Henry points out that he doesn't remember these rooms, but it's not clear if it's a result of the Ink Machine and Joey's experimentation, or if they were just built during the thirty years between his retirement and the game.
  • Expy:
    • Bendy seems based on Mickey Mouse and Bimbo the dog, being a primarily black cartoon creature with white gloves. His mischievous personality is more like Bimbo, but his design recalls Mickey more.
    • Boris resembles Goofy.
    • Alice Angel is likely based on Betty Boop, being a more realistic counterpart to Bendy (Betty was once a dog like Bimbo) with a sexy design and popularity that is said to be greater than the original star.
  • Filk Song:
  • Food as Bribe: You can convince Boris to escort Henry out of the safehouse by heating up two cans of bacon soup for him.
  • Foreshadowing: In Chapter Two, Susie Campbell, the voice actor for Alice Angel, says she feels like a part of her. In Chapter Three, it turns out that Susie makes up part of Alice, due to Joey's actions.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: A feature of all cartoon characters, complete with White Gloves. The inked-covered Sammy Lawrence also has these without the gloves, while Bendy in his Inked form has five-fingered hands seemingly growing through his gloves.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see Inked Bendy tearing Sammy Lawrence to pieces. Nor do we see what Alice does to the other ink beings she's killed... That is... Until she's finished with them.
  • Homage: The whole game shows love for traditional black and white animation in the Disney and Fleischer Studios style.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: In Chapter Two, you can replenish your health by eating bacon soups, though who knows what's actually in them.
  • Idiot Ball: Henry. At first, when he arrives at the studio and sees no one is around, he just starts exploring, but then when he discovers the body of Boris, he realizes something must be very wrong here. Though that doesn't stop him from working to turn on the ink machine. Upon doing so though, he returns to the machine but meets "Bendy" for the first time. At which point (in the older versions), he says "I'm getting the hell outta here!" before turning tail and making a dash for the exit. Making him one of the smartest people in any horror story ever... Though not the luckiest, because just feet from the exit, the floor gives way and he falls through a number of stories to a lower level of the studio.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Sammy sings one as he's about to sacrifice Henry to Bendy. What's extra ironic is that HE is the one Bendy decides to kill.
  • Karmic Death: Sammy is killed in the same way he tried to have Henry killed.
  • Killed Off For Real: Sammy is killed by Bendy behind closed doors, but not out of Henry's earshot.
  • Jump Scare: It's a horror game, so of course it'll have these.
    • Bendy's cardboard cutout appears at random times, though you never see it moving. Except for one time, when it peeks around a corner to look at you. And it happens again in Chapter Two and Chapter Three. All times, they actually seem to be helping, as they do that when you're reaching an area of importance.
      • As of September 28, you can now open the door that's on the left side of Wally Frank's tape now. Guess what suddenly peeks out at you while you are opening it?
    • After you turn on the ink machine, "Inked" Bendy appears with a Scare Chord, forcing Henry to run.
    • In Chapter Two, you have the appearance of the ink monsters, who are quite fond of this. Also, Bendy does this again by the end of the chapter.
    • Chapter Three has quite a few of these, including two rather famous ones... compliments of the Butcher Gang and Alice Angel.
  • Mysterious Watcher:
    • Bendy seems eager to follow you and watch your actions. And he also seems more proactive than most. The cutouts are sometimes placed near objects or areas of importance. And, as mentioned above, they thrice peer out at you from a corner, seeming to point you in the right direction.
    • In Chapter Two, after you close the ink flow and go through the recording room, if you look up at the projector booth, you can see Bendy's cardboard cutout accompanied by Sammy, both watching you intently, though you won't know who the latter is yet.
  • Morton's Fork: In Chapter Three, Henry finds Alice Angel confronting him. She "persuades" him to become her "errand boy" because her alternative is to tear him apart, or to leave him for the Searchers, Ink Monsters and Bendy. She also admits that she just might let Henry live long enough to get the items she needs, so at best Henry is buying time before Alice kills him. Either way Henry is dead.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Bendy up to this point (Chapter Three) is invincible. No matter what weapon you use, you can't harm him or even touch him. If he ever touches you, it's instant death. Even other enemies of Henry are unable to harm him or are afraid of him. If Bendy comes across a Searcher or one of the Butcher gang, he kills them instantly upon getting close. Alice Angel herself is terrified of Bendy, and warns Henry to hide from him and beware of the ink demon.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Alice Angel succeeds in capturing Boris, because he left the safehouse to help Henry. Not to mention, after you spend nearly the entire chapter doing tasks FOR her, she sends you and Boris crashing down the elevator shaft in an attempt to kill you because she thinks you were intending to "steal from her".
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The cardboard cutout Bendy is very fond of this. In the second chapter, he can even regenerate if you chop him off with the axe and reappear as soon as you take your sight off it, though this is only if the cutout is positioned in front of a Pentagram.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Henry gasps when he sees Bendy's cardboard cutout in the middle of the hallway. And it wasn't there before.
    • Henry also reacts this way upon seeing "Inked" Bendy and makes a break for the entrance.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: All the maps are currently fixed, but there are some gameplay elements that are mixed up between each playthrough.
    • In Chapter One: the six objects you need to collect are shuffled around in different places with each playthrough.
    • In Chapter Two:
      • The switches you need to find to open the first gate shift locations with each playthrough.
      • To enter Sammy's sanctuary, you must play four instruments in a specific order while the projector is running to open the gate. The combination needed is delivered via a tape recorder. Mad Libs Dialogue allows for multiple options for the unlock.
  • Reality Ensues: Even if an animation boss is respected and talented, he'll lose his employees' confidence if he undergoes Sanity Slippage, introduces an Awesome but Impractical machine, and allows for unsanitary working conditions. On Wally's tape recorder in Chapter One, he threatens to quit if another pipe bursts.
  • Retcon: Whenever a new chapter releases, the previous chapters tend to get updated along with it.
    • After Chapter Two released, Chapter One featured some new rooms, a redesigned Boris and an artistic overhaul for Inked Bendy. After Chapter Three, yet more new rooms were added, including one that features the new Punch Clock introduced in said chapter, there's a new audio log regarding a plumber named Thomas Connor, who worked on the Ink Machine's pipes, that rightly decided to never work for Joey Drew again, and Bacon Soup cans were added.
    • Chapter Two's Searchers were updated to be the more pained, less upright ones from Chapter Three.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The entire setup is basically Lovecraft's From Beyond with the titular Ink Machine playing the part of the Resonator... and what it brings into the world is just as unfriendly as it is in the story. Amped up even further when you realize that Alice Angel/Susie is playing the part of Praetorius... to the death.
  • Ritual Magic: Joey was up to some seriously occult business in the studio, and if his insistence on "sacrificial" items for the Ink Machine and a gutted real-life Boris don't sell you, the satanic pentagram hidden under the studio will.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Features living cartoons (who are fictional in-universe) emerging from the machine as you explore the abandoned animation studios. In Chapter One, Bendy himself appears to be out for blood, while you can also find his old partner/nemesis Boris the Wolf, strapped to a table and vivisected. Chapter Two gives us Boris alive and well. And then there's Sammy Lawrence, who at this point is a hybrid of human and ink-dripping cartoon.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Wally Franks's recordings always end with him threatening to quit if another bad incident occurs in the studio (i.e. another pipe bursting). Thomas Connor DID quit.
    • Henry, to his credit, tries when he sees "Inked" Bendy, but the problem is that he then falls through the floor and lands in a secret room.
    • An audio log added to Chapter One after the release of Chapter Three has a man named Thomas Connor having to fix Sillyvision's pipes to the Ink Machine, and decides, partly because of how frustrating repairing the pipes are, but primarily in how he has a bad feeling about said machine, that he's never doing another repair job for the company again.
  • Shout-Out: The book you find in Chapter One is called The Illusion of Living. The whole art-style is a shout-out to some of the earliest days of animation.
  • Subverted Kids Show: Puts an interesting spin on this. The Bendy cartoons the plot revolves around are cute and family-friendly, with an old-fashioned rubber hose Disney style. However, in the studio, there's an actual Boris the Wolf, cut open and strapped to a table, and some toothy cartoon monstrosity (that resembles Bendy) comes after you while you're unable to escape.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • Sammy knocks Henry out near the end of Chapter Two, and yet Henry's perfectly capable of running and swinging an axe shortly afterwards. Granted, he was also fearing for his life at that point. Adrenaline can do amazing things. Then it's subverted when Chapter Three reveals that Henry spent time recovering in the safe house while Boris cared for him and played cards with him.
    • Subverted when Alice Angel crashes the elevator holding Henry and Boris, and the impact knocks out Henry. Boris barely manages to rouse Henry, who can't warn Boris about an approaching Alice Angel. Then Henry lapses back into unconsciousness after seeing Alice take Boris, and Alice assumes he is dead.
  • Troubled Production: In-Universe: the composer Sammy Lawrence would interrupt music recordings for the animation productions. He would mess with the projector and run back to it, to the band's bewilderment.
  • Villain Antagonist: Bendy. According to Alice, there's at least one rule that all the other inhabitants of the studio adhere to: "Beware the Ink Demon" (meaning Bendy). It shows. During the game, in Chapter Three, whenever he appears, any enemies in the area will usually disappear, but sometimes they don't... In those cases, Bendy will actually go after THEM and kill THEM himself.
  • Wham! Line: Found in the room below the exit: "The Creator lied to us."
    • In Chapter Three:

Alice Angel: "I see you there."

    • Chapter Three also has Alice's maddened cackling while you're in the elevator, revealing that you're not quite out of the woods yet. Then she says, "I know who you are, Henry! I know why you're here!".
  • Wham! Shot:
    • Boris is strapped to a table, his mouth open. It's not clear if he's alive, though the amount of rib cage showing, coupled with his Wingding Eyes showing X would normally indicate otherwise. He is a cartoon though, so...
    • After gathering all the necessary items, you have to head to the projector room to hit the ink flow button. On the way there, you catch a moment's glance of the Bendy cutout peering out at you. When you round the corner, you find it propped up against the wall, with fresh ink at its feet...
    • After activating the Ink Machine, Henry rounds the corner to find it boarded off... before "Inked" Bendy appears right before his eyes.
    • After you escape from a fully formed Inked Bendy, you walk down a hall and find none other than Boris. Alive and well.
    • What remains of Sammy Lawrence, shown in the Stinger.
    • In Chapter Three, you and Boris come across an entire room full of Borises and Butcher Gang members having been killed in a similar manner as Chapter One. A moment later, and we get another: Alice torturing a Butcher Gang member, revealing that she's the one responsible.
  • White Gloves: All the cartoon characters wear them. Amusingly, Alice seems to wear the traditional White Gloves over a pair of elbow-length High Class Gloves.