Inkulinati: Review

Inkulinati review cover

Inkulinati is a turn-based strategy game developed by small Polish studio Yaza Games and published by Daedalic Entertainment. After a year in Early Access, during which several additions were made and the gameplay was balanced, the game was released as version 1.0 on 22 February 2024. Inkulinati is currently available for PC via Steam, Epic Games Store and GOG, Xbox, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.

Inkulinati is a turn-based strategy game where battles take place on an actual medieval manuscript. Each battle pits our Inkulinati Master and his army of beasts against wild beasts or another Inkulinati Master and his beasts. Each beast has a specific set of abilities, and their placement on the battlefield will need to be well thought out in order to get the most out of their abilities.

Inkulinati Masters also have their own abilities, such as Talents and Hand Actions. Talents are passive abilities that provide bonuses, such as partial health regeneration for all troops at the beginning of each chapter. Hand Actions, on the other hand, are active actions that allow you to raise a beast, deal direct damage to an enemy, or move anything that can move left or right.

Inkulinati screenshot 2

In Inkulinati, strategy is fundamental to both the overpowering of the enemy army and the best possible handling of each battlefield. In fact, battles do not take place on a standard battlefield, but each time there will be different features, such as multi-level layouts and, more importantly, different objects. Objects can be obstacles that prevent certain types of attacks, portals from which enemy beasts emerge, explosive cauldrons and much more.

The already fast pace of battle will be accelerated by Apocalyptic events, events such as fires or plagues that will force us to rethink our strategy if we do not want to see our army destroyed. Of course, we can also use these potential dangers to our enemy’s disadvantage.

Inkulinati screenshot

A well-thought-out strategy is a must for success in Inkulinati, as the creatures that will fight for us must be summoned by the ink we can collect on the battlefield or by killing enemy beasts. Each beast has a different ink cost. Furthermore, we will not be able to summon as many beasts as we want because each time we summon a beast, our master will accumulate a boredom point for that beast, thus increasing the cost of summoning it in the next battle. This dynamic requires the player to think long term in order to survive the campaign.

The Inkulinati campaign will take us on a long journey to save our master from death. During our pilgrimage we will learn to draw new beasts and fight against important medieval figures such as Hildegard, Dante Alighieri and St. Francis. Each Inkulinati Master we face will have their own unique army and fighting style.

Before we face our opponent, we will have to fight against beasts that are not accompanied by an Inkulinati Master, against Beast Lairs, where beasts will appear in each chapter, or we can take a break with merchants or other characters who will allow us to buy new miniatures, relieve boredom or restore our health.

Inkulinati screenshot 1

Inkulinati also has a local PvP mode that allows you to go head-to-head with a friend. For those playing the Steam version, it is also possible to play online using Steam Remote Play. In this local PvP mode, we can choose the battleground and which Inkulinati Masters we want to fight, as well as customising our army. The same mode, Duel, can be played against another player or AI.

Inkulinati is based on the very original idea of bringing to life the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. It turned out to be a very good idea, guaranteeing us several hours of fun. However, it is not only the idea that is original, but also the entire implementation. The game has no flaws, and the characterisation of the characters that represent the Inkulinati Masters is also unique. All of this is surrounded by an ironic atmosphere that makes the gameplay light and very enjoyable.

After all, who wouldn’t want to hit Dante Alighieri with a donkey’s fart?

Our verdict

Inkulinati is a masterfully crafted title that brings a unique and singular style to our screens. Despite its ironic atmosphere, Inkulinati offers a well-balanced and progressively challenging gameplay.

  • Original idea
  • Attention to detail
  • Increasing challenge
  • Lack of secondary modes or side campaigns