Art strategy game Inkulinati gets 1.0 launch in February, still an illuminated manuscript full of warring animals

Not to denigrate either the efforts of either the comms or dev teams, but when a game has been knocking around my consciousness for a while, eventually I just move it it from a mental box marked “in development” to “probably out now, innit” without any input from anyone else. Inkulinati, a turn-based strategy game where you play a medieval artist duking it out with another artist on the pages of an illuminated manuscript, is one such. It’s been kicking about on Steam since at least 2019, and in fairness to me it did launch in January last year – it just went into early access. These factors contributed to me being sort of surprised at the reveal of the actual release date for 1.0, which is February 22nd.

Taking inspiration from how odd medieval art could get, in Inkulinati you pick a scribe to play as, represented on the page, and then draw in weird farting rabbits and dogs with spears to sally forth. If your Inkulinati is killed or knocked off the page, your enemy wins, and vice-y verse-y. It sounds whimsical, but I played a bit around the early access launch and it can get tasty, requiring the kind of “planning a few moves ahead” thinking that I’m just not very good at, but do respect.

Perhaps the star feature, though, is the art style. It all plays out on the vellum pages of an old-timey book, and you can sometimes see your hand drawing or poking things, like in the animations from Monty Python. The colours and thick lines and even the odd proportions are all very in-keeping with the weirdo medieval art you see if you follow any of those Twitter accounts that are like Medieval Cowposting or Chaucer’s Wyrd Memes For Liturgical Teens or whatever.

Keen-eyed readers will note this is very similar to the art style employed by historical murder mystery Pentiment, and you would be correct. Last year Andreas, the main character from Pentiment, was added to Inkulinati as a playable character, in a crossover event I would describe as a cool no-brainer for all involved.

Inkulinati has had a few updates over the last year, and has been generally well-received by players if the “mostly positive” review rating on Steam is anything to go buy. I’ve not played it for a while, but if you’ve been waiting for the 1.0 before you make the jump then warm up your knees for February the 22nd.

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