Inkulinati is a turn-based combat inspired by medieval manuscripts

In Inkulinati by Yaza Games, draw your way to victory on medieval manuscripts — now available to back on Kickstarter!

Inkulinati created by Yaza Games is a new turn-based strategy combat game with a twist. You fight with Living Ink to draw your own army made from medieval animals, taken from medieval manuscripts. 

The game was inspired by the truly weird and wonderful animals drawn in the margins of medieval manuscripts, called marginalia. For example, dog armies fought battles against rabbit armies in the margins, which sparked the idea for the game. The humour of these little sketches was also captured, keeping true to the original artists of these works — for example, the Donkey Bard plays the butt trumpet! (Medieval manuscripts, it turns out, had a lot of butt jokes.)

In Inkulinati, you play as the Master of Living Ink or Inkulinati. The Inkulinati battle one another on the pages of medieval manuscripts by drawing beasts. As they are drawn with magical ink, the creatures come to life and battle each other. As you progress through the game, you learn new techniques, allowing you to draw more units and create new ones with different skills. The first character the Inkulinati Masters draw is themselves as a Tiny-Inkulinati — and to win the battle, you must destroy your rival’s Tiny-Inkulinati.

The battlefields can have different levels and interactive pieces of equipment to help or hinder you. Your Tiny-Inkulinati can even push characters off the edge of the manuscript to kill them (a move the enemy made against me with devastating effect on several occasions!).

I played the demo of this game and I had a lot of fun! The artwork is really cute, with each character having its own name. As you battle, the book above you is filled with medieval-style writing about what’s happened in the battle. I loved the variety of different units, each with fun animations.

Godfrey battles using ink in Inkulinati
Godfrey battles using ink in Inkulinati

To start with I played as Godfrey, a Knight who leads the dog army, against Hildegard, a Nun who leads a rabbit army and specialises in healing. I unlocked five units: a Dog Archer, a Dog Swordsman, a Dog Spearman, a Donkey Bard and a Mighty Dog (a powerful version of the Dog Swordsman). Each one is super cute and has an important role to play in the battle. The tutorial takes you through how to play. 

I felt that overall it was good fun, but a few areas could have been clearer — I was swiped into the fire on the edge of the map by the enemy AI as I hadn’t realised how this feature worked! I had to play the first game several times before I got the hang of the game and won a battle (using the Normal difficulty), so there is definitely a steep learning curve. The difficulty could be tweaked slightly or the tutorial made clearer to start with.

After unlocking all of the units for Godfrey, I tried playing as the Master. This character looks like a medieval Yoda and has five different units: Strange Knight, Strange Spearman, Strange Slinger, Strange Bishop and an Exploding Head. These characters were definitely strange — creatures that have the body of a snake, bird legs and hands! They also have different attacks, hiding multiple creatures at once (including your own).

Attacking a Rabbit Spearman in Inkulinati
Attacking a Rabbit Spearman in Inkulinati

Once I got the hang of Inkulinati, it was a lot of fun! The tutorial progresses into using battlefields with two levels and objects scattered across the map. The objects, in particular, added a fun addition to the map — not only do they limit the number of units you can create (as there’s less space), exploding barrels damage enemy opponents!

The full game will include a story campaign where you can create your own hero, and progress by building your own army and develop your skills to fight to become the Inkuliminati champion! It will also include a variety of quests and battles, such as fighting Wild Beasts, random encounters, trading with merchants and drinking in taverns. I’m really looking forward to playing the full game and trying these out!

The Kickstarter campaign ends on 25th June at 3.56pm BST, and is now fully funded — but you can still back the game to get a copy of the game when it is completed. Physical rewards include an Inkulinati notebook, a medieval hood for your dog and a Inkulinati t-shirt. It’s currently available only for PC via Steam, with a Nintendo Switch version available as a stretch goal (if it reaches $55k in funding).

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