Inkbound, the action RPG from the makers of Monster Train, is having an open playtest this weekend

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Shiny Shoe, the developer of Monster Train—our pick as the best card game of 2020 (opens in new tab), by the way—announced last year that it's working on a new tactical roguelike RPG called Inkbound (opens in new tab). It's set to come out later this year, and this weekend you can get a look at what it's all about in a playtest that's open to everyone.

To get into the Inkbound playtest, just head around to Steam (opens in new tab) and click the button to request access, which will be granted on the spot. It's about a 1GB download, and then you're off to the races. 

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. "Discover the magical Atheneum and the infinite worlds contained within to protect it and become the fabled Inkbound," the Steam page says. "Or break free from your station and unravel the real story behind your creation."

Colour me intrigued! Also interesting is the combat, which unlike many ARPGs is turn-based rather than real time, making for slower, more relaxed fantasy throwdowns. Even though it's a very different sort of game than Monster Train, I can see it having similar appeal: Evan said in his 2020 game of the year assessment that Monster Train plays more like a board game than most digital CCGs, which "forces you to think carefully (but not agonizingly so) about the chronological flow of enemies, where you want to plug a thorny Animus who hurls damage at the back line, or toss down a certain status effect-inducing defender to debuff enemies." There looks to be a lot of that in Inkbound, too.

The Inkbound playtest is live now on Steam and will run until January 23. Have a look at some screens below.

(Image credit: Shiny Shoe)

(Image credit: Shiny Shoe)

(Image credit: Shiny Shoe)

(Image credit: Shiny Shoe)

(Image credit: Shiny Shoe)

Inkbound screen

(Image credit: Shiny Shoe)
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.