The creators of 2020's best deckbuilder are making a tactical multiplayer RPG

Shiny Shoe, the developer of 2020's best card game, Monster Train, is following up that success with Inkbound, a tactical roguelike RPG with a focus on co-op play and some hints of live service aspirations.

Shiny Shoe traded Monster Train's demons busting out of hell for "Binders," the defenders of the Atheneum, "a world that contains all of the stories ever written." That premise seems to lend Inkbound a wide variety of environments to explore and do battle in, including "nightmarish carnivals, ancient ruins on the brink of volcanic annihilation, and more."

Shiny Shoe describes Inkbound's combat system as a hybrid between action-RPG gameplay and something more tactical and methodical, with "snappy and quick" turns, but also the ability to fully weigh out every move.

Inkbound also promises the same compelling build crafting Jody Macgregor noted in our initial review of Monster Train, this time in the form of character abilities as opposed to collectible cards. While co-op is "rewarded, but not required," the cooperative play seems to be a big focus for Shiny Shoe, with an emphasis on ability combos between players and different members of a group embodying different adventuring roles.

Shiny Shoe seems to be pursuing a live service angle with the game as well, stating in its press release that "This is a living game, which provides us with the opportunity to nurture our community over the long term." The statement continues, "Our goal is to give Binders new surprises to discover every week—whether it's deadly new enemies, powerful loot, or even entirely new biomes."

That's certainly a big ask for a smaller developer, but is perhaps a much more feasible idea for an indie roguelike as opposed to a triple-A action game like Crystal Dynamics' Avengers. Inkbound is currently set to release some time in 2023.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.