When it comes to both food and mobile games, appearances matter. If something doesn’t look good, you probably won’t eat it; and if a mobile game looks like trash, you’re probably never going to play it. Thankfully, inbento is knocking it out of the park on both fronts, using tasty Japanese boxed lunches (bento) to prepare an adorable puzzle game for Android.
In this simple, wordless story, you play as a sweet mama cat making beautiful bento for her kitten. Mimicking the passage of time, your bento become bigger and more complex as you beat progressively harder levels and your kitten grows up. This super cute game may not reinvent the puzzling wheel, but its wonderful presentation and execution make it a superb addition to any puzzle lover’s library.
Each puzzle is laid out like a recipe. Your job is to precisely match your bento to the cookbook with the handful of delicious foods you’re given, like chunks of salmon, roe, rice, and more. The trick lies in the order of placement, and when and where you use a few extra elements that can radically alter your bento. You must use all available pieces to succeed.
There are fourteen sections for you to unlock, each with nine puzzles to beat. Don’t let the painfully simple first couple of levels fool you, either. After the game has a chance to teach you the basic mechanics, inbento starts to ramp up its difficulty by adding a few twists to the formula into the mix.
For example, most pieces of your lunch can be rotated, but maybe in this particular puzzle two of them are locked in place. Or maybe your bento is already full, but now you need to use sliders or swappers to get your ingredients into the right spots. The deceptively minimal aesthetic masks a surprisingly complicated experience.
The game’s acoustic piano soundtrack and fun sound design put the finishing touches on this delightful meal. I especially love the satisfying squishy sound that plays while you’re moving pieces of your bento around.
I don’t have any major critiques for inbento, but I would have appreciated the inclusion of a hint system (like the one from Line Blaster). There’s also no option to skip levels, which can become problematic in the challenging latter levels. If you find yourself stuck, you pretty much have no other choice but to turn to the internet for the solution.
At $2.99, inbento is a premium puzzler with 120+ levels to conquer. Depending on how fast you play, the experience might be over before you know it, but if you take your time and play a handful a day, you can make this meal last a little bit longer. Play Pass subscribers can also pick up this charming title for free.
Not only does your three bucks support an indie developer, but 1% of inbento’s revenue is donated to Animal Rescue Polska; a nice touch that I would love to see more developers include in their games. A strong contender for our list of best Play Pass games, inbento is an appetizing puzzler that I would highly recommend to just about anyone.
A lovely little puzzle game, inbento challenges you to prepare perfect bento boxes—cooked up with love, of course.
Buy from: Google Play Store
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A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.