Inscryption, an Eye and a Tooth


Dixon Smith, Sports Department Head

This article contains some minor spoilers. If you intend to preserve the gameplay experience in its entirety, I do not recommend reading further.

Inscryption, the 2021 game developed by Daniel Mullins, is a disturbing, prepossessing, odyssey-style game. Players are set at a table in a cabin in the woods playing cards against a demented gamemaster that the sparsely located candles and lanterns do not reveal any detail of, other than his ominous gaze.

Starved group of wanderers beckoning you to the fire, their intentions less than benevolent (In-game screenshot, Staff)


Players progress by traveling through different stages on a path represented by a scroll laid on a table. Players collect cards and add them to their deck as they go . The evolution of the cards, interactions with the Gamemaster, and the player’s exploration of the cabin tell the story. Eventually, the player’s cards become sentient and confront players into questioning the morality of their creation.

You must choose a card to sacrifice (In-game screenshot, Staff)

      Inscryption is easily the most uniquely enjoyable game I’ve played.

The art style feels disturbing and peculiar; an unrecognizable figure in a dim cabin with a set of familiar retro-style sentient playing cards. The visuals capture an air of engagement not typically felt in other games. This is accomplished by strapping players to the edge of their seats in apprehension of the next abominating or discomforting event and what piece of the story it tells.

Rusted and probably unsterilized pliers (In-game screenshot, Staff)
Your reddened vision from the pain of having an unannounced tooth extraction (In-game screenshot, Staff)

There are certain mechanics in the form of items that help players beat stages and bosses. Items come in all forms, from pliers the player can use to pluck out their teeth and tip the scales in their favor to sacrificial black goats in a jar.



The story development is entertaining and captivating, separated into 3 acts, starting in the cabin. Going into detail about the 2nd and 3rd acts would spoil the experience, so I won’t.

The gameplay is challenging and lively. The player will fail and fail and fail. Then they will fail again. It is how it is designed to be. This isn’t to discourage the player because each time they fail the game unlocks more of the story. Even when the player isn’t meant to fail, the game is a difficult puzzle that develops as you progress through the stages but contains enough roadblocks that hinder players from progressing too quickly. In this way, the player’s interest is preserved and their determination renewed as they learn how to piece things together.

With the sound of The Prospector’s pickaxe still ringing in your ears, you carried onwards. (In-game screenshot, Staff)

The game’s sounds are effective in their purpose and satisfactory to the ear but don’t add much to the game on their own. The purpose of this is to draw attention back to the disturbing imagery and further immerse the player into the visuals.

Inscryption’s ability to interest the player is impressive for an indie game, especially when compared to how recycled, unimpressive, and disappointing many major brands and titles have become. Inscryption is a breath of fresh air.


The transmutation is complete. Sometimes the cards aren’t so fortunate (In-game screenshot, Staff)
Why have 2 wolf cards when you can have 1 super-card? (In-game screenshot, Staff)







The Angler gazes into you as the musk of rotting fish assails your nose… (In-game screenshot, Staff)


It’s difficult to effectively communicate on Inscryption’s intrigue while leaving its thoughtfully crafted story unspoiled, so I will use Steam customer reviews to reiterate.

“I’m literally speechless. This game is so amazing. It’s also so hard to make a review on it without spoiling it. So if you haven’t played this game already, just buy it, don’t look anything up, play it, let the magic happen, and trust me, your mind will be blown by the end of this game. That’s the whole deal, if you go in blind … you’ll love it. Literally one of the best games I’ve played in a while!…”

‘Ayuu’, December 18th, 2021

“It confronts you as the player with your own expectations of video games. Expectations that have been created by putting in countless hours into the monotonous content that so-called AAA studios feed to the community…

When I finally watched those end-credits it reminded me of beating Super Mario World for the first time back in 1992. I just sat there, feeling weirdly touched by what I just went through waiting for another curveball…

Inscryption is the most unusual and fun game I have experienced in many many years. It’s a game that oozes with so much energy and dedication, something that I didn’t think games [kept], with the reasons behind their development [being monetary]”

‘Karl H’, December 28th, 2021

Fresh fish, easy choose… (In-game screenshot, Staff)

These are 2 reviews of over 50,000 for Inscryption on Steam. 48,000 of those reviews are ranked “Overwhelmingly Positive” by Steam, and some of the “Negative” reviews seem to be ironic or by accident.

Well worth its $20 on the Steam store page, Inscryption shows intrigue unlike any other title of 2020.