Release Date: July 30, 2021
In the interest of transparency, I added inbento to my project list based on the release date given by SteamDB of July 30, 2021. The Steam store page lists an older release date of September 3, 2019, however the game release announcement post was made on July 30, 2021 so, despite not really knowing the reason for the discrepancy, I decided to still consider it to be a qualifying game.
Over the years, I’ve amassed a pretty large collection of pure puzzle games. They’re usually relatively inexpensive, and are fantastic for when I’ve only got a few minutes and want to keep myself occupied while waiting for something else. Back in March, inbento was included in the Itch.io mega charity Bundle for Ukraine, and that’s where I picked it up.
I would say that inbento is story-light enough to be considered a pure puzzle game. Every chapter’s worth of puzzle you complete, you’re given a cute image or two of the Momma cat and her kittens, but there’s no cut scenes, no text, and no exploration elements.
Each level requires you to put together a lunch box that exactly matches the recipe in the upper right hand corner of the screen from the parts available to you. The entire first chapter is mind-numbingly easy, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. Most chapters introduce a new sort of mechanic; so far I’ve seen part-swapping, un-rotatable pieces, part removal for reuse, and part duplication blocks. After about an hour’s playtime, I’m partway through chapter eight (out of fourteen), and have completed just over half the puzzles in the game.
Probably my biggest annoyance with the game is the controls, most specifically that pressing “R” resets the puzzle rather than rotates the piece. Unfortunately, I could not find any way to rebind keys to make it more intuitive for me, but thus far, even resetting puzzles accidentally has been, at worst, a few seconds of setback.
It seems reasonable to assume that most competent puzzlers will get at least two to three hours of play from inbento, and will likely find themselves really having to think about solutions as the game progresses. There is a setting in the options to reset all game progress if you ever want to replay the whole game, which is a nice touch, since I sometimes come back to games after extended periods away. All in all, it’s a pretty adorable little package with solid puzzles for a reasonable price, and I’m pleased to have in my collection of pure puzzlers.
SteamDB estimates that inbento has sold between 2,000 and 5,600 copies on Steam. It’s gotten almost no negative reviews so far. It is ranked 741 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.