INSCRYPTION is a deck-building roguelike game with puzzles and meta psych-horror elements. It was released for windows in October 2021 by indie dev Daniel Mullens, creator of Pony Island (2016), and went on to receive a port for consoles in August of 2022.

INSCRYPTION was popularized due to large youtubers such as Markiplier, ManlyBadassHero, Penguinz0, and more doing playthroughs and praising the game's atmosphere and excellent gameplay-loop.


Consisting of 3 different acts as well as meta sections, an epilogue, and extra downloadable content, INSCRYPTION shows off its ability to cover and cohesively connect genres.

  • The first ACT, LESHY's cabin, is a strong introduction to the game's functions and general feeling. In this almost claustrophobic space, you play through LESHY's game (narrated like a tabletop roleplaying game,) and slowly uncover more secrets and information through a cycle of losses and rebirths as well as puzzles hidden both in your surroundings and right on the board in front of you.
  • The second ACT, the BASE GAME is a classic RPG card game, leaning heavily into the deck-building function as well as the retro aesthetics of smaller scale 90s RPGs. This section has more than a few subtle hints to the meta nature of the game as a whole and gives the player the chance to piece together what really occurred during the game's in-universe development early on. Here, you meet the other three SCRYBES and their wards, learning more about the different card types: BEAST, UNDEAD, MAGICK AND TECHNOLOGY.
  • The third and final full ACT and my personal favorite, P03's factory, is somewhat of a mirror to ACT I. You are again put in a sort of perpetual boss level where you play the scrybe's game, although this act lacks act 1's colorful narration and applies more futuristic, detailed visuals in its stead. This act leans into the Meta themes HEAVILY, as P03 does not even so much as attempt to shy away from its end goals. Using secrets, Easter eggs and information found in the past two ACTs, ACT III leads a deep-dive that continues all the way into the EPILOGUE.
  • The EPILOGUE. The final moments of the game consist of you having your last battles with the SCRYBES before everything is "reduced to nothing". They mourn the lost rounds you could have played together as the game comes to a close, one line of code at a time. Melancholy if not just truly heartbreaking, you shake the SCRYBES' hands as they praise you for assisting them thus far and for being a truly worthy adversary.
  • While I myself am more partial for the in-game sections, the Meta or ARG parts of the game are incredibly well made and admirable in their own right. Luke Carder, our protagonist and "player" is perfectly thematic- likeable but not extremely memorable, present but just so little that you can forget that you aren't just playing as yourself- amazing. He's a perfect "just some guy" character, that fits into the plot wonderfully as an ironically unlucky fly caught in a web of things bigger than himself.

    The scrybes are the "main antagonists" of INSCRYPTION, with the goal of the in-universe game being to defeat and replace one of them. Each scrybe holds a specific deck-type and area where cards of said type can be found or purchased.

  • Being the first scrybe you meet upon starting the game, LESHY uses his wildlife camera to transfigure creatures of BLOOD into cards to be used in his deck-type. He plays out each boss battle almost reminiscent of a Dungeon Master, donning different masks to act out the roles of The Angler, The Prospector and The Trapper/Trader.

  • Recieving the most screen-time during the BASE GAME or ACT II, Grimora uses her quill to inscribe epitaphs of the dead to create the cards used in her deck-type. She is not given a full ACT of her own, but I suspect that based on her general aesthetic, it may have had a sort of retro dungeon-crawler theme.

  • The main Scrybe of ACT III and the largest in-game antagonist, P03 uses its partical scanner to copy CPUs and print cards to be used in its deck-type. P03 is the only inorganic scrybe and resents both the other scrybes and player very openly. It has a tendency to insult the player during its game, a foil to Leshy's somewhat condescending but encouraging dialogue during ACT I. Though P03's game lacks much of Leshy's atmosphere, it makes up for it in way of visuals, more game functions, and more interactive BOSS BATTLES.

  • Similarly to Grimora, Magnificus has very little screen-time. Cruel and sadistic towards his wards, he uses his paintbrush to paint the visages of his wizard pupils into cards to be used in his deck-type. Befitting of his character as a great magician, much of this scrybe is cast in mystery. Not only is he the most difficult to encounter in the BASE GAME, requiring more complex puzzles than the other scrybes, but his segment in the PROLOGUE ends abruptly. Magnificus also appears to have one of the most unique layouts for his games, looking more reminiscent of YUGIOH as opposed to the other scrybes' tabletop playstyles.

    Meta-game that INSCRYPTION is, it is also a brilliant ARG ( alternate reality game ) with so many clues and tricks to what it all meant- what it was all for.
    In the end, P03 prevails as my favorite character of them all due to how in-depth its character truly is. It is cold and cruel and patronizing and dismissive but, in the end, it is what a computer is at the most base concept: calculating. It calculates perfectly, it predicts masterfully, and in the end succeeds in its goals, with the assistance of no one but ourself as the player.

    Revisiting, replaying, retracing steps, every look at this game, these characters, this reality, every tidbit of information works towards the deep world-building and narratives in a way many games fail. I struggle to name even a single project as interactive, extensive and complex as the INSCRYPTION ARG. And to this day, and the foreseeable future, I cannot imagine another game I have adored more.