Originally released in early 2020 on Nintendo Switch, Inbento is a casual puzzle game that anyone can play. The play-at-your-own-pace approach is super laid back and the silent narrative about a Mommy cat prepping a meal for her young kitten might even jerk a few tears.
Everything I said in my Switch review holds the same here in this Xbox version as nothing has been drastically added or changed. The biggest addition is of course, Achievements, in which they are all unlocked through natural play and worth large point totals.
In summary, the player must place Tetris-like pieces inside a box, making it look exactly like the sample image in the corner of the screen. To do this, players must rotate and overlap pieces usually in a specific sequence. With 14 levels composed of 9 stages each, the 120+ puzzles might take a few hours to complete. As there is no timer and no penalty for error, this is a puzzle game as laid back as they come. The transitioning cartoon-like cutscenes between each level are also some of the most heartwarming images you’ll ever see and should make the hearts of players swell. These panels are so well done, players can access them at any time from the main menu. Also, the soundtrack! It is so good and so relaxing, I just want to have it looped even when I am not playing.
It is interesting because if this game’s gameplay was presented as a simple block moving puzzle game, it would not create the same impression. Instead, the devs took the time to create a loving story arc, put some effort into the comic book panels, and decided to turn the pieces into sushi. They built something around the gameplay to make it more appealing and they hit it out of the park.
As charming as the experience is, Inbento lacks replay value. Once you complete a puzzle, it is on to the next. There are no additional features to unlock, no multiplayer modes, and no leaderboards to climb. But given the low cost and easy-going style of play, there are plenty of calming puzzles to enjoy. This is easily one of the most cozy puzzle experiences you’ll find on modern consoles.