Making food for yourself is easy; crack open a box of whatever’s available and dig in. Making food for a loved one, on the other hand, is a bit more effort. It can’t just be edible but actually needs to be good, and also arranged in an attractive manner if at all possible. This is especially true for bento boxes, and while the mom in Inbento may not be quite so detail-obsessed as some she still puts in the effort to create a bento filled with a good variety of ingredients arranged just right. There is, however, a slight drawback to her method in that instead of placing the food in the box in whichever way seems best, there are rules defining where everything goes and no two bento will ever come out the same.
The goal of Inbento is to arrange squares of ingredients to recreate a specific design, with the issue being that the squares coming in a prearranged configuration. The trick is to rotate, cover, and exchange squares in just the right order to build the perfect bento, and as each lunch gets more ornate the puzzle of its construction gets trickier. Initially it’s just a matter of order, placing small configurations into place, covering up an unneeded square of rice with leafy greens or fish, and rotating everything into place. Soon enough the bento boxes get larger, with more squares to fill, and more tools show up to complicate placement. Inbento is an adorable little puzzler about a mom cat making her child lunch, and while the rules don’t make a lot of sense for the situation the charm of its presentation and cleverness of the puzzles is more than enough to override any questions of why mom-cat can’t just rearrange the tiles by hand.
Inbento launched today on just about everything- Switch, PC (Steam and itch.io), and Xbox One/S/X, although it’s been out on mobile for a while now. The trailer is more narrative than explanatory but even so is super-cute, so give it a watch below.