About four years ago, one of my favorite games was an indie fighter called Skullgirls. Now, I’m not particularly good at fighting games, but that game had so much raw love and style in its art, animation, characters, and more, that I couldn’t help but love the everloving heck out of it. So when I found out that the game’s developer, Lab Zero, was crowdfunding an RPG, I had to chip in, if only a little. It’s been a crazy long cycle full of delays and trickling information, but finally, after all these years, I finally got to play Indivisible.
Indivisible follows Ajna, a rough-and-tumble youth from the small village of Ashwat. One day, after getting in a shouting match with her father Indr, Ajna’s home is attacked by the Navar army, who sets it ablaze. The soldiers’ leader, Dhar, kills Indr in cold blood, enraging Ajna. In her heightened emotional state, an odd ability unlocks within her: Ajna can absorb people into her mind, keeping them inside her “inner realm.” After absorbing Dhar and forcing him into working for her, Ajna sets out to find Dhar’s lord and make him pay for his crimes, learning more about the world and her strange abilities and meeting all sorts of warriors along the way.
Ajna’s journey will take her through dense forests, ancient ruins, and sprawling cityscapes. Throughout the game, you’ll pick up new weapons and abilities that allow you to navigate more of the map, not unlike Metroid. A spear lets you bounce on spikes, an axe can be used to hang from walls, a bow can flip distant switches, and so forth. You’ll want to explore as much as you can, not just for completion’s sake, but because Indivisible‘s world is completely hand-drawn and beautiful to look at. There’s lots of characters to talk to and cool backdrops to see, though obviously moreso in the populated areas.
When combat starts, Ajna’s party appears from her Inner Realm to join her. Ajna and three party members of your choice (and you’ll have a lot to choose from) each have their actions mapped to your four face buttons. Pressing their respective button along with up or down unleashes different kinds of attacks. Different characters have different roles and mechanics; Dhar, for example, can summon rock chunks that enhance his sword attacks, while the shamaness Razmi can fling spells from a distance as well as hex foes to slow them down. You can see a lot of influence from Lab Zero’s fighting game origins here; there’s a heavy emphasis on building combos and knocking enemies out of defensive stances.
While I have been enjoying my playthrough overall, I have begun a pile of nitpicks. For one thing, this game is buggy as heck. I haven’t encountered anything game breaking, thankfully, but there have been a few moments that ruined my immersion somewhat. In one instance, during an overarching quest where I needed to complete three objectives in three locations, after completing the first, Ajna pumped her first and declared “that’s all three, we’re done!” It was only a scripting glitch, mind you; the game’s progression was fine. Even so, little things like that crop up more than I’d like. Some of the platforming-heavy sections also get a little tedious, requiring numerous frame perfect jumps in an engine that doesn’t exactly handle frame-perfect jumping with expertise. The combat can get a little sloggy at times, with many common enemies having health bars much longer than really necessary. Some character mechanics are also poorly explained, or sometimes not explained at all, so a more detailed tutorial would’ve gone a long way.
Even so, in spite of more than a few glaring technical flaws, I can’t put this game down, and the reason is its characters. Every member of your ever-growing party is lovable in their own way (Razmi, in particular, deadpanned her way into my heart almost immediately), and while some plot beats are on the cliche side, the characters all show some genuine development over the course of the story. Or, most of them do, at least. There are optional party members you can pick up, but unfortunately, they have little to no impact on the main story and are mostly relegated to their personal sidequests. Regardless, I’ve stomached far worse-playing games in the name of entertaining writing, so this game’s story is plenty to keep me going.
Though Indivisible definitely has some problems now, I wholeheartedly believe they will all be remedied in time. After all, Skullgirls was pretty shaky when it started, but Lab Zero kept on tweaking it for years after its original release, and I have every belief they will do the same here. Plus, there’s more characters coming later as free DLC, though I hope they add some additional sidequests or something to go along with them. For now, you might want to wait for a couple of patches and fixes. Once things are in a more optimal state, definitely give this one a play.
- Entertaining story and characters
- Beautiful artwork
- Fun, fast-paced combat
- Annoying platforming sections
- Some missing features