When a highly anticipated crowdfunded release is about to hit store shelves, I always find myself pondering how the game is going to be received. Is it going to be a disaster like Mighty No. 9? Or is it going to be a highly revered and successful title like Shovel Knight? After my first hour with Indivisible, I wasn’t quite sure. But after a couple more hours taking in the beautiful art style and experiencing the unique combat mechanics, I knew that this game was something special – a true love letter to the RPG genre well and truly worth the over four year wait.
This level of detail is proof that the game was made with pure love
The story of Indivisible places you in the shoes of Ajna, an assertive teenager who grew up on the outskirts of the Ashwat Village. Ajna’s relatively peaceful life is quickly thrown into turmoil when her village is attacked, quickly sending her on a journey around the world trying to get revenge on those who coordinated the attacks, all the while trying to come to grips with a mysterious power that awoke in her that day. The narrative does fall victim to some generic and predictable story beats (especially in the beginning), however I found myself enjoying the tale that the game told.
The story succeeds in part due to its likable, fleshed out characters. As Ajna makes her way through the world she encounters many allies along the way, with many of them becoming supporting characters. Each character in combat plays differently, but each character also has their only personality and ambitions. For example, Dhar is a dedicated soldier who seeks to gain approval from his Lord, while Ginseng is just an adorable girl who talks of her love of botany. Dialogue throughout the game is also rather humorous, with characters like Razmi providing comic relief. Even though there are so many supporting characters in Indivisible, I feel like the game succeeds in giving each enough character and personality.
Ajna is a cool and confident protagonist
Gameplay-wise, Indivisible is an turn-based action-RPG/platforming hybrid with metroidvania elements. Despite dipping its toes in several bodies of water, Indivisible plays brilliantly. Combat on the surface looks and can often feel extremely simple, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you could easily progress through the game by mindless button mashing. Don’t let the surface level simplicity fool you though, as Indivisible’s combat has a surprising level of depth. For example, some enemies have shields that need to be broken, which in turn requires a character that has up and down attack moves. Some enemies have weaker spots that may require you to up attack them into the air, exposing their weaker underbelly. Some character attacks even heal enemies, with Thorani’s water based attacks healing the lobster enemies. While the combat at its core is still rather simple, having to chain attacks to break shields or expose weaknesses ensures the combat doesn’t get bland. Some battles even have action RPG combat segments interspersed by the turn-based combat, which in turn provides for unique enemy encounters.
When you aren’t in combat, Indivisible establishes itself as yet another great indie metroidvania platformer. Despite a really minor grievance with the platforming (I’ll mention it later), I can happily say that Ajna traverses environments perfectly well, and most locales you visit force you to make use of abilities you’ve gathered along the way. The axe for example allows you to wedge it into walls allowing for access to previously unreachable areas, while the spear can be used as pogo stick to easily move across once dangerous terrain. In short, both the combat and platforming in Indivisible is an absolute treat.
Combat is easy to learn and hard to master
Indivisible did have me engrossed by its extremely detailed locales, its lovable characters and the surprisingly strategic combat, however there were a few things that I didn’t love, with most rearing their head in the first few hours. Firstly, the combat in the early hours made each character feel horribly weak, which in turn made battles feel far too long and boring. It wasn’t that my characters died easily, it was just the fact that attacks felt like they didn’t leave a scratch on my enemies. This does thankfully fade after a few hours, but it did have me fearing that Indivisible was going to be a let down. Thankfully I can say not that isn’t the case. Secondly, while I did state earlier that the platforming is great, on some occasions Ajna’s momentum would randomly slow down mid-jump, leading to frustrating errors. Most of the time the fluidity of movement felt excellent, but the random spurts of awkward momentum was definitely annoying.
The start of the game had me a little worried
Indivisible is not only a crowdfunding success, but also a great success as a game on its own merits. The art style is jaw dropping, the attention to detail in the environments are on a level I can’t recall seeing in a game before, and the mishmash of gameplay styles leads to rewarding and enjoyable gameplay. The characters are also great and provide plenty of funny moments. Anyone who is a fan of RPGs or metroidvania titles should definitely give Indivisible a whirl.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro // Review code supplied by publisher