Developer: Lab Zero Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Action RPG, Platformer
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Steam
Version Tested: PS4
Official Site: Indivisible
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
In a land that has known peace for 16 years, an evil militia begins raining terror upon villages. Unfortunately for them, one such village is home to Ajna: a young but strong-willed girl who vows revenge against their leader. But there are even darker forces at play, as Ajna discovers she isn’t any normal girl. Thus begins Indivisible, one of the most simple yet addictive action-RPGs I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
The Chosen One
The story begins in a rural village as soldiers attack. The town is burned and all the people slaughtered, save for Ajna, the village leader’s daughter who then watches him die. The main story revolves around her seeking revenge against the militia’s leader, Ravannavar. But as it progresses, you learn he’s really just a lackey for an imprisoned deity who will wreak havoc on the world if freed. This isn’t really a spoiler, as the opening shows a group of warriors defeating the goddess and sealing her away. I won’t give away why or how it is that Ajna is the one who must defeat this deity. But it’s important to note that the overall plot is pretty generic. A chosen one meant to defeat an ageless evil before it destroys the world? It’s unfitting for the rest of the game’s elements, which are remarkable.
The feature that isn’t generic in the least, however, is the characterization of each hero. After her village is destroyed, Ajna gains the ability to bring others into the Inner Realm inside her head. It’s an interesting way of having her companions travel with her as she’s the only on on-screen outside of battles and cutscenes. You can meditate to visit them at any point. Some characters play bigger roles than others; playing key parts in the story while others just offer different fighting styles. But all of them are racially and morally diverse. The stoicism of Zebei the archer, the excitable fangirl Nuna, the nervousness of Ginseng the healer, out to prove herself. They’re all surprisingly unique and they make Indivisible shine brighter in a story sense. Plus, there is a bevy of them hidden throughout the world that can join your team.
Indivisible also doesn’t make you choose which characters to take along in the story. One of my favorites, who you find early on, is the darkly comedic Razmi. I didn’t love her fighting style and she has one of the weakest HP stats in the game. I ended up switching her almost as soon as I could. But I was delighted to find that she still plays a big part when it comes to the story and interacting with NPCs. Most of the main cast are still important, regardless of whether or not you use them on your four-person team. Along with the dim-witted but strong-headed Ajna, Razmi is one of the key sources of humor in the game. Though you may not guess from the dark beginning, Indivisible is genuinely funny.
As good as the characters are, it’s the gameplay that’s the main star. There are two categories. Traversing the world as Ajna gives you platforming elements. While at first, it’s simply running and jumping, Ajna gains new weapons as you progress. These come into play during combat, but you also use them to reach new areas. She can use her ax to cling to walls and pull herself up. She can eventually use a spear to pogo over dangerous terrain ala Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales. Ajna’s controls are a little bit stiff and she doesn’t jump as far or high as I’d like. But each new area gives her a different weapon or ability, which does freshen things up. You’ll come across enemies during these sections. A battle begins when one of you hits the other. And here’s where things get really interesting.
They look like standard RPG battles, but they’re a tad different. Each hero is set to one of the four main buttons. You can press a hero’s button to have them attack. But pressing Up or Down will have them attack in a different way. Many of the characters have special abilities that are activated by pressing their buttons with a direction. Take the healer Thorani, for example. Her standard attack shoots a ball of water from afar while her down attack has her run close to an enemy and smack them with a wave, which hits them several times. Both attacks leave puddles on the floor. Her up attack “activates” the puddles, making them heal allies and damage enemies that run over them.
As you progress and level your heroes up, you’re able to attack with each hero more times in a row. This makes for immensely satisfying combos as you juggle your enemies, dealing heaps of damage. You also have a special meter, which increases in bar count as you level up. Using more bars increases the power of the special for some heroes. But others do different things depending on how many bars you use. Attacking adds to the meter. You press the button of whichever teammate is being attacked to block. But holding it for longer subtracts from your special meter. These mechanics start slow, as you only have access to a weaponless Ajna during the first battle. But it isn’t long before you’re stringing together combos between powerful heroes.
A Colorful World
Indivisible was developed by Lab Zero Games, the same team behind the fighting game Skullgirls. And the gorgeous, hand-drawn 2D art style is even stronger here. Not only is this cartoonish art direction fantastic to look at, but it also makes each environment pop. Each area you venture to looks vastly different from the last. There’s the bustling, neon city of Tai Krung. But there’s also the ancient, Aztec-like city of Kaanul, cut off from the rest of society.
Each city is also packed with citizens. It immediately reminded me of the levels from Street Fighter II and how each person was repeating the same motion. Exploring off the beaten path will often lead to hard-to-reach Ringsels. You use these special gems to increase your attack or defense. You can also find minor sidequests, which will lead to other optional heroes, or Incarnations as the game calls them.
This is a much simpler experience than many other RPGs, so don’t expect to find stat boost items outside of the Ringsels. Ajna herself carries no money. But for someone like myself, who often finds Final Fantasy and The Witcher overwhelming, I was grateful to focus more on combat.
Verdict: Indivisible offers one of the most satisfying combat experiences I’ve seen from an RPG in a long time. It blends standard turn-based battles with fighting mechanics. The overall plot may be generic. But the eccentric characters bring the stunning, hand-drawn world to life.
- Beautiful hand-drawn animation
- The fantastic and addictive battle system
- A charming and diverse character roster
- Variety in how you platform
- Generic Story
- Slow Start
- Ajna's Jumping Controls Are a Bit Stiff