Indika Review

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The world of the nun can be summed up in two ways; either the singing Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music or the smashing of hands in The Blues Brothers. But now we have another nun, with the hero of Indika, a game that got me excited with its marketing campaign, early demo, and the opportunity to take in the playing of a nun simulator. 

Of course, in reality Indika is an action-adventure, where narrative mixes religion, war, a lot of snow, and some of the strangest imagery and camera angles that you can imagine. It’s a game that is amazing at times, but also a bit disappointing at others, pretty much in equal measure. 

Indika review 1
A nun’s tale

The story places us inside a monastery in 19th-century Russia. You play a young nun called Indika who at the start of the game is falling through the air in pixel form, collecting gold coins. It switches to a more realistic format and we see them performing chores for the other nuns who don’t seem to like or trust her much. She is sent out into the world to deliver a letter to a priest and then the adventure really begins.

The thing is, Indika is haunted by a demon voice inside her as she travels and meets a young wounded soldier who changes her adventure…

The story and setting of Indika is very unique and it is deeply interesting to play as a nun. Indika’s prose is intriguing, with its thoughts on religion and the purpose of heaven, hell and a person’s soul. It’s also a comment about the search for redemption and what that entails. There are some great pieces of storytelling at play and I loved the way the memories of the past are ripped from Indika’s life, viewed as a retro 8-bit video game. I do feel a bit sad that the game seems rushed in the last quarter and, for me, doesn’t have a satisfying end to the journey.

Indika review 3
Memories

The gameplay works as a mixture, with third person action-adventure as Indika goes running and jumping slightly, climbing up on things to get through them. She can pick items and objects up, is able to open doors or – like at the start of the game – operate a well and draw water from it. Later on, she rides a steam engine bike, solves puzzles with cranes, and avoids giant fish. There are a lot of varied gameplay mechanics involved in this game and new bits get introduced rapidly at times. 

There are the 8-bit gameplay sections too, taking us to the past to enjoy some racing, tricky platforming and some Pac-Man-type gameplay. The mixture of styles is great and it means that Indika, as a whole, feels like a huge experiment. However, it doesn’t always work as intended and the loading screens come often, and when you die, it’s all a bit laborious as you wait to try again after a short break. It’s not a massively long time, but does feel a bit out of place on this generation of consoles. There are also a couple of sections that feel a bit loose in terms of action and don’t seem as smooth as they should, like a chase scene and platforming section. 

On the flipside, the visuals are wonderful with some great locations that mix the very real and the hyper real – a journey inside a factory sees larger-than-life cans of food and huge fish being delivered. There are also some strange demonic scenes that are superbly presented. The facial animation work is of a very high standard, whilst the use of camera angles is like that of a genius avant-garde filmmaker. And further, the soundtrack is also excellent, especially in the voice cast who deliver a wonderful performance full of heart and soul. 

Indika review 2
Much of Indika delivers

Indika is a game I was so looking forward to playing and much of it delivers. The world-building and experimentation in terms of story and gameplay are to be applauded. The visuals are very good, as are the voice performances, but it all kind of runs out of steam by the end, feeling incomplete. The moments of loading are a problem as well, ensuring that dying isn’t any easier to swallow. 

But you should still be playing Indika, mostly as there just isn’t any other game like it. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Being a nun
  • Story and writing
  • Experimental elements
Cons:
  • Loading screens
  • Feels lacking in the end
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, 11 bit Studios
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 17 May 2024 | £20.99
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Being a nun</li> <li>Story and writing</li> <li>Experimental elements</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Loading screens</li> <li>Feels lacking in the end</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, 11 bit Studios</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 17 May 2024 | £20.99</li> </ul>Indika Review
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