I’ve always said that looks aren’t everything when it comes to games. A strong narrative and solid gameplay can work wonders. However, sometimes the appearance can utterly define a game, and this is the case with Indivisible.
This is only the second release from the talented folks at Lab Zero Games, who debuted with Skullgirls. It’s fair to say that for such a young studio, they have certainly made an impression on the world of gaming. They’re a team who consist of those who have worked on big projects in the past, so I’d recommend keeping an eye on them. There’s plenty of exciting things to come, mark my words.
Put simply, Indivisible looks absolutely breathtaking, and is one of the prettiest games I have ever seen. Not only does it play like an interactive anime, but the cut scenes look incredible. It also boasts a fantastic fantasy filled soundtrack to match. In fact, Hiroki Kikuta, of Secret of Mana fame, is responsible for the music in Indivisible. It’s clear that a lot of work from a very talented team has gone into the look and feel of this game, and it shows every second you play. Unfortunately, on rare occasions the frame rate slows to a sluggish pace, but recovers quickly so isn’t too much of an issue.
It’s the fearless Ajna who takes centre stage for Indivisible’s story, and as her home is attacked, a mysterious power which lay dormant inside her awakes. It’s then where she sets off on a personal quest to exact revenge on the tyrannical Lord Ravannavar, who she learns is responsible.
On your travels you will meet other characters who will agree to help you, sometimes freely but normally for a price. Ajna will absorb these “incarnations” due to her connection with them, allowing you to build a party of four, eventually being able to choose from over 20 playable characters. Rather excitingly, there will be another 10 “guest” DLC characters arriving in the near future; guys such as Shovel Knight being included.
If you hold down the B button, focusing your chakra, you’ll be able to enter the “inner realm”. This is where your “incarnations” reside, ready to be summoned for battle. Think of it as Ajna’s mind, and you get the idea. It will expand as you absorb more characters, and it’s worth dipping in and out regularly if for nothing else but the banter. The script is sharp, witty and tongue in cheek. But above all else, what really helps bring these characters to life, is the quality voice acting throughout the game. It is this which has a much bigger impact than simply scrolling through dialogue.
Indivisible’s action plays out on two fronts, the game is an RPG and platforming hybrid. The platforming sections develop into a “Metroidvania” style of play, where some areas are inaccessible until you find the correct weapon to break through. The combat plays out in real time, which makes for some challenging but complex and rewarding battles as you adventure through the game.
The gameplay is well mixed, as there are plenty of platforming sections to split up the combat. There’s some exploring to do and this starts out fairly linear, however it’s not a must if you just want to plough on with the main game. To help, you have a basic 2D map at your disposal, which you can access via the pause menu. It will highlight points of interest and importance, and you can quickly view it by pushing up on either the D-Pad or thumbstick.
Whilst platforming you can run, jump, dash and even wall jump your way around between battles. Despite these sections being pretty simple, Indivisible is so pretty it’s frankly a joy to play regardless. It’s during combat where things really start to heat up.
Before too long you’ll have your party of four assembled, and will be facing some pretty nasty enemies. If you hit the view button, you’ll be able to view stats and build your party how you want it. Also, from that same menu you can review the abilities each character has learned so far, allowing you to master them in combat.
You’ll have your party members assigned to the A,B,Y and X buttons, which when pressed will perform their basic attack. If you combine these with either up or down you can launch variations of these moves which are key in defeating certain foes. Each character also has a special which can be used once your Iddhi bar has filled, by holding RB when attacking. Generally, your Iddhi bar is filled by executing varied and well timed combat moves.
It’s not all about the offensive however, defense is just as important. Timing is key, in terms of minimising damage and also charging your Iddhi bar. This gets more complicated when battling more than one monster at a time, as they may attack all or just one of your party members, so you’ll need to block accordingly. A small niggle here is that when you’re fighting multiple enemies, you can cycle through your targets using left or right. As you use up and down to change up your attack, for example to break enemy shields, the commands sometimes get mixed up. Admittedly it’s a small nuisance, but can get frustrating in tougher, more tactical battles. It’s best to hit RB to “focus” when choosing a target. This slows the action down and gives you a bit of breathing space. It’s a bit more clunky, but makes things easier.
You’ll also be collecting “ringsels” as you go in order to increase your strength. These are mysterious gemstones that, once you collect five, will allow you to start upgrading your stats. As all the “incarnations” are connected to Ajna, an upgrade for one is an upgrade for all.
Indivisble’s difficulty is an interesting one. The curve starts fairly smooth, and becomes very manageable as you upgrade and expand your party. There are a handful of noticeably tougher battles you’ll face, but there’s one which feels suddenly as if the dial has been turned up to 11. It’s not a huge issue, but is a little frustrating after plodding along nice and steadily to suddenly be stopped in your tracks. It’s best to save at every bell you come across, just in case you square up against an unexpectedly tough foe.
The combat in Indivisible is easy to get to grips with, but varied enough to feel tactical. It’s really satisfying stringing some tasty combos together and giving the bigger enemies a good pasting. There are plenty of options available to you thanks to the decent character roster, which helps to keep things fresh.
Indivisible on Xbox One is super stylish, charming and loads of fun to play. There is a slightly wonky difficulty curve to get to grips with and the game will set you back a fair few pennies, however, if you’re looking for something different to lose yourself in, you’ve found it.