by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
You need Indivisible in your life. That is not hypberole. It’s that damn good. Do you love fun 2D platforming? Exciting battles that take skill but are still fun and visually appealing? Do you love fantastic character designs? Then you need this in your life. It’s the Total Package like Lex Luger.
How did I not know this was a thing that’s coming? Back in 2015, Lab Zero, the team behind Skullgirls, wanted to create a platformer/RPG hybrid. It’s named Indivisible and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The art style still has that Skullgirls feel, everything is bright, clear and crisp. The game is a platformer when you explore and wander the areas, but when you come in contact with an enemy (by attacking them or vice versa), a battle breaks out, and Ajna and her incarnations leap to do battle! Then it becomes a sort of turn-based game, very reminiscent of the early FF ATB system. They managed to get 2 million dollars to fund this and met most of their stretch goals (I believe they will still be doing the final “Multiple Endings/Hardcore Dungeon” post-launch) and I had the absolute pleasure of playing the game earlier this week on Playstation 4. I’m a huge fan of Lab Zero’s work and to see a successful fighting game that isn’t funded by one of the big companies, done on their own is remarkable. Sure, Arc Sys/Marvelous published it, but Lab Zero brought it to life.
So, let’s talk a little about what Indivisible is. Ajna is from a small village and is kind of a spunky, fiery girl. But her homeland is set upon by evil warlords, Ajna stumbles upon a powerful ability: She can absorb certain individuals into her person, and utilize their powers. These “Incarnations” are the makeup of her party for combat. The demo I played was fairly simple, but you explored a brightly lit, happy-looking forest as well as some darker, grim caverns. You’re chasing down an adorable creature and as you go, you’ll gain more Incarnations. Some of them are out of sight, and only through exploring will you find them. From her cool wall jump to finding an axe for climbing (You’ll jump, hit a button to swing the axe, hold it, jump, repeat. It’s pretty awesome), you’ll find more Incarnations than you have party slots, so it’s time to learn other things, like how to adjust the team to your liking! Exploring is simple enough, and the controls in both exploring and battle very tight and smooth. The animations all look incredible, and I never felt something was out of my reach for any reason other than I haven’t learned how to get there yet. Hell, you can even shoot enemies out of combat (to a certain point) and soften them up!
Battle is a completely different beast. You’ll have your side (Ajna plus whichever Incarnations you’ve picked) and the enemy squad. You’ll see a series of circles over with each character, indicating how many times they can attack at this moment. The team is set up in a cross pattern, and each is tied to a button on the face of your controller. When a circle (one or more) is full you can attack, and you can chain characters hits together for combos. Holding up or down with the attack changes its properties, giving bigger arcs, hitting more enemies, jumping and shooting arrows, et cetera. There’s plenty of experimentation you can do here. If you hold off and don’t just blow your proverbial load and mash the buttons, I feel like you can lock down enemies and prevent them from doing a lot of things. Except on bosses. I have a feeling that won’t work on boss encounters. Ajna and each of her incarnations do different things, and you can also hold their button at the right time to block incoming hits. You won’t always know which the enemy is targeting in Indivisible unless it targets multiple foes (you’ll see arrows on the ground). You can hold L1 to block for everyone, but it depletes a meter at the top of the screen.
But this meter is important, because (this is a company who built a fighting game) it’s essentially your Super Meter. If you have at least one section charged, you can attack with someone and during the animation, hit another button to do a Super Attack. This creates a paradigm of saving this meter for blocking for everyone and preventing characters from dying/taking serious damage, or obliterating an enemy squad with one go. From archers, heavy-blade wielders, alchemists and more, each Incarnation is amazing. You can’t just mash buttons and stop paying attention because this game requires timing, skill, and attention to detail. You can just mash buttons if you want, but someone who will find actual success in battle knows what each character can do, and which attacks to drop when, chaining them for efficient, amazing combos.
The demo goes up to the first boss, which beat me over and over (and over and over) again, but I love it anyway. I do kind of wish it saved and didn’t have me start over each time … but it’s a demo. I’m not mad at that. But I absolutely cannot gush about this game enough. The IndieGogo Campaign (found here) has ended, but you can still back it over at BackerKit (found here) and their website is right here. I absolutely cannot say enough about how in love with this game I am. It’s gorgeous, well-developed, everything works beautifully. It offers me strategy options, fun exploration, and is all-around gorgeous. This is a game that if you weren’t keeping your eye on, you should now. This will be a major player in 2018 in my estimation. It better be! Indivisible has captured my attention immediately, and if you can get access to the demo, you owe it to yourself to play it. It is again, without hyperbole, one of the best things I’ve ever played in the RPG genre, and it’s only a demo. One of the best parts? This Metroidvania-style RPG will be on PS4, Xbox One, Mac/Windows/Linux, and the Switch! Glorious.