Indivisible – If you enjoy role playing games, don’t sleep on this one
It shall be engraved upon your soul!
I’d like you to meet Lab Zero Games’ Indivisible.
Imagine this, if you will. A modern video game with the platforming and exploration of a Metroidvania game with the combat of Valkyrie Profile. Now, add hand-drawn sprites from the Skullgirls team and a soundtrack composed by the composer of The Secret of Mana, Hiroki Kikuta. For good measure, let’s add mostly-fully voiced dialogue scenes in and an opening movie made by legendary anime studio Trigger. Sounds nearly too good to be true, right?
Indivisible first popped up in 2014 as a prototype build that I played on my PC. It was incredibly bare-bones, but there was definitely some promise. The game was officially announced as Indivisible at Lab Zero Games’ Skullgirls panel at the 2015 Anime Expo. Since then, there hasn’t been much seen or heard from the game.
In fact, prior to PAX East, I actually thought about including Indivisible in a list of games I was planning on writing about that was in development purgatory. PAX East then rolled around and to my surprise, it crawled out from the rock it was hidden under to see the light of day.
Indivisible is an absolute gem
The game boasts about 30 hours of gameplay, of which I’m about a third of the way through. It’s an RPG that heavily features platforming that will remind most people of games like Hollow Knight or Dead Cells. Maps weave in and out of themselves, looping around with plenty of shortcuts and secrets to uncover.
Combat action in Indivisible is closely inspired by Square Enix’s unique Norse RPG Valkyrie Profile. It’s such a unique mix of a game that as of this moment, it stands as my most recommended game of the year.
In Indivisible, you play the role of Ajna, a delightfully rebellious teenage girl with special powers. Ajna suffers from shonen-anime protagonitis. She’s not super bright, she likes to solve problems by punching things and approaches everything with boundless enthusiasm. As her village is predictably destroyed at the start of the game, she sets off to kill the man responsible. Hilariously, it seems that certain people she meets along the way can be absorbed into her mind and called upon during battle. These companions also will chime in during dialogue, with some of them being so absolutely charismatic.
Here’s where I tell you about Razmi, the best girl
Razmi is one of these many companions that join Ajna throughout Indivisible. She’s awkward and snarky, wears her tiger “friend” like a cloak and is a bit of a pyromaniac. Some games have characters that absolutely take the spotlight every time they show up, but Razmi is a pure delight every time she interacts with anyone.
So far in my playthrough, Razmi’s magic has been an indispensable part of my team that also makes her super useful. During different dialogue scenes, her deadpan delivery during conversations always has her companions taking her advice fairly literally. I’m talking about things like convincing Ajna that she should eat a rock or casually trying to set her companions on fire with no remorse.
Fortunately, Razmi is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the characters in the game. Every character I’ve encountered has their own unique motivations for joining Ajna’s quest, while also providing their own unique utility to the party. These characters come in all sizes and types. There’s the Matt Mercer-voiced braggadocio Zebei, the noble Dhar, the gentle Thorani and about three handfuls more of other characters. I found out that you can miss characters, so I’ve been ultra vigilant to not leave an area until I’ve done everything possible.
Since you can only use a team of four, I’ve spent the first 10-ish hours of Indivisible constantly cycling out my characters to have the right combos for enemies and bosses. Bosses and enemies sometimes require certain battle inputs or types of attacks to damage them or break through their nigh-impenetrable defenses. There are even battle requirements like juggling enemies or dealing damage through combos.
The star of the show is beating the crap out of everything
Combat in Indivisible is initiated from the map. Usually, enemy sprites roam the map and you can initiate combat by striking them or being hit by them. From that point, the battle begins and Ajna and three allies will take to the battlefield. Each character has their inputs matched to a face button on the controller and their numerous abilities are executed by pressing a directional button as well. In many ways, for those unfamiliar with Valkyrie Profile‘s combat, it works a lot like a fighting game, which is Lab Zero’s bread and butter.
As should be expected from Skullgirls‘ developer, Indivisible features silky-smooth combat. Attacks land with purpose, support abilities clearly trigger and spells are super flashy. On top of it all, the music and sound effects are so good. A great example of just how crisp battle sounds are is when Dhar buffs his attacks with his down-move. You can hear his blade scrape the ground as rocks bump and rub together as they lift out of the ground. From your eyes to your earholes, Indivisible is fantastic.
While I’ve done nothing but swoon, Indivisible does have some weak spots
While Indivisible is looking like a front-runner for game of the year, it only has moments where the game’s indie roots show. Probably the most glaring is that while most of the dialogue is voiced by talented voice actors, there are conversations that simply have no dialogue. Some of these conversations are key scenes and I’m fairly positive they were likely added upon after voice acting had wrapped because they stand out like a sore thumb. Some of these scenes are conversations with Razmi and that’s just unfortunate.
Another issue I am encountering is that I decided to grind a bit to make sure my characters are leveled. At only roughly a third of the way through the game, most battles are pretty easy. A few gimmick fights have caught me off guard, but for the most part, I can win most fights within two turns and most bosses with only a few more. It could be my experience but it leaves a bit to be desired. It really feels like the game may have been built around bee-lining through the story.
From the time I’ve spent with Indivisible so far, I would have to say this is one of this year’s best games. As the second Kickstarter darling released this year and by 505 Games, it actually tops Bloodstained. It may also stand among Control as a game of the year nominee! If you like RPGs or enjoy games with a lot of exploration, I implore you to check this one out. We’ll definitely add a score once I’ve cleared the game to make it all official.
A copy of the game was provided to KnowTechie.
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