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Indivisible

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 11 - 2019

A combination of genres that works, and works so well.

 
Back in 2015, Lab Zero Games announced they were developing an action RPG called Indivisible. Lab Zero Games are well known for their incredibly good looking fighting game SkullGirls, but this change of genre was a real unknown. After along development process and picking up 505 Games as publisher, Indivisible is finally out and really is something special. The game could be described as a combination of Metroidvania and RPG, but that could mean anything. I think a better description would be just brilliant. Sure, the game has both Metroidvania-style platforming and RPG team building and combat, but the whole package is far more interesting than that sounds.

 


 
The core story in Indivisible is probably the weakest point. Players will take on the role of Ajna, a young girl with a big destiny. Her village is attacked and set ablaze and, after watching her father murdered in front of her, takes it upon herself to seek revenge and generally be a force for good. It’s not really anything we haven’t seen before. However, Indivisible is less about the over-arching plot and more about the individual characters. Ajna is absolutely charming and, possibly due to the trauma of what happened in her village, quickly discovers she has the ability to absorb other characters into her head. These characters become her team members and the player can bring them out to help whenever Ajna faces combat.

 
There are a lot of characters to bring into Ajna’s head space, but the player can only field a team of four at any one time, giving players plenty of chance to tinker with their team composition and work out which characters work best for the player. But the best thing is that each of these characters have their own personality and conversations will often occur in Ajna’s head, leading to some really great dialogue. Sure, not all of the characters are especially likeable, but they all combine to build the narrative of the game, and some of these characters really shine. It gives the game a real personality and the interaction between characters are a real highlight.

 
Another highlight is the combat itself. Once a team of four has been created, this will be the team that deals with any combat situation that arises, and there is quite a lot of combat in Indivisible. The player will be able to avoid some encounters, but evolving the characters will require as much combat as possible. When combat begins, the four members of the team will appear on screen in a diamond shape, replicating the layout of the controller face buttons to make things simple for the player. Making a character use their ability is as simple as pressing their corresponding face button. Characters have a meter that will begin to fill, allowing them to use their skill, and each character has a selection of different skills to use in different instances, from healing to all out attacks. There is also a special attack meter that can be used by any character, giving access to a wide range of more powerful abilities that can really change the tide of battle.

 


 
So there are meters to wait for, but the timing is far more important than just picking the right time to perform an action. Players also have the chance to block attacks, either by blocking as the whole group of just the targetted character making a block. However, using the block will drain the special meter unless it is timed exactly right. A perfectly timed block will instead add to the special meter while reducing any damage taken. It does take a little getting used to, but it really is a great system that, with all of the different characters and their unique abilities, can be as deep as the player wants.

 
To compliment the very enjoyable combat, there is also the Metroidvania aspect of the game. Indivisible has a healthy side-scrolling platforming aspect to it, in which the player will be running, jumping and sliding to reach the different areas of the game. There are plenty of hidden areas that the player will not initially be able to reach, but as they progress new abilities will become available, such as using Ajna’s axe to propel Ajna higher up cliff faces, or a Bow to make blocks appear, that will allow access to previously unreachable areas. The platforming can be tricky at times, being more than just a novelty that links the combat encounters together, but is really well done.

 
Visually, Indivisible is without fault. While being 2D, the backgrounds have a depth to them that brings the entire game world to life, and the various characters and enemies are really nicely designed and well animated. Lab Zero’s hand drawn style is fully on display here, and it looks wonderful. Also of note is the soundtrack by Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta which really adds to the game’s atmosphere.

 


 
With interesting combat, challenging platforming, enjoyable characters and both great looks and sound, Indivisible is a great action RPG. There is a learning curve, and difficulty spikes could cause problems for some players, but it really is worth persevering. In a time of the year packed with quality game releases, action RPG fans would be foolish not to make time for Indivisible.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 



 

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