Everybody loves a good quirky action RPG, well maybe not everybody, some people don’t like those, but that’s not the point!
The point is that a good RPG is something all gamers can appreciate and there may be another one on the rise. From Lab Zero Games, the creators of Skullgirls, comes indie action RPG Indivisible, well a prototype of it at least. To be blunt about it; if it stays on course we could be looking at the next indie darling.
To be clear this is VERY much a prototype and as a result this look will be extremely bare bones. The preview gives very little in the way of story. The character who you start with and move through the environment with is named Ajna who appears to be chasing some sort of pet rat that keeps running away deeper into a dungeon. Other than that there isn’t much story to be told. However the game does contain an interesting cast of character who, despite being mostly voiced with efforts, are pretty interesting. These include an archer dressed in yellow fur, a warrior monk, and a mage who literally wears a dead tiger on her head.
The game seems to be heavily inspired by East Asian culture, with not only the characters appearances but environmental details as well. The animation is 2D hand drawn and it is excellent, this is truly one of the best looking games of its kind. It is truly hard not to be impressed by the overall level of detail and beauty inside of Indivisible. Overall while there isn’t much storytelling, the world at a glance is very interesting and promises on the possibility of extraordinary adventure.
To get into the meat of Indivisible’s prototype there is one sole focus: gameplay. This is a turn based action RPG with gameplay heavily influenced by PS1 classic Valkyrie Profile. One half of the gameplay is puzzle based platforming with a touch of metroidvania. You will bounce between walls, figure out movement based puzzles, and collect items that you can go back to an earlier point with to deal with previously impassable obstacles. Movement is fast and fluid, while the platforming harkens back to a time where you really had to get down your distance and timing. The few but enjoyable puzzles included in the prototype were enjoyable and not too challenging.
The other side of gameplay is of course combat. Combat comes in the form of a turn based fight; your character each have stamina meters, which can be leveled up, that determine how many actions they can take in a turn. What you can do ranges from specialized attacks by simply mixing a directional input with the attack button, guarding, or if you have the power to do so, unleashing a powerful special attack. Combat is quick and intuitive. While a little hard to get down at first, once you get into a rhythm with it you truly get to enjoy a smooth combat experience. Enemies are challenging and can easily kill you if you don’t play smart and measure your stamina. Battles often become intense races against your enemy as you push to finish them off before they do the same to your party.
Out of the available members to your party in this prototype, each one is interesting and clearly fills a role. The archer is quick and can rain arrows on a group of enemies but doesn’t take damage all too well. The monk on the other hand is slow and tailored towards focused aggression however he is capable of staying in the fight longer. These little details show great promise in what later levels in the game could be. Enemy variety is great, ranging from ghosts with powerful combo attacks to blobs that are more less to be killed for your amusement. The only complaint worth noting is that combat on a keyboard is awkward and confusing early on, often leaving you just hitting random buttons on the keyboard figuring out how things work. This is more simply remedied with a controller, which the game does feel much more natural on. Overall while not a finished product Lab Zero seems to have their gameplay on lock.
It is rare a game can wow in the prototype phase quite like Indivisible has, but when it does it gives great hope for the future. While there aren’t many story details and there are still a few kinks to iron out, this game has an amazing potential. In fact if it can live up to the bar it’s set for itself we may be looking at indie game of the year.