All the way back in 2015, I was surprised to see Lab Zero Games move on from an immensely enjoyable fighting game like Skullgirls to Indivisible, a Valkyrie Profile-inspired Metroidvania-RPG hybrid. I tried and had a lot of fun with the Prototype Demo back when Indivisible was crowdfunded on Indiegogo and was curious to see how the game would progress during development.
While Indivisible was recently delayed into 2019, I was still able to try out the recently released Backer Demo for the game at E3 this year. Since that initial prototype, there has been a significant jump in art quality and gameplay fluidity, which has revitalized my anticipation for the game and should do the same for both platformer and RPG fans
While the final game will have much more of an emphasis on the story, which follows protagonist Anja as she avenges an attack on her hometown that also resulted in her special powers manifest, this demo was light on plot. Instead, it opted to focus on Indivisible’s platforming and RPG elements, which are both very strong. The platforming controls are relatively standard and easy to get the hang of, with Anja feeling satisfying to use.
Lab Zero Games did a good job crafting a control scheme that felt responsive and rewarding in Skullgirls, and that care and skill also seem to have carried over to this title, even if it’s in a radically different genre. As I mentioned before, Indivisible is a Metroidvania, so the environment I played in Ashwat Forest, felt expansive and had multiple paths to explore. Indivisible is stacking up to be a quite a large game for a smaller developer team, which explains the delay to ensure quality.
As I explored Ashwat Forest, I ran into several other characters, called Incarnations, to add to my party. While these characters will have fully fleshed out stories once the game release, most of them were just strewn around the world for this gameplay-focused demo. Once I ran into an enemy and activated the seamless transition into battle, a system reminiscent of Valkyrie Profile emerged.
While Anja meets several incarnations during her journey, only four will go into battle with her every different time. Once in battle, each fighter is assigned a face button, and one must wait until each character can attack via an active time battle-like system. Enemies can also strike during this time, though each character can block the attack with the right timing.
Characters have multiple attacks to be pulled off by also pressing a direction on the d-pad, and attacking in succession reveals a combo system. This shows players that Lab Zero Games hasn’t forgotten their fighting game roots, and adds another fun element to Indivisible’s combat. As players attack, they will build up a special meter, which can be unleashed when full to do things like heal the entire party or deal devastating damage to the enemy, depending on the character.
Indivisible’s combat system is relatively easy to get the hang of, but like a fighting game, it has tons of depth for dedicated players to uncover. I enjoyed this system in the original Prototype demo, and it has only improved since then. After wandering around Ashwat Forest for a bit, I jumped ahead to a boss battle, which mixes both platforming and RPG elements.
These encounters have been deemed “hybrid battles” by the developers, and things mesh together surprisingly well. This boss specifically was a giant Spider who ambushed Anja and co. in a dark cave. It had a large health bar that I spent quite awhile chipping away at before the spider ran away and things transitioned back to platforming. At this point, I had to dodge its attack and then hit it to go back to the RPG style combat.
After repeating this a few more times, I was able to beat the boss and my time with the demo ended. These hybrid battles were nothing like anything I’ve experienced in an RPG before, and give Indivisible its own memorable spice. Both aspects of gameplay feel very fleshed out, and this is only highlighted further when the must work in tandem during these fights.
I haven’t even mentioned Indivisible’s great soundtrack and visuals yet. While I only got a brief taste of the game’s score, I could tell it is poised to be one beloved by fans, being both atmospheric and motivating at the right times. The visuals, especially the environment, have also been spruced up quite a bit since 2015, giving this 2D game a gorgeous and polished looking aesthetic.
Indivisible has been on my radar since 2015, and getting to try out an updated version of the game has only reaffirmed my anticipation. As a fan of both RPGs and platformers, Indivisible looks like it will be mixing the best of both worlds. That being said, I am curious to see how the story pans out in the full game, as we haven’t gotten a great look at that yet. Additionally, if you are someone yearning for a new Valkyrie Profile, Indivisible seems like it will be able to scratch that itch for the time being.
Indivisible is currently set to launch on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2019. If you want to learn more about the game, you can check out DualShockers’ recent interview with Lab Zero Games’ CEO Peter Bartholow.