Indivisible Review — Continue The Cycle
With an enriching story, characters, and scenery, Indivisible is a spectacle and one of the best action platformers I’ve ever played.
Lab Zero Games
Xbox One X
Review copy provided by the publisher
Indivisible is a platformer action RPG whose mixture of gameplay is blended wonderfully into one of my favorite experiences in the genre. With the addition of engaging combat, the game presents a gripping story with relatable humanistic messages that we can all learn from. Even after the credits rolled, I was thinking about it constantly for days. Being the most successful Indiegogo gaming project of all time, Indivisible doesn’t particularly bring anything new to the table–but how the familiar ground is executed interprets it into something similar to a breath of fresh air.
Indivisible revolves around a stubborn young woman named Ajna who lives with her father until he is killed during a village assault. Angered, Ajna leaves seeking revenge for her father’s death and realizes that she is the central piece to a worldwide conflict. She discovers that she is part god, endowed with powers from a threatening deity who wants to destroy the world by remaking it in her perfect vision. Indivisible starts rather straightforward but evolves into something much more profound and compelling after introducing themes of morality, loss, and sacrifice. It is a beautifully told story having both a narrative and gameplay that complement one another by implementing the idea that having people fight by your side makes oneself stronger, and at the end of the day, no one is perfect.
As a platformer action RPG, you will traverse through several diverse landscapes, including a drug-infested neon city, flying fortress, and pollution-filled industrial kingdom. Equipped with her mother’s ax, Ajna will use the trusty weapon to help her both in and outside of battle by clinging onto walls to propel her to higher areas. With the ax exuding a hard clink whenever I dug into a wall, it felt incredibly satisfying no matter how many times I used it.
Throughout the game, new weapons will be added to your arsenal that enhances combat and verticality. For example, there’s a spear that lets you vault upwards and travel across ceilings as well as a bow that will make hazards safe to cross or freeze enemies into roots allowing you to use them as platforms themselves to advance through levels. Nearing the end of the game, you will have access to a ton of new abilities that let you approach puzzles in numerous different ways. While the mobility in the beginning will feel comparably plodding, you get a feel for Ajna’s godlike powers during the later hours of the game.
In battles, your party is assembled of up to four members, each controlled by one of the face buttons on your controller. The number of actions that you can execute is shown below each of them and will recharge after no one on the team moves. While the combat is more or less a turn-based RPG, the gameplay also has a hint of standard 2D fighting titles. With this in mind, Indivisible incorporates mechanics different from your standard turn-based RPG, freeing you to launch foes into the air setting them up for combos by your allies.
When enemies are on the move, you can attempt to block their attacks. With the correct timing, players can achieve a “clean block,” absorbing the damage taken and then heal in return, making it rewarding to defend yourself (unlike most other titles with turn-based combat where you have to take the hit). You can also press the right bumper on the controller to slow down time, lengthening the window in strategizing your assault for those who are potentially struggling in battle.
“Indivisible is a platformer action RPG whose mixture of gameplay is blended wonderfully into one of my favorite experiences in the genre.”
Some moves are meant to be setups; others are intended to be finishers which demonstrates its fighter-like system. Each party member also has a “super” meter with three different levels of moves that can be unleashed depending on how many bars of the meter are used. With the vast number of members that Ajna recruits, the opportunity of combos that you can execute with are nearly endless. Boss battles are challenging and fun, requiring you to hone both your platforming and combat skills by switching up the gameplay on the fly.
I found my preferred team early on into the game, and even after learning devastating combos I never got tired of using them in every fight. However, I would still test out every new character I got to see if I could have them fill a role in my already established group.
The cast of characters you meet in Indivisible ooze with charm and personality. The majority of dialogue is voiced, but there were a few times (specifically from Ajna) where the delivery was questionable. Even though the game focuses on Ajna, each ally has a distinct background. That background always had enough for me to find them interesting, while also having their personality shine through while in battle.
Specifically, Ginseng & Honey, one of my healers, attacks using a mortar and pestle that deals damage along with making her next use of healing more effective. Meanwhile, Latigo–an ex-mercenary–searches for his old partner Vasco after being betrayed by him hoping to end his life for it. While using a bayonet revolver in battle, the six-rounded chamber appears on screen as his gun fires, showing each bullet leave except the same single bullet meant to kill Vasco.
With numerous different options of who to use in battle, it allows players to play through Indivisible multiple times and still feel fresh. Naturally, everyone has their own playstyle, so certain characters will stick out more than others, but it was always fun to experiment with new teams to see what combos I could dish out against enemies.
“Indivisible is one of the most memorable platforming experiences I’ve ever had.”
Not every character you recruit is required to progress through the story, and not all of them are relevant in that sense. But the more members you gain, the stronger you become, and with the apparent care that developer Lab Zero put into them, why wouldn’t you want to add them to your party? By the time I had to say goodbye to this group it nearly brought tears to my eyes.
As one of Ajna’s abilities, the party rests inside her head, known as the Inner Realms, which also ends up being a vital story point later on in the story. When you visit, you can have conversations with them, including personal side missions to be completed giving you more story to their characters. Along with dying clothes, training, and turning in exploration currency, Ringsels. These red gems are found around the various levels, and once you meet the requirements, they can be given away, increasing your strength or defense.
Whether I was in or outside of battle, the music was beautifully crafted but is on the lower end of things that I will remember from the game. There didn’t feel like there was enough variety to keep me invested in the tone it was setting. However, that is made up by the tantalizing art and animation. Regardless of seeing Ajna swing her ax in battle time and time again, it never became a bore, only something to admire.
Whenever visiting a civilized location, NPC interactions are lively, with most being specifically named making the setting feel more real. My most notable interaction was a talking dog who began conversing with me until realizing that humans don’t think that dogs can talk, so it tries to play it off with a woof. Each map is well designed, adding new elements to gameplay as you gain new abilities at each new location, whether it be my first time or second time there.
Indivisible truly has little to criticize. The story is grandiose with strong, meaningful messages that everyone can understand and relate to even if it takes a little bit to get the gears in motion. There are so many moments in this game full of emotion that I sometimes didn’t expect. Many of the characters will stay with me for a long time by the way they are incorporated into the narrative. Indivisible is one of the most memorable platforming experiences I’ve ever had.