Indivisible is a new game from Skullgirls developer Lab Zero which was announced in October of 2015 with a crowdfunding goal of $1.5 Million, with a promise of an additional $2 Million more from publisher 505 Games if funded. A 2D Action RPG that is currently planned for release on PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux, Indivisible is a great looking game that I was eager to get my hands on the prototype for.
To start this preview off with a bit of honesty, and subjectivity, I have to say that I didn’t take much note of this game’s campaign until recently when the prototype was released on Steam. I’m now quite glad that it crossed my radar, because for a prototype for a game that’s in the middle of crowdfunding, it’s a well polished and complete demo experience. Sure, not all the features promised are there, but that’s to be expected, and I enjoyed every minute of my multiple playthroughs of the prototype version. Let’s hop into it, shall we?
Once you set up your controls, you’re dropped into the game, featuring what can only be described as a fantastic art style. The thematic style of Indivisible is inspired by Southeast Asian Mythology, but the team at Lab Zero has explained that the game will draw from a wide range of styles and inspirations from numerous mythologies, all with their own unique designs. The prototype drew primarily from Southeast Asia, as expected, but the screenshots from the IndieGoGo Campaign also show some really awesome designs that should be a treat to explore as well.
You play as Ajna, a young martial artist whose home was suffered a bandit attack, during which she discovered she has the power to “absorb individuals into her being” which we have come to learn are Incarnations. These Incarnations allow her to use their strength and learn new abilities, essentially accompanying her into battle during her journey.
The Incarnations are what really make this game interesting, and while the prototype only gives you the ability to play with three of them, it’s a fantastic taste of what’s to come when the game is finished. Essentially, the Incarnations are “party” characters that appear when it’s time to fight, aiding you in battle with their own special skills and abilities. From what’s shown on Lab Zero’s site, there will be 26 Incarnations to encounter and “absorb” so that they can join you on your journey, all of which have their own backstories and abilities that make them unique and important to Ajna.
While Indivisible is classified as a 2D Action RPG, the world is presented to you as a sidescroller in which Ajna can run, jump, dash, and more as she upgrades her martial arts skills weaponry by encountering and fusing with new Incarnations. The prototype gives you access to a number of Incarnations and abilities that Ajna doesn’t start with, such as wall-jumping, axe wielding, and more, so you get a good taste of some of the cool things Ajna will be able to do as the game fully progresses.
If you’re not exploring or making your way through the various environments on your journey, chances are you’ve been launched into battle with one of the many enemies that you’ll come across. In the prototype you get access to a full party of Incarnations pretty quickly, and it gives you a great sense of how well built the Valkyrie Profile-inspired battle system is, because the battles are fast-paced and turns are conducted completely based upon if a character is ready to attack. The control scheme is simple as well, mapping one button to each character with the directional buttons adapting the type of attack done, so if you press “up” with a particular character, you’ll do that attack with them.
Once you get the hang of it, you can treat your party as a “single, customizable fighting game character”, because as you learn strategies, action recharge timers, and Incarnation combos, you can string together unique attacks to get the most out of your battle rounds. While the prototype automatically gives you access to more attacks as you upgrade your Incarnations (and Ajna), you’ll be able to attack multiple times per turn, which is extremely helpful in building up your Iddhi Meter.
The Iddhi Meter was the game mechanic that took me a bit to realize how to utilize to its full potential, because if you play it right, you can really maximize its use, especially when it comes to how it heals you when the battle ends (The more the bar is full at the end, the more healing!) Iddhi is used to cast spells between actions, block incoming attacks (whole party block uses it up faster), and execute each character’s super attack. While the prototype didn’t allow you to unlock Ajna’s full super attack, the use of the Iddhi Meter and super attacks that was shown demonstrates that party composition will be extremely important, because you may need a certain super or Incarnation for certain fights.
The one main thing that the Indivisible prototype didn’t touch on that I wish it had was character progression, the planned mechanics laid out on the IndieGoGo are very intriguing. Experience points will be earned, but the stat bonuses gained from leveling up will be pretty small, will the main boosts going towards HP and Action recharge speed, reducing the need to grind and really focusing the game on exploring, discovering, and upgrading your Incarnations and Weaponry in your Inner Realm. The Inner Realm is a really neat mechanic, essentially taking the “central hub” and making it accessible anywhere to the player to be able to interact with their incarnations, all of which serve a purpose within it. This could be to give you side quests, remind you what to do, or serve a non-combat purpose such as an armorer or blacksmith. Definitely a unique and welcomed approach to character progression.
Indivisible is an ambitious project, but from what I saw in the prototype and with how incredibly well-formed and polished it was, it’s a pretty safe bet that Lab Zero can get the job done if they can get the funding they need. If you’re on the fence about pledging to the game, I can’t recommend playing the prototype enough. Good demos are few and far between these days, especially for games that haven’t even begun full development. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play again.
If you’d like to check out more about the game and download the Prototype, check out Indivisible’s IndieGoGo Campaign. At the time of this writing, the campaign is about $195,000 from reaching its $1,500,000 goal.
The author previewed this on a MacBook Pro 15″ using the keyboard mappings, and then beat it again on the PlayStation 4. Both playthroughs took approximately an hour. For full disclosure, he has now backed the campaign at the $30 tier.