- Game: Indivisible
- Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Developer: Lab Zero Games
An Indivisible review code was provided by the publisher.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” must have been the mantra developer Lab Zero Games abided by during the creation of Indivisible. Announced in 2015, the development studio’s action RPG/side-scrolling platformer has been cooking up in the oven for quite a long while. A successful crowdfunding campaign led to publisher 505 Games fitting the bill for the rest of the game’s development costs, which now leads us to today. Anyone who’s got their hands on the game’s prototype can take a look at the finished product and instantly recognize how far it has come. Indivisible isn’t just a love letter to classic anime and Square Enix RPG’s – it’s a refreshing experience that encapsulates the dedication to quality independent developers are celebrated for.
If you’ve ever played Lab Zero Games’ Skullgirls, then Indivisible’s lush 2D art style should come as no surprise to you. Once again, the studio has done an incredible job with its character design and movement animations. Every ax swing, spear throw, wall jump, and power slide looks amazing in action. You’ll quickly find yourself floored by all the wonderfully drawn locales you’ll frequent, such as a windswept desert, a bustling port town, and so much more. Thankfully, the audio matches up quite nicely with the visuals when it comes to the highest degree of quality. The voice work done for the game’s varied cast is excellent and does an efficient job of parlaying the game’s deeply emotional and humorous moments. The soundtrack (done by Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta) is pure audio splendor. Simply put, Indivisible looks and sounds amazing.
The plot being told within Indivisible grabs you from the word go – a young hero in training suddenly has the weight of the world put on her shoulders once she discovers her latent abilities. After a traumatizing event takes place in her home village, Ajna sets out on a revenge mission that eventually evolves into something with much higher stakes. Along the way, Ajna encounters a host of lovable characters that find themselves attached to her as she attempts to save the world from certain doom. The clever writing, major revelations, and gorgeous still images that pop up from time to time keep you glued to the story the whole way through. The world savior gimmick is a tired formula that’s used here. But the way in which Indivisible’s world-threatening evil comes into play is unique, at least.
Navigating the massive world of Indivisible and engaging in battles has close ties to Square Enix’s underrated Valkyrie Profile series. As Ajna, you’ll employ all manner of abilities that open up the game’s many environments in a Metroidvania-like manner. Unlocking these abilities over time opens the game up even more and pushes you to discover essential items and a bevy of attention-grabbing easter eggs. Random battles aren’t a thing here – you can lock eyes with your foes and even get the leg up on them with a pre-match assault. Once a battle is initiated, you’ll become enamored with Indivisible’s deep combat system. There’s a lot to wrap your head around at first. But once you come to grips with its complex mechanics, Indivisible’s battles grow to be something you look forward to quite often.
You’ll be tasked with setting up a four-person squad and balancing their attacks as each character is tied to one of four face buttons. Besides landing active attacks via button presses, you’ll also need to time your blocks to greatly decrease incoming damage, pull off flashy combos with multiple characters in tow and pick the best time to unleash each character’s ultimate ability. Regular fights are cool and all, but the boss fights are even more entertaining – the game’s big boss battles cleverly mix in elements of platforming and battling to a great degree. The main issue that arises with certain battles is the use of enemies you’ll encounter who can wipe you out in just one hit. It’s clear that these enemies are put in place to help you master proper perfect blocking mechanics, but their sudden appearance at certain intervals adds an unnecessary difficulty spike. Encountering enemies in weirdly positioned locations can also lead to some incredibly awkward exchanges.
Lab Zero Games’ developmental efforts certainly haven’t gone ignored – their amazing work on Skullgrls carries over in a major way to Indivisible. The game’s beautiful art style comes to life as each carefully crafted frame for character actions appears onscreen. What’s delivered here is a throwback to a classic era of RPG’s that’s been sorely missed – Indivisible taps into the addictive battle system, unique cast of characters and standout music classic Square Enix RPG’s were celebrated for. Indivisible is a passion project that’s just as great as it was promised to be.
Our Indivisible Review Score: 9 out of 10