A Valkyrie Profile x Metroidvania hybrid with a great presentation but too many design annoyances
January - 21st - 2020
Platformer. Metroidvania. Action-RPG
|Art Style||Cartoon, Anime, Bhuddism|
|Value for Price||($40) Medium|
|Replay Value||Unknown. Assumed Low to Medium|
|Quality||Medium to High|
|Completion Time||Not Completed. The developer targeted 20-30 hours|
Perspective from a crowdfunder as a fan of the developer's previous work and a fan of the genres
- OKAY -
Indivisible is the tale of the "Iddhiot" Anja. Indivisible has the look and feel of a game I would love, but continues to annoy me on more than one ocassion, bringing me to stop my play sessions early everytime.
Indivisble is finally here after a successful $2.2 million dollar campaign. It grabbed my attention by being an action RPG/Metroidvania Hybrid that modled its combat after Valkyrie Profile and I have alot of reverence for PS2 era JRPGs. Lab Zero had an awesome fighter in Skullgirls, and I wanted to see what they could do with a game in some of my favorite genre, so I backed it. The protagonist looked unique and the presentation looked good.
The backer demo looked promising...until I played the full game...
Lets get the good out of the way. The animation is impressive and colors are clean and bright. The soundtrack is great and voice acting is pretty good. Combat is responsive.
I was thrown off by the stupidity of the character, which was comparable to Goku from Dragonball Z: Inexplicable power, ignorance of the world around her, goes head first into EVERY situation without strategy or thinking of the consequences. This was opposite to the stern looking, well-trained martial artist I saw from illustrations. Her character interactions and her "magical ability" to just suddenly come up with new tools and powers to help her overcome the next platforming gate out nowhere irritated me constantly. Indivisible has roots and references to Buddhist culture and uses words like "Iddhi" so I regularly refer to Anja as a stupid, blithering "Iddhi-ot".
Gameplay is mostly split between platforming and combat.
Exploration plays like most Metroid-vanias - going through levels until you reach a point you can't traverse because of some hazard or out of reach location and turning back to find another route. At certain cutscenes, Ajna or a party member will suddenly create a new ability for Ajna out of thin air which ruins the feel of exploration and combat, While story isn't the most important thing to me, the plot-hole style of ability discovery made me ask "Why didn't you do this before?!" every time this happened.
Many aspects of exploration were either irritating or not fun, which is usually my favorite part of the Metroidvania genre
It takes a while to get used to the feel of the platforming, as I often missed "pogo hops" with the spear, or wall hangs with the axe. Many times I'd get to the "next point" of a level, but had to backtrack the entire level to make progress. Other times required me to go all the way back to the starting point of a level with no fast travel system so I can get to the ship to go to other levels.
The Inner Realm is the closest thing to a "home base
You'll soon earn the ability to go inside Ajna's own head early in the game, known as the Inner Realm and interact with your party because apparently whenever somebody joins you, they're absorbed into her brain. Doing this is almost useless, as most party members just provide some silly flavor text or jokes and the only real reason to go here is to upgrade your attack count or defense when you collect red stones speckled through out the levels. You can also change your characters' colors when you find the right NPC here.
World Design for cities doesn't make sense.
Cities are structured much like standard, non-realistic video game platform levels that require feats of maneuvering that only a hero or Goddess would have, and yet civilians are always standing around homes and shops in places no human could access without stairs, bridges, and ladders. Why do I have to work so hard to go to the 2nd floor of an arcade?
The Combat system is unique compared to other RPGs, but can be exploited to a button mash fest
Valkyrie Profile was the template for the combat. You can attack enemies prior to combat (and even exploit/break the game here). Your team of Anja + 3 fight against 1-6 enemies. You can choose which enemy to target and attack or block with a face button that corresponds to each of your players. You can use different attacks or actions by holding up or down while attacking, so it might lead to an aerial attack, or heal, or buff, or projectile depending on the character. Attacks and parries build up the Iddhi meter that can be used for each character's super move when holding Right Bumper. RB and LB combined will heal and revive the team if the bar is full.
The animations for the attacks look smooth and fluid. Initially, its satisfying to set up combos of maybe AOE attacks, followed up by juggles while other characters could be setting up buffs or stances for other attacks. Eventually, it seems best to find the right team to kill the most enemies quickly, block their retaliations, and mash buttons to finish the rest. I've read that VP has in depth combat where you can create scenarios to prevent enemies from ever attacking and requires inventory/party management, but this game doesn't have it.
Through out the adventure, you're given a surprising amount of fully animated characters to swap out for combat.
A lot of variety here allows you to craft a team that fits your playstyle, but once you do so, your "perfect team" will enough for the majority of the game, causing you to have a nearly dozen teammates you rarely if never use other than for novelty or self-entertainment.
It's obvious the developer attempted to mitigate this a bit. Some enemies fly and have to be hit with aerial attacks or projectiles. Others block attacks and need certain attacks or heavy damage to break their guard. Few can spawn adds. Some party members don't have the tools to deal with them, so you may have to sacrifice a healer to get somebody that can attack birds easily.
Fights take place in the same environment you platform in. and it's clear the dev didn't quite account for this in every scenario. You can attack an enemy multiple times before engaging and can cause their team or your team to be in a bad spot for combat. You might have your team constantly falling or running to their inevitable death and respawn to infinity, thus not providing damage.I once had an enemy infinitely fall and respawn with strange graphics. There is no combat escape option, so you either have to win, die or restart. Sometimes, the enemy might fall or get pushed out of the combat area and reset you back to platform mode.