Indivisible from Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games streamlines some typical turn based combat systems with hints of fighting game flair and a whole lot of teen angst. It’s combat is all about making the most of character specific movesets and how a party of characters synergizes together in combat, Indivisible stands out with its approach to fighting, but still has a few pitfalls you’ll have to look out for. Journey with Ajna and her crew of outsiders to save the world from an ancient threat, while also learning to grow up into the hero she needs to be.
Before you even hit the title screen, Indivisible hits you with a flashy animated opening done by Studio Trigger, known for their incredible anime series like Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill. This sets up the world with a flashy and action packed tone,but I was soon taken aback once the game began with a series of confusing opening gameplay scenarios with no real narrative explanation or context that isn’t really explained until much later in the game. It’s a jarring opening that left a bad taste in my mouth while I was still trying to wrap my head around the mechanics of the game, while also not knowing anything about the world I was placed in. A couple hours later and everything started snapping into place a little better. You start seeing the world through the eyes of Ajna, the protagonist who is discovering the world just as you are. She comes from a small remote town and is whisked off on an adventure when an imperial force attacks her village. From there you’ll find yourself exploring ancient ruins, port towns and giant flying fortresses. You’ll meet a large cast of characters along the way who will join you on the adventure. Razmi, a recluse shaman, Shadira, a shield warrior, and Ginseng, a botanist seeking glory, are just a few characters from a large cast that can join you.
Combat started becoming more interesting and varied as I learned how to better manage my party members. Each character has three moves to pick from, some moves will launch enemies into the air, some can break defensive stances which will let you hit for more damage. Finding team members who compliment each other is important, standard battles can get challenging but not insurmountable and a lot of boss battles have specific mechanics to defeating .
Outside of combat you’ll explore Metroid-vania inspired environments. You’ll do a lot of wall jumping and unlocking of abilities to access new areas. The first ability you obtain is an axe which you can stick into the sides of walls to reach platforms just out of reach. There’s also a dash that lets you smash through certain colored walls, if the metroid inspiration wasn’t clear enough. You will obtain these abilities pretty quickly throughout the main story, but they’re only used for outside of combat which feels odd considering there mostly weapons (DISCLAIMER, 10/7/19: A day one patch updated the Ajna’s move set to incorporate these weapons. Dope!). As I continued to unlock more traversal options, like smashing an axe into a wall or bouncing around on a spear, I felt like the complexity of all these moves could of just been serviced by giving you a double jump instead. Having this weird jumble of abilities made the majority of the platforming feel like a chore,as if the game was trying a little too hard to be different at the sake of my enjoyment during platforming segments. My frustrations in these moments were made worse with a poorly designed map. Holding down a button to bring up the map, you can only see the segments that are in your general area. There’s no ability to scroll the map to see an area I might have missed or where to go next, which seems like such a bizarre choice when you’re taking inspiration from a genre of games known for detailed and accessible maps and navigation.
Indivisible shines when in combat. I always found myself enjoying trying to understand how to best utilize a character’s moveset. I was always finding something new thanks to the diverse cast of 30 characters. Anja’s story of self discovery was a little drawn out but pays off in the later parts of the game when you see her face her gung-ho ideology with the reality of imperfect solutions she has to take to try and save the world. I ultimately wished some of the other parts of the game held up as much as these aspects did but the story and combat still make it a ride worth taking.
This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro system with a review code provided by the publisher.