Review: Indivisible

Indivisible is a game spanning two genres, Metroidvania-style platformer and RPG. With many surface similarities to Valkyrie Profile, you may expect it to lean more heavily to the RPG side of that equation, but not so. Its exact genre is hard to pin down and drifts during the course of the game, but in the long run this is a beautiful platformer with RPG combat.

The game centers on its protagonist Ajna, an impulsive young girl who is thrust into a world-ending plot when her father is killed and her village is destroyed. For reasons unknown even to her, she can absorb people into herself, building a party out of them. There are a lot of characters to recruit, more than 20 in total, each with their own combat style. Ajna is very much the leader, though, whose power level determines that of the rest of the party.

The combat in Indivisible is reminiscent, as previously mentioned, of Valkyrie Profile. You have four party members whose attacks are mapped to the four face buttons. Comboing various attacks together to juggle enemies, break their defenses, and just generally cause mayhem is the name of the game. It is not turn-based in the traditional sense, though at any given time you can either attack or are being attacked and must defend with timed button-presses. Combat can be a bit of a slog in the mid-game, but is generally pretty enjoyable outside of that issue.

The platforming is where Indivisible really shines, and the game boasts an ability list that more than earns the Metroidvania genre claims. While many late-game abilities are simply overpowered (as one would expect), the earlier ones lead to a lot of interesting puzzles. For example, near the start of the game you learn the Axe Hang, which lets you cling to a wall and gain a bit of extra verticality without needing a second wall to bounce between. You can only do this once until you land again, and choosing where in a jump sequence to Axe Hang is often vital. Many other abilities follow similar patterns.

Indivisible’s plot and story won’t be winning any awards, but the varied cast can be quite charming, and the hand-drawn sprites look fantastic. This is a very pretty game, and that is one of its most appealing aspects. At the same time, the characters and particularly Ajna can be somewhat offputting. I spent most of the game wondering if the creators realized how flawed a character she really was (and they did, as it turns out). Like the combat, the plot becomes a bit of a slog in the middle, but recovers in the long run.

It’s hard to give a specific recommendation about Indivisible, because it’s not exactly what it appears. As an RPG, the mediocre plot and sometimes repetitive combat may be deal-breakers, but the game really isn’t an RPG. As a platformer, a lot of the more fun stuff doesn’t show up until later. In the end it’s a good experience, but that may not be immediately apparent. If the charming artstyle and characters appeal to you, give it a shot, but if they don’t, you may not end up sticking through the whole game.

Review Score: B+