Indivisible

“Inspired by Valkyrie Profile” – those were just the words needed to drag me out of the comfort of my Kickstarter pool and into the waters of Indiegogo.  Of course, in the world of crowdfunding video games, “inspired by” may be the goal while the delivery is questionable at best. But here we have a legitimate homage to one of my favorite RPGs in Indivisible, a new action RPG being developed by Lab Zero with some serious financial backing by 505 Games if they manage to reach their goal. Along with the campaign came the prototype available to play on any of the PC versions. In a move I’ve never seen before, the prototype was also released on PSN, to give everyone a feel for what they’d be getting.

D'aww, aren't they cute?

D’aww, aren’t they cute?

What you won’t find in the prototype is the story – understandable as gameplay is what they’re really trying to sell. A young girl named Ajna is trained in the martial arts from a young age, and discovers that she has the ability to absorb certain people into an inner world she has. Creepy, no? Well, we all assume this is consensual because those absorbed individuals can then be brought out as Incarnations to fight by Ajna’s side. As she works to recruit them, she’ll learn new abilities to help further her quest. You’ll be glad to have some company as the battles quickly grow from fighting one-on-one against cute rice-ball rabbits to multiple floating heads without bodies, simply floating organs hidden by their flowing hair or giant hungry lizard beasts.

Uh...little help?

Uh…little help?

Gameplay is king in the prototype and it draws heavily from Valkyrie Profile as promised. Of course, there’s also a healthy dose of Super Metroid thrown in the mix. You’ll run around a 2D labyrinth, initially only able to run, jump, and wall jump through the stage, until the ax opens up a whole new type of platforming once found. And the full release will feature even more items to allow for further traversal, meaning backtracking will almost certainly be included.  Enemies wander about and initiate combat when touched, at which point both parties will reveal themselves right away (no cut-aways to a separate field or summoning scenes).

Combat is quick and active, but not completely real-time. Each character is locked to one button to attack, and they have a meter which must fill up before they can strike. In the prototype, you’ll have Zebei and Tungar as your main damage-dealers while Ramzi serves as the mage/healer, and Ajna herself can mix it up according to her selected weapon. Monsters also have invisible gauges and will attack at intervals, signaled by an orange glow, while the targeted character(s) will flash red. In this moment, attacking is disabled and pressing the appropriate button will cause that character to block, or another button will cause all the party to block. Each successful strike or block fills up your groups Iddhi gauge that allows for special moves – be it a powerful strike or a group-heal.

It’s a rather simple system to pick up, and early fights can be won simply by mashing all the buttons, but meter management and combos become more important in difficult fights. Knocking an enemy in the air might mean missing with a lower attack. Some attacks are weak but imbue status effects like slowing enemies down. Other attacks are powerful, but create a long cooldown that might leave you vulnerable. Holding the block button drains the Iddhi gauge, so it’s crucial to understand attack timing and targeting, lest too much of the gauge is drained and leaves you unable to perform a special ability. Master the techniques, though, and you’ll set up devastating chain attacks. There’s a lot of room for experimenting and trial-and-error,and with multiple Incarnations in the full release, there are all kinds of possibilities.

Considerably less cute...kill it!

Considerably less cute…kill it!

Though the combat system is impressive, Lab Zero hasn’t been slacking off in other areas. The prototype for Indivisible was put together in just a few months but already offers a good deal to explore. The stage design, along with the characters, enemies, and their animations are very well done, better than many finished games. The music, composed by Secret of Mana’s Hiroki Kikuta, offers just the right sort of atmosphere. There are even hidden secrets to the game such as how to beat it without fighting anything, or how to find and defeat a hidden boss. So far, Indivisible is shaping up to be a great game. Unfortunately, even given their track record, $1.5 million is a lot to ask (certainly better than the projected $3.5 million budget, though). It can also be incredibly hard to get people to lay down money on a game that won’t come out for more than 2 years. Here’s hoping they can pull through the support needed!

Quick & Easy Details

Title: Indivisible

Indiegogo Goal: $1,500,000

Developer: Lab Zero (with support from 505 Games)

Home Page: http://indivisiblegame.com/

Twitter: @IndivisibleRPG

Planned Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One

Planned Release Date: January 2018

If you’re interested in Indivisible, be sure to head over to their Indiegogo and pledge your support!

 

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