Indivisible Hands-On Preview: A Unique RPG-Vania Affair
Two years in a row now I’ve had the pleasure to play Lab Zero Games’ Indivisible, which is best described as an action-RPG with a very strong Metroidvania exploration gameplay. It’s been one of my favorite non-AAA games to see at E3, and after playing the latest build, I’m even more sad that the game has been delayed until 2019.
This year’s demo featured a more fleshed out prototype that backers of the game have been able to play for some time now. You play as Ajna, who has some mystical abilities that allow her to house other characters you find in the game in her inner world where you can go to level up and change your party. At any one time you can have three other characters in your party for battles, but you fill come across multiple, so you must decide which combo of characters works best for a situation, or for your play style.
The gameplay, at least when it comes to exploration, is very Metroid-vania-like. There’s a heavy focus on platforming and seeking out areas to explore to find new items to allow you to discover areas that you were blocked from exploring previously. In my demo, I had to get past some tree roots to advance towards a boss, but I didn’t have the appropriate tool to do so at first, so I had to go explore other unexplored areas, which eventually yielded me an axe that could hew through the roots.
In addition to this game’s heavy focus on platforming and exploration, it also features some very unique RPG-esque gameplay. The game seamlessly transitions from the side scrolling explorative gameplay right into a battle, which feels like a classic Final Fantasy game, albeit with an active battle gauge so you always have to be ready to attack. The battles themselves also kind of feel like a fighting game, because you don’t pick from a menu of moves or special abilities, rather each character you have in your party gets assigned to a face button on the controller.
So every time you battle you have to constantly watch each character’s turn meter so you know when you can hit their button to attack, as well as hitting their assigned button to defend incoming attacks. This may sound easy at first, but once you take on multiple enemies with a full party, you have to constantly be aware of when attacks are coming in, as well as when attacks are ready to be dealt.
While each character is controlled with one button, they still have more than one attack. If you hit up or down while hitting their attack button, they will perform additional attacks. Each character also has up to three special moves, which can be enacted after a meter is built up from standard attacks. These can be devastating attacks, or buffs for healing, so again you have to always been on your toes to fire off your attacks, blocks, and specials to have any chance of success.
I lost more than once to just common enemies as I tried to get my head wrapped around the unique control scheme, but once I started to get the ebb and flow of a battle, the controls felt perfect and I started to become a much more formidable foe for the enemies in my path. Indivisible’s bosses are even more difficult, so this game also features a heavy bit of strategy as you tackle its bigger and badder enemy types.
Indivisible may not have AAA-brand recognition, but it’s stood out to me these past two E3 trips thanks to its unique Metroid-vania RPG gameplay, and for the look of its world and characters. It’s a very charming game to say the least, and it plays well too, so while I’m sad that it has been delayed until 2019, I’m glad the team is committed to making the best possible version of it.
You can check it out in action below.
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