Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Lab Zero Games
Even though I love Indivisible, I’ve been putting off writing about it, because I’m having trouble articulating exactly why I enjoy it so much. If you look at its individual parts — anime-inspired graphics, 2D metroidvania platforming, turn-based combat, party management — literally none of it appeals to me. But when you put all those pieces together in this package, magic happens and it’s suddenly one of my favourite games of the year so far.
Part of it, I suspect, is the game’s sense of humour. While Indivisible is by no means a joke game, it’s definitely one of the funnier games I’ve ever played. The characters are all quick with solid one-liners, and they manage to be snarky and sarcastic without being obnoxious about it. That’s a tough balance to strike, but it’s pulled off here expertly.
That said, I think the even bigger part of why the game works so well is because all those elements I usually dislike are done really well in this instance. Take the graphics. Sure, they’re indebted to anime — main character Ajna has a pet that looks like it belongs in Ni No Kuni — but like, say, Studio Ghibli, the game is understated in a way you don’t usually associate with the genre, if that makes any sense.
Similarly, the platforming here is done well enough that you won’t mind all the backtracking and constantly checking maps. The way the worlds here are laid out it feels like you’re progressing naturally, rather than going through the usual metroidvania loop of new ability-new area-repeat.
As for the turn-based battles and the party management…they don’t bring anything new to the table, but I still liked them, perhaps because they’re so closely linked. The gist of Indivisible is that Anja keeps encountering new people, who then get sucked into her head (sorry, her “inner realm”), and she can then use those people to fight alongside her. Even as the cast swells, the game does a great job of differentiating the characters, not just by their abilities, but also in how they react — which goes back to why humour is such an important element of the game.
I know I’ve probably done a horrible job of capturing what makes Indivisible so wonderful, but you’ve got to believe me: it really is a fantastic game. If I can love it despite it featuring a whole bunch of elements I usually dislike, I think that speaks to just how good it is — and it means that you already are a fan of anime-inspired graphics, metroidvania platforming, or turn-based combat, then you should find even more to enjoy here.
505 Games provided us with an Indivisible Switch code for review purposes.
Grade: ATag: indivisible reviews