I’ve kept a close eye on Indivisible ever since I first tried the prototype demo back in 2015 when developer Lab Zero Games were trying to garner interest for the game. It finally released to critical acclaim on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC last year, whilst the Nintendo Switch version was due to launch at an unspecified later date.
Well, it finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch, but with little fanfare and under peculiar circumstances, with the developer having no idea about its release and the publisher stating it was accidentally put on the eShop… weird. Still, whilst the launch may not have been smooth, it certainly hasn’t stopped Indivisible from providing a thoroughly entertaining adventure for Switch owners to embark on.
Indivisible puts you in the shoes of a girl named Ajna, who finds herself on a mission for revenge when a warlord named Ravannavar and his minions burn down her home village – all whilst murdering her father in the process. Fortunately, she discovers that she has magical abilities that allow her to absorb the presence of different warriors within her own mind, so she isn’t powerless in her pursuit. However, she faces plenty of twists-and-turns along her journey for vengeance and discovers more about her own destiny than she could’ve possibly imagined.
It’s your run-of-the-mill revenge tale really, though a neat script and some quirky characters do help bring it all to life. It has plenty of your typical RPG tropes too, but they’re presented in an entertaining way that makes it easy to engage yourself with Ajna’s tale. The narrative isn’t going to win the game any awards, but it does a good job in contextualising your journey for revenge and keeping you invested in Indivisible’s world.
One of Indivisible’s most unique features is its blend of genres, with it taking multiple hallmarks of popular modern releases and putting them together into one neat package. Exploration takes a Metroidvania-style approach for example, with the player having to harness their platforming skills as they traverse across labyrinth-like environments that are full of platforming-puzzles to conquer, hazards to avoid, and secrets to uncover. You’ll earn new abilities as you progress through the game too, which help open up new routes for the player to discover as they slowly unravel more and more of each location. It basically adopts everything you’d expect from a Metroidvania genre, but it all works and the solid level design makes exploring Indivisble’s world feel really enjoyable.
When it comes to combat, Indivisible takes more of an RPG-like approach by putting you into encounters that combine turn-based mechanics with a bit of button-mashing, with the player having their party perform actions by simply pressing the buttons which are assigned to them. There are three dots under each character that have a face-button inside – when filled, you can press the button to make them perform an attack, with different options available if you press a direction button as you attack. The dots recharge in-between actions, so it’s up to the player to balance out their attacks, spread them across the party, and try to string together a constant barrage of combos to keep pressure on their enemies. I may have made it sound a little complex there, but it’s relatively simple to keep on top of and adopts a satisfying action-orientated and very intuitive approach.
There are other elements that come into combat too, such as timing the blocking of attacks, chaining together each party member’s abilities for maximum effect, and also unleashing special abilities by using your Iddhi meter which charges as you land attacks – these don’t only deal more damage but often bring with them special attributes or de-buffs. It adds an additional and fun layer of depth to combat that ensures that players are kept on their toes and don’t simply resort to button-mashing and hoping for the best.
There are also a wealth of characters to bring into combat, with plenty unlocked as you progress through the game and through side quests. These characters bring with them unique move-sets and abilities too, which allow you to essentially assign them roles in battle. Want to focus on large AOE attacks? Leilana is perfect for that. Need a healer to look after your party’s health? Ginseng is an ideal ally. There are a diverse selection of characters available that often share similar abilities, but it’s always fun to mix them up and see what works best. With Indivisible’s combo-focused battling, stringing together combinations of attacks in a smart rhythm of beatdowns is made easier and more satisfying thanks to the diversity of the characters on offer.
It took me around twenty-hours to complete Indivisible and that was without uncovering all of its content, so it’s clearly a pretty meaty game. With plenty of side quests to complete, characters to unlock, and collectibles to find along the way, it’s easy to find yourself completely absorbed into the world and venturing off the beaten track to see what there is to discover. Of course, it wouldn’t be so enjoyable if the exploration and combat mechanics weren’t so fun, so it’s nice that everything in Indivisible comes together so well.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t have some flaws though. For one, the in-game map isn’t the best and it can be difficult to keep track of where exactly you are – believe me, a bad map is one of the biggest sins a Metroidvania title can have. Then there’s the fact that the combat can be a bit too easy, with no focus placed on levelling or stat-building but simply on stringing together attacks effectively. You can boost your capabilities through the collectibles you find, but not in too significant of a manner. A lot of the time combat simply boils down to button-mashing, and once you’ve got the right character setup and know which attacks compliment each other, the challenge seems to fade away.
Of course, it doesn’t stop combat from being exciting, but it can feel a little less rewarding when you breeze through encounters with ease. It’s also worth noting that the Nintendo Switch version is missing some of the content that has been brought to other platforms – hopefully we’ll see that sooner rather than later, though.
One thing that I can’t end this review without mentioning is how stunning Indivisible looks, with the visuals proving outstanding on both the Switch’s handheld and docked modes. I primarily played the game handheld and was left constantly impressed, with the hand-drawn and vibrant visuals almost popping off the screen. Between the imaginative characters, stylish environments, and fluid animations, everything just looks wonderful and helps makes Indivisible’s world a fascinating one to be a part of.
Indivisible offers a brilliant mish-mash of genres that doesn’t only look beautiful, but also just so happens to be a heck of a lot of fun to play. Between the effective Metroidvania-style exploration and the entertaining combat, there’s plenty on offer to get you completely absorbed into the adventure.
It does have some imperfections, most notably with the in-game map and the easy difficulty of the game, but they certainly don’t hamper what is otherwise a fantastic experience that Nintendo Switch gamers will definitely want to be a part of.
Developer: Lab Zero Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC