The beginning of the crowdfunding bubble back in 2012 was the start of a new era of game development and production; that’s not to say it’s all been great, as we’ve seen from the numerous crowdfunding disasters and outright scams that have resulted, but we’ve certainly seen some new games that might not have been made had crowdfunding not taken off. Lately the bubble has largely burst, with projects that might have once been instant winners like Project Rap Rabbit failing to make their goals amid a seemingly more cautious outlook from potential backers, but we’ve still got plenty of crowdfunding darlings like Lab Zero’s action-RPG Indivisible on the way.
This is worth mentioning because a demo was recently released for backers and press to get a first look at how Indivisible is going to work.
The backer demo that we got to check out was fairly light on content, but it provides a great idea of what Indivisible will eventually be like once we’ve got the full thing in our hands. It’s actually pretty easy to summarize: it’s going to be a whole lot like the classic RPG Valkyrie Profile (or, more recently, that series’ spiritual successor Exist Archive), right down to the way the combat system and exploration work. There are certainly worse games to knock off, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
If you aren’t familiar, these games feature an action-focused exploration system. Main character Ajna runs around environments platforming and searching for items; Indivisible is interesting in its use of Ajna’s weaponry as a means of adding depth to platforming, such as by allowing her to use an axe to flip upwards alongside vertical walls. While inventory and equipment systems weren’t yet in place in the backer demo, there were already promising indications that there will be plenty of secrets and goodies to find if you’ve got an eye for exploration.
Upon encountering an enemy, this shifts to turn-based combat. Said combat maps each member of your four-person party to a face button; pressing one of those buttons attacks with the associated character, with the idea being to time your presses so your characters’ attacks flow together into a powerful combo attack. Successful combos will build a power gauge, called Iddhi, that’s used to fuel special character-specific Iddhi abilities. Indivisible takes things a step further by also introducing an active element to defense, where you’ll press characters’ buttons to make them block attacks at the cost of Iddhi; holding buttons results in a longer period of defense but also sucks up more Iddhi, so carefully-timed quick blocks tend to be far more efficient.
It’s an interesting system that promises much from Indivisible’s gameplay…but it’s really the majority of what we can take away from the backer demo. I suppose something can also be said for the gorgeous graphics and animation, but we knew from the start that this was going to be a great-looking game – the Lab Zero team was originally known for their work on the animated 2D fighter Skullgirls, after all. Part of what draws me to an RPG, though, is the setting and story, and we haven’t seen much of that yet; further, Indivisible in particular promises a selection of guest characters from other indie games and I’m eager to see how those work out. Either way, for now, it’s clear that this remains a title to keep an eye on years after it was initially funded.