You might recognise Lab Zero as the minds behind Skullgirls, but they're back with a new RPG called Indivisible, which starts when protagonist Ajna's home village is ravaged by an army of bad guys. Ajna herself manages to escape, because she gets a mysterious third eye on her forehead, and before you know it a Dhar soldier (who killed her father) is inside her head like a captive, meaning it's time to use this insider information to get revenge.
Indivisible combines side-scrolling action and fighting, and it's during the latter portion that the game really shines, with its good-looking strategic combat. During her journey Ajna encounters 20 new characters, and all of them join Dhar as a resident inside her head. Some of them will help her in combat, which are fought with a maximum party size of four characters, and each character uses one of the four buttons on a controller. Buttons correspond to attacks, or blocks for an incoming attack, and as we played we were reminded of the Valkyrie Profile games.
Damage taken by the enemies fill a special move meter, and with this the whole party can take cover by using L1 when the enemies start charging up to unleash a bigger attack. If you'd rather be more aggressive though, this can also be used for a single character to perform a special maneuver by pressing R1 and the assigned attack button of that character.
For example, Ajna herself will perform a powerful attack with a fist, and a witch doctor named Razmi conjures an effective healing spell for all. This system makes every decision incredibly important, and boss fights in particular turn into tactical face-offs, where you need to think carefully about what to do. At the same time you also need to be ready for your enemies' attacks as well, since executing a block requires a sense of rhythm, and the flow of combat can change rapidly. These fights look good, and they are the highlight of Indivisible.
Ajna can go whenever she wants to in her own Inner Realm, where the characters not taking part in combat are spending their time with their special abilities. For example, by going to a pilgrimage couple Ajna can make herself stronger with stones she has gathered. Aside from having more and more characters, the Inner Realm actually doesn't really offer much more than that, which is a real shame. The dispute between Ajna and the Dhar soldier is not really explored either, or the fact that he is being held as a captive in Ajna's head.
Ajna's quest for revenge gets a bit more colourful because of her own charisma, since the character design is imaginative and unique pretty much across the board. Indivisible takes inspiration from Eastern mythology in its enemy design, and while the English acting is OK, it's nothing to shout about. What is noticeable, however, is the lack of variety in the music you'll be encountering during your time the game. The tune used in the background while walking around gets old fast, trust us.
Unfortunately, platforming is the weakest part of the experience, since levels are empty. They occasionally have some nice scenery, but essentially they're just long pipes with little variation. There should have been more save points too, and luckily there are things to collect, namely those stones mentioned earlier. Controlling Ajna is unfortunately not precise enough, which makes exploration even more tedious when you're struggling to jump from platform to platform on your way.
While in the air, Ajna can use her axe to grab onto a wall, and then do another leap from this position. This is Indivisible's version of a double jump. The trick here is that it's not enough to jump just by pressing the square button. You need to keep pressing the button a little longer, and during that time Ajna falls down towards the ground, which sometimes makes that one extra jump useless. This essentially causes the player to get stuck in certain spots for way too long, which then hurts the pacing of the game. You can upgrade your axe, and then Ajna can find secret paths by smashing magic walls with her upgraded axe, but it still didn't save it from becoming an annoyance.
Bad platforming sections and bland story stick out like a sore thumb with Indivisible, because the combat itself is so good. The experience would have benefitted from having a little tighter narrative, although it's still very much a unique and interesting game. It should be approached with a bit of caution, and keeping your play sessions short, so you can make the most of the points where Indivisible shines brightest.