It’s fair to say that Lab Zero Games have had a somewhat tricky start. Skullgirls quickly drew a huge following upon its release, despite legal disputes from one of their publishers and a takedown request from the publisher’s parent company. It survived thanks to the fans and it’s endured so that we can even enjoy it on current platforms. But keen to write a new chapter and make a fresh start, Lab Zero Games successfully funded Indivisible on Indiegogo, looking to make a completely different game. Backer previews were distributed this week and it’s shaping up very nicely!
We don’t get much in the way of story hints as the main character Anja chases after a critter through some ruins, but the 30 minute taster of gameplay we got in this side-scrolling RPG was certainly there in full force. In it, we found a handful of characters, a ton of monsters to fight, and a little bit of treasure along the way.
Exploring the ruins initially had that Mega Man X feel thanks to the slick controls and manner in which Anja can wall jump. She can also slide underneath objects or into enemies. However, later on she can find both a bow and arrow to deal some damage to enemies from afar, though crucially not kill them. She can also find an axe which can not only be used as a weapon in combat, but also chop vines and embed into walls to increase jumping capabilities.
While the rest of the upgrades featured seemed somewhat mundane, I really liked the utility of the axe since it is best used for increasing vertical movement, while wall jumping excels in horizontal jumping. The marriage of these two skills made platforming a challenge, especially finding those hard-to-reach places to grab the treasure. The gems didn’t mean anything in this preview build other than increasing a completion percentage, but the effort required to get them was preceded with a lightbulb moment of understanding rather than flat out told to me.
While the exploration eventually had that Metroidvania quality, combat is more akin to Valkyrie Profile where each character in your party is mapped to a single button. I was able to either press the corresponding button for that character or perform skills via button combos, spending a chunk of the attack meter that builds up with each attack lands.
The caveat to this though is defending. Pressing and holding the button of the targeted character will block a targeted attack, while pressing the button at the right time when an enemy is attempting to throw them will nullify the grapple. Some attacks will hit everyone, but you can use a ‘block all’ button at the cost of the building attack meter. It’s a deceptively simple system with more nuance than one would expect.
I’m certain that I’ve barely scratched the surface, but what I have seen thus far shows a game that has beautifully hand-crafted visuals and was a good deal of fun to play. With more characters to join Anja’s adventure and with the rest of the game in the works, I can say with confidence that Indivisible is one to keep an eye on.