We tested the new Skullgirls creators for two hours, a colorful and original role-playing adventure and platforms.
In the video game industry, there are two forces that fight for hegemony, as if they were antagonistic currents: on the one hand, the sequels and remakes of known games; on the other, the fresh and original proposals. There are those who are tired of always playing the same thing, who claim that they always tend to the same formulas, who claim to live different experiences every time they face a video game. Innovation is important, there is no doubt about that, but not all productions are required to make a difference. Indivisible, however, does choose to mark a different path.
The awakening of the warrior
In the plot, the video game puts us in the shoes of Ajna, a girl who lives in a rural town with her father. The secrets are part of his day to day, because the reasons for the mysterious death of his mother have never been fully revealed. Everything changes after a day of training, when invaders attack and burn the village. Between fire and ashes, his father is struck down by a gentleman of black intentions. Consumed by anger, the girl prepares to take the next blow. That is when a strange power manifests itself. What is the truth about this immense flow of energy that flows from your body? What is it that makes it so special? The young woman will embark on an epic journey to discover it.
She will not be alone. Throughout his journey he will encounter other people, the so-called incarnations. Using her power, Ajna will be able to absorb them and send them to an inner world within her own being. These allies, indispensable in the fight, will help us defeat our enemies. At the plot level, the title reflects a satisfactory premise, although in the narrative it is not a particularly brilliant product. It should be noted that it has been translated into Spanish, and from what we have seen, in a more than correct way.
The new work of Lab Zero Games is one of those games that enter through the eyes. It has a visual section that has been worked by hand, with large and colorful two-dimensional characters, dressed with very beautiful scenarios. His anime aesthetic attracts attention from the first moment. But beyond the graphics, this title enjoys other very remarkable attractions.
An original combat system
At the controls, it feels special. His proposal, which combines Japanese platform and RPG mechanics, works surprisingly well. The turn-based combat system moves away from classic role-playing videogames, in the sense that it does not bet on random struggles. At all times, we see the enemies on screen, as in many other current video games. Traditional productions such as Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest have already dispensed with them; others, such as the Pokémon franchise, have flirted with concrete deliveries without random fighting, although they have not yet completely rid themselves of them.
What's new in this independent study, Skullgirls authors, also allows you to interact with the enemy before the combat screen pops up. Thus, if you deal the first blow, you will have an initial advantage. But be careful, because monsters and enemies move and can harm you before you deploy your attacks. So far, nothing we have not seen in other video games. The most original part is found in the fighting itself.
Reinventing the wheel is not easy. Few do, and those who do, rarely start from scratch. In the case of Lab Zero Games, the starting point has a clear reference: Valkyrie Profile. As in the Tri-Ace game, each of the fighters has an assigned button (in PlayStation 4, circle, X, round and square). To perform an attack, just press a button, but the system is much deeper than that, since different combinations can be executed if we keep one of the directions of the crosshead or the analog stick. Once a burst of attacks is completed, we must wait a few seconds for it to regenerate and we can return to the fight.
Mixing platforms and role
On paper (or the website, rather), embodied in an article like this, it may sound like an easy system to do, but nothing is further from reality. The fighting develops quickly, so one must remain vigilant and active at all times. It is already said in the game itself, the basis of a good attack is a good defense. When the enemy attacks, we will have to use those same commands, press the right button at the right time and absorb the blow in the best possible way. If we do not succeed in the tempos or fail to take shelter, the consequences will be as expected. In addition, some monsters ram with all their strength and reach all members of the group. For those cases, Lab Zero Games allows you to use one of the triggers to perform a joint defense.
The recruitable characters, a total of twenty, offer different profiles. Not everyone is focused on the fight, others act as healers, for example. This offers the possibility to experiment with different combinations and invites us to make all kinds of combos between the characters of the group. On the other hand, in the interface there is a bar that is filled in according to the success rate in both defense and attack. Once complete, one of the protagonists can unfold his special potential and execute a final blow or resurrect some ally fallen in combat. In short, the combat system is simple in appearance, but it demands more and more as the adventure progresses.
What has caught our attention the most is, however, an aspect that breaks the dynamics of combat surprisingly. It does not happen in all struggles. In fact, we have experienced it with one of the final bosses. Pindayar, a viscous and gigantic spider, charges against our group and the battle unfolds as before. However, suddenly, the camera changes to a more distant view, the companions disappear and the protagonist must avoid the corrosive acid that the monster exudes from the heights. The gameplay varies to embrace the gender of the platforms. We will have to jump, avoid and hit freely.
Platforms are another of the pillars of this video game. Except in turn-based fighting, the play adopts a lateral platform game approach. The jumps, at first easy, become more complex. We can even bounce off the wall in order to ascend to otherwise unreachable places. Likewise, the ax serves us for combat, but also to shore up the jump by hooking us to the wall.
Indivisible cannot be divided, it is an indissoluble whole. It's role and platforms, exploration and puzzles, with a dash of metroidvania. In fact, we move through a map that is not 100% open from the beginning. Provided with new skills, we are invited to return, investigate new routes and continue living the history of Ajna.
The game will be available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.