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Indika screenshot

Indika review – A nun-sensical adventure

Home » Reviews » Indika review – A nun-sensical adventure

It’s safe to say that you’ll have never played anything quite like Odd Meter’s Indika before. This narrative-driven adventure that puts you in control of a nun with the devil on her shoulder is both utterly unique and surreal in the best possible ways. It’s just a shame it’s woefully short and doesn’t make the most of one of its most interesting mechanics.

Set in an alternative Russia at the turn of the 19th century, it appears that no-one likes Indika. Though it’s somewhat clear after spending only minutes with her that she perhaps doesn’t quite fit in with the others at her convent – she appears a little kooky. After her latest mishap, she’s tasked with delivering a letter outside of the monastery – a move made to get her our of the way, we believe. In any case, it’s a journey that proves to be pivotal to the development of Indika. And a challenging one at that.

Initially, Indika travels alone, requiring her to overcome troublesome obstacles herself. Or perhaps that’s not quite right. You see, with the devil creeping in, the world around her is somewhat distorted, and only by engaging in prayer can it be restored. There are some areas, then, where you need to make use of the devil’s distorted reality to progress. A structure might be dilapidated when under the influence of the devil, for example, allowing you to climb on top of it. Then, when praying to get back to reality, that structure might raise to reach a platform, allowing you to progress.

Indika screenshot
Image: Odd Meter

While this mechanic isn’t exactly new — multiple other games require you to manipulate space or time to pretty much achieve the same thing — it is engaging. It’s a shame, then, that it’s not made use of all that often in Indika. Other puzzles, and there are many of them, are of the more traditional variety, such as moving blocks so you can access new areas and suchlike. Still, puzzles aren’t the main reason you’ll be playing Indika: that’ll be the narrative.

The story of Indika is dark, tackling issues such as religion and sexual assault. Yet despite this it’s not always oppressive and glum; there are moments of levity as well, along with occurrences so absurd you’ll be left scratching your head. At the heart of it all, though, is a burgeoning love story between Indika and a criminal on the run. He believes he’s on a mission from God. She’s questioning whether God even exists. Between them they’re an unusual pair, but that’s what makes the interactions between them so interesting and engaging.

Ultimately, you’re never quite sure where the story of Indika is going to go next. Or what you might end up doing gameplay-wise. Along with the usual puzzle and explorations sections, there are also multiple chase sequences where you’re pursued by a huge, almost supernatural-looking dog, for example. And there are also multiple flashbacks to Indika’s past delivered as old-school pixelated games, challenging your platforming and racing skills.

Indika screenshot
Image: Odd Meter

By the time the credits are rolling on Indika, which will likely take most players around 4-5 hours, you’ve been on a genuine rollercoaster. You’ll have experienced ups and down, been left horrified and gobsmacked, and chances are you’ll have a lot of questions. One might be: is there actually any point to the scoring system employed throughout the game? We just don’t know. The important thing, though, is that Indika makes you think.

If you’re into dark tales and narrative adventures that aren’t afraid to make you think, it’s hard not to whole-heartedly recommend Indika. Sure, its surreal nature means it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and it’s a shame that one of its most unique mechanics is underutilised, but on the whole those who find themselves gripped beyond its purposefully dull opening will be captivated from beginning to end. It may be short, but Indika’s journey will stick with us for a long, long time.

This review of Indika was facilitated by a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PC, with a console release planned for later this month.

Indika review - GameSpew's score

Indika
8 10 0 1
Indika is one of the most surreal games we've ever played. And while it's short, it's easy for us to recommend thanks to its dark and unpredictable story and thoughtful, engaging puzzles.
Indika is one of the most surreal games we've ever played. And while it's short, it's easy for us to recommend thanks to its dark and unpredictable story and thoughtful, engaging puzzles.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Photo-realistic visuals
  • Fantastic story and voice acting
  • Engaging puzzles

We don't like...

  • Quite short
  • Puzzles involving the influence of the devil are underused

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