Review: Indika – A Journey of Self-Discovery and Belief

Review Indika

Indika is a brand-new third-person narrative adventure game developed by Odd Meter and 11 bit studios. The game follows the journey of a nun who travels through an alternative Russia in order to deliver a letter but she has a secret. The journey takes us through breathtaking scenery throughout Russia but the main focus remains the nun’s mental health and her belief in god. Despite being a nun, Indika is not fully sold on it and because of this, she is not able to fully commit herself to the cause. This journey that started as a mere letter delivery begins to unfold into a story of self-discovery. This is our review of Indika on the PC in which we explore a haunting yet beautiful alternate Russia with the devil trying to humor us in our heads.

Indika begins slowly inside a monastery located in 19th-century Russia and as soon as you jump into the shoes of the game’s apparently shy protagonist Indika, you realize that her peers are not very happy with her. Indika is trying hard to please the other nuns in the monastery as she runs here and there completing different chores such as delivering items and filling buckets of water from the well but nothing seems to be pleasing her peers. We never get to know the reason behind their cold shoulder towards Indika before we are sent out of the Monastery on a journey to another monastery which is located at a great distance and from there, the game really starts to shine in every aspect.

Review Indika

One thing you notice right away is despite the game’s overall color palette being dull and greys, the world is beautifully designed, and everything looks amazing. While most of the locations are covered in white snow, you will cross some really diverse-looking environments in the game including forests, rivers, old railway yards, industrial complexes, and much more. Each location is beautifully designed and offers you a great look into Indika’s dull yet highly detailed world. The dullness of course falls in line with the overall premise of the game because Russia is on the brink of collapse and there is war and wreckage everywhere. People are left without homes and what is left of society is in shambles. There is little to no rule of law which is why everything appears to be extra depressing.

Indika hides yet another secret that completely contradicts her being a nun because she is in direct contact with the devil himself and while nuns are considered to be high in terms of faith and devotion, Indika is going through a crisis inside her head. At key locations, the devil will come out and the world around you will be torn apart. During these phases, you will need to pray in order to bring yourself back to the human world and traverse to the next area until the devil leaves you alone. This unique mechanic plays out in the form of puzzles because when the devil comes out and makes fun of Indika for making mistakes, the world turns red and black, and everything is broken.

Review Indika

Paths and objects are torn in half, and you will need to pray to make everything normal again. To progress, you will need to pray and stop praying again and again to solve the traversal puzzles. This happens in specific locations and mostly, you will spend your time exploring and interacting with different items in the game. Most of the gameplay involves you walking around locations, opening locked areas, finding clues, and solving puzzles to progress to the next area. After some time, you meet another Russian fellow called Illya who has a strong belief in God and is on his own righteous path of calling. Together, both of you continue on the journey and your thoughts and paths mingle quite often as you question Illya and his strong beliefs while he helps Indika out in different tricky situations.

To change pace, there are some really brilliant gameplay mechanics thrown in the mix as well. For example, you have to run from some Russian soldiers in a motorized bike which handles solidly and later you have to escape the jaws of a gigantic dog. Animals are huge in Indika’s world, and it is quite evident early on in the game. Similarly, you will control a huge crane to reach a train platform and later control a steam lifter to move around huge cans as well. These moments really change the pace in a brilliant way and goes to show how much effort the developers have put into the game to make it better and unique in terms of gameplay. Each of these sections feels completely different from the other and offers a nice change of pace from the normal walking around. Indika feels like a walking simulator at first since there is little to no combat in the game, but these moments switch up the pace and allow you to experience the gameplay from different perspectives as well.

The devil itself is a character and one that keeps you both entertained and makes you question Indika’s choices in her life. Throughout the game, as you perform certain actions, the devil will intervene and ask Indika different questions about why she made that particular choice and how much her being a nun influenced her decision. You can easily tell that Indika is not really a fan of being a nun and never wanted to be one based on her replies and to this, the devil takes absolute delight. With progression, Indika’s character continues to develop based on different actions and scenarios.

Since Indika is a narrative adventure, character voice acting plays a vital role and there are no shortcomings here as well. The English dubbing of Indika is done by Isabella Inchbald and she has done a spectacular job at it. You feel the weight in Indika’s voice when she is stressed and often her tongue slips when she does not have the correct answer right away. Another important thing to note is that the further you progress in the game, the more confident Indika starts to sound because she is a suppressed nun inside a monastery no more and she starts to feel herself alive again. She regains her confidence, and this is shown by her facial expressions and her voice and all credit of this goes to the amazing voice acting done by Isabella Inchbald.

Perhaps the only color in Indika you will see is during the childhood sequences that pop up at key locations during the story. These sequences are not only colorful, but they also completely change the game by becoming a top-down 2D platformer where you will need to complete various tasks to proceed in the game. You will learn about different events from Indika’s past such as how she learned to tinker around with motorized bikes, her mental condition, and how she became a nun in the first place. These flashbacks are fully playable and some of these are actually tough to complete. My favourite one is of course the bike race with Indika’s father but the toughest one for me was the dancing frog puzzle. These flashbacks offer a great change of scenery nonetheless and you can expect the gameplay to change as you complete these fun, little mini-games.

Completing a mini-game will reveal something from Indika’s past and immerse you further into the game’s unique and bizarre world. Until the very first mini-game, we already know that Indika is a nun but how she became a nun, and apart from this, many other skills and character traits that Indika has been revealed in these short sections in cool, 2D forms. Apart from these sections, the current events tell another story of how Indika is managing her mental health after everything she has gone through and how it is affecting her actions such as her faith in her religion and ultimately, questioning her becoming a nun in the first place. It is a surreal experience and one that takes you completely by surprise because when the game begins, you are not expecting it to be a very serious and thought-provoking title.

Review Indika

While the game progression is linear, some of the areas throughout the story are fairly large and will give you plenty of opportunities to go off the beaten path and explore different areas. These are connected to the main area, but they are full of little details that add to Indika’s world. You can also find collectibles in these locations that do not add much to the game itself and at the start of the game, it literally tells you that collectibles are useless. If you are exploring each location anyway, you might as well collect them and read their descriptions as they add to the overall lore of the game.

Final Verdict:

Indika is an experience which is unique and covers a sensitive topic that very few developers tend to tackle. It does this in a way that feels different, beautiful, and grief at the same time. The dull and grey world of Indika somehow feels alive after every colorful minigame you complete and by the end of the game, you feel satisfied and fulfilled. Very few games of Indika’s nature tend to give this feeling upon completion. Indika is a narrative-heavy title which makes it best for players who love adventures revolving around story and thought-provoking narration rather than fighting off villains or liberating entire countries. If you are looking for a strictly narrative experience with a twist and something different, Indika is the game you should definitely check out.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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