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Indika Review (PS5) – Who Would Have Thought A Day With The Devil Would Be So Intriguing

Indika Review (PS5) – One of the best things to come out of these last two console generations is the release of games from different regions of the world that don’t get much representation. Games like Chernobylite, Atomic Hearts, and 38MM bring fresh perspectives to the industry. Joining those games is Indika.

Much like the aforementioned games, Indika delivers a unique experience you cannot find anywhere else. After finishing the game, I say with full earnest that Indika is an inquisitive and enthralling experience.

Indika Review (PS5) – Who Would Have Thought A Day With The Devil Would Be So Intriguing

The standard response to Indika across the internet comes in any form of “I haven’t played a game like Indika before.” Not to sound like a broken record, I repeat that sentiment wholeheartedly. First off, not many games out there even include a convent.

Second, I cannot think of one game that has you step into the shoes of a nun as the main character. Third, you have all of the batty things that take place along the way. The game sets the tone very early on when you see Indika receive communion, and a little man climbs out of a nun’s mouth and dances down her arms toward Indika.

Despite their values, the entire convent sees Indika as inferior. The whys don’t surface until later, but it opens the door for many of the concepts this game wants to challenge: humanity and its capacity for genuine holiness, the defining of sin, and how good cannot exist without evil, among many other topics.

Everything Indika does also features some sort of influence from the Devil attached to her. This creates a bit of a contradictory element to everything you come across in the game, but the effect plays so beautifully with what the game wants you to experience.

For instance, when you are in danger, the game plays tracks that are both suspenseful and a bit silly, kind of like if you hear a carnival jingle played over the music from a scene in a horror movie.

The first time I experienced this, I felt like the game was trying to make light of the situation. As things progressed and concepts grew deeper, the more I conceptually caught up to the juxtaposition the game put in front of me. The jollier nature of the music starts to warp in your ear and feel unsettling alongside the suspenseful sounds.

Conceptual Puzzles

To bring variety to the game, you face different puzzles where your demon monologues while warping reality around you. To counter this, you pray to bring things back to normal. However, these puzzles require you to choose between listening and praying in order to reach certain footfalls or paths before you can progress.

As you can expect, these puzzles naturally and organically tie into the themes of the game. None of them are inherently mind-bending either. It just takes some running around to figure out angles.

To expand just a bit, there is one puzzle in this game that took me off guard in the best way. I will not go into detail, but this puzzle manages to surprise you with shifts in perspective and spatial awareness as well as inner self without hinting about it at all beforehand.

Just an absolute stroke of genius in creative video game development that perfectly aligns with everything the game sets out to do.

As something of an apatheist, I don’t usually get much from religious material. What stood out for me with Indika is that it validates itself and its religious outlook by putting those same outlooks on a chopping block to see what remains after the human experience gets to it. I’ll stop preaching now, but I just can’t shake how much Indika has made me truly think deeply about the game after finishing it.

Naturally, I haven’t played every game in between, but the last game to give me a similar level of introspection was What Remains of Edith Finch back in 2017.

Not A Simple Walking Sim

While Indika may look like strictly a walking simulator with some weird cutscenes (just to hyperbolically generalize the game for those who may not take it seriously), it also features several mini-games along the way that contribute to the greater whole. These all come in the form of 8-bit sequences.

Some are side-scrollers, some are racers, and one is even like Pac-Man. All of these work as flashbacks to Indika’s youth and how she ended up where the game begins. None of these mini-games are too terribly challenging, and you don’t suffer any sort of consequence for failing. You just start back up again.

While not perfect, Indika is a strikingly vivid and gorgeous game. Every little shed, cathedral, and crawlspace just bleed of detail and verisimilitude. Many of these places are abandoned due to accidents, but the spaces left behind convincingly show that people lived or occupied those spaces.

In several places, the game muddies that immersion by showing objects pass through each other or water not fully pouring out of a bucket. In particular, these are most noticeable in action sequences. Most of these sequences occur early on in the game.

Equally so, I only remember them in hindsight because of the reference screenshots I took along the way. I say this because I absolutely ate up everything this game put in front of me. However, transitions from gameplay to cutscenes leave a lot to be desired.

Almost every time, the gameplay cuts right outside a building, for instance, only for the cutscene to start with Indika already positioned inside the building. These jumps aren’t as bad as, say, going from a snowy scene to randomly showing up somewhere tropical, but they still ask you to fill in the blanks more than is natural.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Indika is a combination of strong concepts and beautiful visuals, intertwining its themes and details together with lightning-in-a-bottle excellence. Transitions lack the same level of attention, and some visuals break immersion during action sequences.

Equally so, Indika is something special and a worthy purchase for anyone evenly remotely curious. As a traditional collector, I would bend over backwards for a chance to get a physical version for my display.

Indika is available now on PS5.

Review code generously provided by the publisher.



The Final Word

Indika combines strong themes with fantastic visual and thoughtful delivery, creating something wholly unique and worthwhile. None of the game's hiccups stand in the way of what makes Indika special.