A wide portion of gamers are probably already familiar with Lab Zero. The studio’s first game, Skullgirls, brought a new excitement to the fighting game genre with its tight controls and interesting plot run by an entirely female roster (excluding later add-ons). I know my friend group was obsessed with the game when it came out. Even I was, and I don’t really even like fighting games that much. But while it was fun to unload a few diamond drops on my opponents, what enticed me was Lab Zero’s art style—a sort of mix between Eastern and Western animation. So when I heard that the studio was gearing up to release another game using the same style, I’ll admit, I was excited. Following the information surrounding their campaign, I’m even more excited.
Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that while the characters of Skullgirls were really interesting, they didn’t at all depart from the shitty fighting game trope of lady fighters having ridiculously emphasized breasts. (Although they did remove some unnecessary panty shots from the game; baby steps.) As such, when I heard that Indivisible was going to have another female lead, I was worried; as much as I’m here for a female protag, I’m so tired of developers using this chance to give us character designs obviously created for titillation and nothing else. However, Ajna is the protagonist we both need and deserve. Her clothes look functional and well-suited for fighting and traversing her world, in addition to showing off her character perfectly. And it’s not only Ajna: all the female characters in Indivisible have clothes that make sense and show off their personality in addition to what part of the world they come from. Be still my heart.
Speaking of which, one of the best things about Indivisible is that it draws its inspiration from Southeast Asian mythology, which means we’re getting a whole array of characters of color as well as learning about mythologies that usually aren’t given much stage time (excluding the typical “Far East” stereotype-y mythos that Hollywood producers seem so attached to). Looking through the character roster, my heart is soaring. Not only do all the characters have varied body types, the characters of color are in the majority and are given such interesting powers and personalities, and we even have disabled characters. I can’t wait to meet all of them as I take Ajna to get revenge on the warlords who attacked her village!
One of the more interesting things about this Indiegogo campaign is that they actually have a playable demo available. While this demo doesn’t really go into Ajna’s story or how she can absorb “incarnations” to make herself stronger, it does let you traverse a couple maps and see how the game feels. Which is pretty damned good. I’ll admit, I had some trouble getting used to the controls, and I’m still not particularly good at designating the actions of my party with four different buttons rather than mashing the A-button through a list of options, but I do think that comes mostly from assigning keyboard controls when I’m just more used to controller inputs. However, my rustiness aside, the controls were tight and well explained: in combat, the characters have different attack moves depending on which direction you hold when you attack, and the defend button just as simple as pushing each character’s action key. Wall jumping was fun, but I couldn’t help but feel the game could use a double jump feature somewhere—maybe that will come later in the game. The maps are beautiful and interesting to move through, and the enemies… okay well, they’re not that inspired if I’m being completely honest, but random RPG mobs never are. The boss monsters are sure to be neat, though.
On Indivisible’s Indiegogo page, they’re asking for 1.5 million dollars. This seems like a lot, and some people have been disgusted with what they interpret as money grubbing, however this isn’t the case. Game development takes a lot of money, and Lab Zero doesn’t have that AAA dough. Additionally, Lab Zero seems to be pulling out all the stops for this game, even hiring Hiroki Kikuta of Secret of Mana fame to do the soundtrack, so understandably that’s going to take some cash. Lab Zero completely realize this is a lot to ask from crowd funding, so according to an AMA on Reddit, they’ve stated that if they reach $900k by the 13th, they’ll extend the crowd funding period for another month. If they meet their total funding goal, 505 Games (Payday, Cooking Mama) has promised to back them with an additional $2 million which will ensure the game’s release. I know it seems like a lot of money, but truly, every little bit helps. This game could set an amazing precedent for what people will buy in the gaming sphere outside of the fighting game niche, and may help bring more diversity to more games in the future. If you can, please support them, if not monetarily, then by spreading the word. The campaign ends on the 15th, so let’s see if we can get this interesting, inclusive game funded!