Indika Review

Check out the our review of Indika to find out what we thought about this adventure starring a 19th Century Russian nun.

What makes for an arthouse video game? The mind wanders to the reams of homecooked indie experiences on, what with their punk sense of experimentation and expression. Indika, however, offers a different kind of arthouse – one that’s more in tune with arthouse cinema, rendered in the form of a video game.

This shockingly original adventure puts you in the habit of a 19th century Orthodox Christian nun in an alternate universe Tsarist Russia. Frequently tormented by the voice of the devil himself, young Indika is dispatched on a mission to deliver a letter to a distant monastery. Her plans go awry not long after departure, however, and as circumstances change around her, she finds herself coming to a reckoning with not just the voice in her head, but the memories of her past, and the trials of the present.

It’s something you’d expect from a festival film, not a video game. Indeed, much of the game involves watching cutscenes or moving Indika from place to place. The game’s high-end graphics and believable facial animations make for an experience that stacks up to the arthouse films the game is hoping to match.

Indika Review

And then, there’s the curveballs. Indika’s past is explored through 2D, pixel art sections. It’s a very artful effect, making those segments that much more vivid and defined, and punctuating Indika’s present-day 3D cinematic journey with her nostalgic pixel art platforming past.

The game employs plenty of surrealism that calls to mind Bulgakov’s classic The Master and Margarita, using it to great effect in the game’s puzzle sections, where thinking out of the box mirrors Indika’s own growing mental turbulence.

Indika frequently has philosophical conversations with her unexpected companion Ilya, delving into hypotheticals even as the duo wander in a fish factory made for giants. With the clock ticking on them and the desperation for divine intervention growing with every step, these philosophical discussions are soon tested in practice as well.

Of course, none of this is for the player to figure out or make decisions on – you simply have to guide Indika through the levels and solve unintuitive, bizarre, but eventually satisfying puzzles.

As I played through the game, I felt that there was no better term for the game than ‘oddball’. It’s trying something fresh and new, and it gave me an experience I would not have expected from a video game. Once it’s all said and done, though, Indika does not really overcome that ‘oddball’ reputation to become something more impactful.

Developer: Odd Meter
Country of Origin: Kazakhstan (originally Russia)
Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
Release Date: May 2, 2024 (PC)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher. The PC version of Indika was played for this review.

Thank you for reading our review of Indika. Playing the game already? Check out our walkthrough of the game!

For more interesting articles about indie games, be sure to check out the links below.

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