INDIKA Review – Nun of Your Business

Indika game screenshot, Monastery
INDIKA Review – Nun of Your Business

Platforms: Sony PS4, Sony PS5, Microsoft Xbox Series S/X, Windows PC, Steam

Game Name: INDIKA

Publisher: 11 bit studios

Developer: Odd Meter

Genre: Adventure

Release Date: May 2nd, 2024

INDIKA by Odd Meter

If you’ve played narrative-driven games before, you know what to expect from INDIKA: walk from one area to another with dialogue and light puzzle-solving along the way.

INDIKA feels familiar in this regard as everything is secondary to the narrative. It’s a linear experience, and your enjoyment will rely heavily on how much you get into its narrative, which will likely feel vastly different from what you’ve played before.

Indika game screenshot, Mill

Nun of Her Business

INDIKA tells the story of the eponymous character’s journey of self-discovery. As a nun, Indika feels guilt throughout her daily life, personified by a devious voice inside her head – it could just be her own thoughts, or you could interpret it as the unholy influence of the devil – that belittles her and offers philosophical diatribes to sway her toward sinful things.

Indika soon meets an ailing soldier named Ilya, who believes he hears the voice of God inside his own head. He believes God wants to test him by making him find a holy item called the Kudets, believed to heal all ailments. Ilya and Indika travel together, not knowing the arduous path ahead.

Indika’s journey is in many ways, tragic. There is a looming cloud of uncertainty and darkness throughout, and the narrative tackles themes of religion, sex, death, trauma, and free will head-on through cinematics or dialogue.

Thankfully, they are handled well and don’t feel forced in just to be shocking. They make sense and fit Indika’s story. By the end, the game’s narrative left me both relieved and unsettled (but in a satisfying way).

INDIKA’s world – a fantastic, alternate history Russia – is odd, fascinating, and mysterious. Surreal moments make you question what is really happening: large structures like giant bells make everyone feel physically and metaphorically small, as do the car-sized wolves. Things like this made me want to learn as much about this world as I could.

Indika game screenshot, Explore Gif

Pilgrims’ Progress

Gameplay revolves around basic light puzzle-solving, mainly involving climbing objects and flipping switches to clear the path forward.
Unfortunately, these puzzles feel uninspired, as they neither add much challenge nor contribute to lore or story.

The puzzles take place in bland locations like mills and factories, which feel uninteresting as they don’t offer much in the way of environmental storytelling or world-building. Even interactable objects within these spaces don’t offer much lore.

On the bright side, the game does mix up puzzles just enough to ward off repetition, and the game occasionally changes core mechanics in some surprising ways to keep things interesting.

With more compelling places to explore and characters to interact with, INDIKA’s narrative could have been even better. That said, there are philosophical moments and imagery here one can analyze and delve into, and plenty of room for interpretation.

The story INDIKA does tell was compelling enough for me to stay captivated throughout, but part of me wanted the narrative fleshed out further because I wanted to learn more.

Religious Visions

Visually the game impresses in every regard, from footprints in the snow to atmospherically dark indoor spaces. The attention to detail makes spaces like grimy factories or abandoned dwellings come alive.

Voice-acting in this game helps sell the game’s narrative. The actors – both the native Russian and English-speaking English cast – do a fine job throughout, delivering their lines with plenty of nuance and inflection to drive home a more engaging narrative.

Indika game screenshot, Guitarist

Its soundtrack features an odd but fitting vibe, utilizing electronic beats and 8-bit sounds to create an eerie soundscape that feels uniquely quirky. It’s fantastic and makes INDIKA more interesting, adding to the lighter moments while making its darker elements even more off-putting.

The Verdict

As someone who grew up in a religious household, INDIKA ultimately ended up resonating with me. Its narrative is thought-provoking and provocative, especially with what it says about humanity’s relationship with religion, and is strong enough to overshadow its shortcomings.

It’s not a perfect game, but it feels like it came from an inspired place. INDIKA is one of the most unique games I’ve ever played, one I won’t soon forget.

INDIKA is available via the Sony Playstation Store, the Microsoft Store, and Steam.

Check out the official trailer for INDIKA below:

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