Indika – a young nun wrestles with the responsibility of choosing to deliver a letter to a monastery or help an injured man. The narrator encourages her to open the letter. To see if it’s important. After deliberating on it, Indika opens the letter. The room rips in two, janky electronic music blares into life, the narrator cackles wildly. You must pray to bring the world back into a calm perspective. Stopping the music, silencing the narrator, fixing the room. Stop for a moment and everything shatters around you again.
This was about 15 minutes into the Next Fest demo of Indika and my confused brain fell in love with this game. The juxtaposition of an alternate late 19th-century Russian world, and the strange arcade game-like coins you collect as experience points and electronic music sounds like a match made in hell. But somehow it works.
Indika is a third-person story-driven game where you are set off on a journey of self-discovery. On the surface, Indika appears to be your typical nun. Trying to adjust to life in the monastery. Humble and innocent she wrestles with the monotony of what her life will look like from here on. However, Indika hides a dark secret. She speaks with The Devil – who also happens to be our aforementioned narrator. This connection to the Evil One leads her on an errand far beyond the safe walls of the monastery.
The world you find yourself in is surreal and right from the off it just seems a bit odd. I couldn’t place my finger on what it was at first. Perhaps it was the little steam-powered bicycle you jumped on at the beginning. Not that weird in and of itself. However, then I noticed the coins in the top left of my screen. 1490 out of 1630 – what is this? Furthermore, as you make your way along the snow-covered path on this funny little bike. A jaunty tune starts playing, like something out of a Retro video game’s pause screen. Something is off about this but in the best and most intriguing way.
Next Fest Demo
During the demo, you get a good taste of the gameplay. Solving some simple puzzles like getting around obstacles blocking your path. You’ll search areas looking for items that will help you. Additionally, you’ll find other interactable items that will give you these coins. It appears you can level up. Leveling up gives you little perks – I only saw one level-up, so I have no idea what else is to come.
For the most part, you will be making your way through an abandoned village with an injured prisoner in tow. His horribly frost-bitten arm means he can’t be of much help. Meaning it’s up to you to find ways around it. The game looks brilliant and is really atmospheric. In total, it’s about 30 minutes long and I don’t really want to talk much more about it as it will spoil some of the other surprises. Just go and play it!
I didn’t really know what to expect when I started playing and it’s safe to say that even if I had 100 guesses I wouldn’t have come up with what I played. It was surprising in the best way possible I honestly can’t wait to see more of it as I’m sure it will get even more odd.