Indika Review (PC)

The voices in my head ask me to hold faith in the future of video games.

Featured Video

As fans of gaming, we’re living in times when game development can be a playground for creative minds to experiment freely. Yet, it is increasingly rare to see developers try out something that messes with your mind in all the ways you’d want them to.

Advertisement

As I write this, the voices in my head are trying to settle down. Between mind-grasping storytelling and its carefully mechanized gameplay elements, Odd Meter’s Indika is simply one of the most bizarre, philosophical, and self-aware games I’ve ever played.

Indika arrives on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation on May 2, 2024.

Advertisement

Trigger Warning: Mental health topics like psychosis, insanity, and schizophrenia.

The premise of Indika may seem simple on paper. Actually, no. I take that back. Nothing about this game will ever feel simple, and that’s the point of it. You take on the role of a young nun who feels completely out of place in this world. She’s surrounded by the false sense of comfort of sisterhood but carries a companion in her mind who questions her sanity as she makes sense of things.

Id, Ego, and Indika

Indika game characters
The more I played Indika, the more bizarre it grew.

This voice isn’t just a brilliantly voice-acted narrative tool. This devilish monologue in her head accompanied me throughout the game, nudging my moral compass and asking me to reflect on what’s right, and what’s wrong. Is ‘wrong’ truly wrong if the person reflecting on it is a good human being? Can a murderer pay for their sins if they… pray enough?

Advertisement

Here’s a school of thought. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory suggests that our minds are made up of three parts; the id, the ego, and the superego. The id functions on primal desires. The ego is who you are. And, the superego is governed by your moral compass. Indika’s narrative shuffles between the three, asking our protagonist to better understand herself.

Indika collectibles
Faith is an important concept in Indika, and collectibles often tell little stories about it.

Unfortunately, those around her look at her differently. As if she’s different, or broken in a sense. To be fair, even Indika thinks so, until she goes against her own beliefs and acts on her basal instincts. How does it happen? Well, I won’t spoil the game for you, so go ahead and find it out for yourself.

The Voices in Your Head… What Are They Telling You?

Indika horror themes
Indika’s representation of the struggle between her primal instincts and belief systems felt truly phenomenal.

Games like Alan Wake and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice have carefully used mental health topics as important parts of their narrative. I noticed a similar journey in Indika where the protagonist was struggling to keep her demons down and praying to God in hopes of feeling at ease.

Advertisement

Quite literally, I could ‘pray’ by pressing right-click, and suddenly the environment felt calmer. This aided me during challenging platforming and puzzle-solving, making me smile as I witnessed one of the most fascinating gameplay mechanics in a long time.

Furthermore, the game asked me to use a lantern, a few ladders here and there, and a couple of tools that added ‘puzzle-solving’ to the game’s otherwise horror-survival subgenre. In all honesty, there’s little interaction here, and much of the game flies by as you listen to spectacular voice acting, and navigate Indika’s surreal world through different instruments.

Quite a few times, I found myself doing extremely mundane tasks. For instance, there was a 5-10 minute sequence where I was filling a bucket with water. Again, and again. However, I quickly realized the very point of it, when the voice in Indika’s head asked her whether any of it was truly worth it.

Advertisement

Indika Kept Reminding Me It’s a Video Game

Indika mini-games
Pixel-esque minigames, retro soundtracks, and hi-scores. This game never stopped surprising me.

If Indika didn’t have those vehicular sequences and certain action-packed scenarios, I would have certainly counted it as one of the best walking simulators I’ve ever experienced. Between serious scenarios and dark humor, Indika often presented me with soundtracks and mini-games that resembled retro games. And then, went back to its self-reflective and haunting settings.

As I journeyed through the game, I would level up and dig deeper into Indika’s psyche. This may impact a player’s experience uniquely based on the upgrades they choose.

Familiar themes of redemption and repentance often cloud Indika’s protagonist, as she understands her place in the world. But what truly sat with me was how she understood herself better as the game progressed. Not for a second throughout my playtime did I feel the voices completely take over, or the game’s pacing was off.

Advertisement
Indika game review
This is the kind of game that sits comfortably in your psyche, provoking questions you wouldn’t ask yourself too often.

Rather, I would often myself admiring the Russian landscapes around me, as I watched Indika meditate on the voices in her head. Is she struggling with schizophrenia? Are there symptoms of psychosis the game hid under a layer of philosophical conversations? I sense a lot of fan theories emerging once the game comes out.

Just like the Indika’s detailed expressions and polished animations, the game felt bug-free and I faced no problems during my playthrough. Odd Meter has done an imaginative job that not only poked fun at a lot of my cognitive biases but also made me realize how much more I wish to experience games like Indika. If the voices in your head are asking you to pick this one up, maybe it’s time to listen.

Indika – 9/10

Avatar

Written by Tanay Sharma

Articles Published: 503

Tanay wears more hats than Red Dead Redemption 2 characters. He's a musician, writer, voice-over artist and adores interactive media. His favourite games are the ones with memorable stories and characters. He's pursuing a master's degree in Behavioural Sciences. No, he won't read your mind.