Developer: Nodding Heads Games
Release Date: 08/18/2020
Also Available On
Small indie games can usually bring some better content than large AAA budget games these days due to the smaller scope and less risk financially. Some of these games, still, rarely stand out and become huge massive success stories. Raji is a game I wish could become a success story that blows up like Journey, Braid, Limbo, or Inside, but it feels like it’s missing something to bring it to that level. For starters, the story is rather dull and uninteresting and mostly focuses on teaching the player about Asian-Indian mythology. You play as Raji who is determined to rescue her brother, Golu, from an evil demon. The story mostly focuses on mythology, but Raji and Golu aren’t very exciting characters. They feel very one-note.
The game’s main focus is combat and platforming. Combat is surprisingly deep with acrobatics and various moves that made it feel like Prince of Persia. Raji can do backflips off walls, pole spins, and each of the three weapons you acquire has a special attack, light, and heavy attack. You start out with a staff and this weapon is great for reach, the second weapon is a bow, and the third is a sword whip, and shield. You will end up switching weapons based on what enemies you are fighting. The enemy designs represent Asian-Indian mythology and look cool and are a challenge to fight. The game might seem easy at first, but there were sections where I did numerous times and the boss fights are a great deal difficult as well. However, there are difficulty spikes throughout the game. You will breeze through a few fights and then keep dying on just one that either has an unfair amount of enemies or multiple waves. You can heal by doing finishing moves, but that’s the only way in combat.
You can acquire skill points to add various elements that can damage enemies passively. These are mostly hidden in the game and require venturing off on different paths, but I didn’t make too much of an effort as the game is so short with only three large levels. Platforming is actually the most enjoyable part of the game, but the game focuses more on combat. While combat looks good and controls well, it just doesn’t have that oomph that other games like this have like Prince of Persia or even God of War. It feels like there’s no response from enemies when you hit them, there’s no weight to her movements. There’s momentum, but no feeling behind her which I feel would have taken the already detailed combat one step further. Platforming works well with wall runs, double jumps, shimmying and hopping across poles.
The game adds puzzles if you can call them that, as they aren’t really puzzles. You have to spin things to match them up, but it’s not like a typical puzzle. You can just rotate the rings until everything matches up. No puzzles here really. This is probably the weakest part about the game including the areas in level two where you have to throw out lilypads in the water to hop across. What’s the point? This doesn’t add a challenge to the game but just feels like a useless element that took focus away from something else. At least the game looks amazing with epic vistas, good lighting effects, and lots of detail. It’s clear a lot of care went into the game, but it needed more time for some polishing. I even ran into some game-breaking bugs with enemies disappearing or not appearing, and getting stuck on ledges.
Overall, Raji is a great action platformer that has some faults. It focuses too much on mythology and less on our heroine, combat controls well and looks fancy, but has no weight or feel behind it, and platforming is the best part is focused on less over combat. The puzzles aren’t even puzzles and the overall experience is only a few hours long. I haven’t played an indie game quite this fun in ages, and even with huge difficulty spikes, the game has a lot to offer.