Posted:  May 28, 2024
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INDIKA was provided by 11 Bit Studios for review. Thank you!

I have played plenty of surreal games with heavy narrative overtones over the years, but none gave me the same feeling that INDIKA did. The focus on religious conundrums, the problem that eats at our protagonist as she goes on a journey of self-discovery, and the gorgeous snowy landscapes of Russia created an experience worth seeing for yourself. It isn't perfect, and you do have to go in knowing what you are getting yourself into, but if you give it a chance and think about these deeper discussions that take place, you will come out appreciating the artistry behind the game.


The story is the main attraction for INDIKA and the biggest reason to give it a chance. You are Indika (Yes, this is her name), a young nun who has to leave her monastery to deliver a letter. Along the way, you will meet a strange man and go on a journey to discover yourself. You will journey across Russia to head into the city to a giant cathedral, but there will be roadblocks to overcome, and once you do, maybe you will have the answer to who you are.

I won't go into much detail about the story since I feel it is best experienced rather than told through a review, but it's extremely heavy and dark. I can't say I am the most introspective individual; sometimes, a lot goes over my head, but I was moved and thought hard about the beats that this tale touched. The core focus of the story is religion and whether or not Indika can follow the strict guidelines she has set for herself. She sees herself and is treated as a demon and not wanted, which influences not only her actions but her mental state as she wraps her head around who she is and the desires she has.

It doesn't help that she can somehow communicate with the devil himself, which feeds her desire to stray from the "righteous" path. The way they butt heads and have these in-depth conversations about what it means to be evil, how you define what's good and bad, if a soul exists, and more continually put intriguing concepts to the test and could make anyone question the structure of the world we exist in and what we believe.


INDIKA's story is extremely strong, so you should play the game. It handles almost all the themes gracefully while invoking your curiosity as you contemplate the characters' discussions. It's intriguing to see the back-and-forth as they try to justify their actions and understand their world, which they seem to both loathe and appreciate to a degree. It is all a bit on the short side. I completed the game in 3.5 hours, but I do appreciate that they didn't add in a ton of bloat to make the game feel more worthwhile by being longer.

The visuals are also quite gorgeous in INDIKA, making it a pleasure to see the world that was built as you traverse the icy planes. The game aims to be more story and visually focused over gameplay, and they succeeded on that front. The themes they talk about feel even more serious when combined with the dark corridors inside a fish factory or the loneliness felt when walking around outside, where all you can hear is the slight wind and your crunchy footsteps in the snow. The goal to create a dreading atmosphere that highlights the inner conflict in Indika is striking.


However, the gameplay is where INDIKA falls a bit short for me. You have to go into the game expecting a walking simulator, but even still, there were some monotonous moments I wish were skipped or expedited. The opening scene, where you get water, is a great example. I understand why it is done this way from a story perspective, but it is tedious. I wish some of these moments were consolidated a little to stop them from becoming boring, but again, I understand why from a story perspective.

Other than walking, two parts of the game change up gameplay a bit: the puzzles and flashback sequences. The puzzles aren't too bad and can be engaging, though most won't explain how to complete them. Figuring it out yourself isn't the hardest, but it's still annoying. Some of the puzzles include changing how the room looks with influence from the devil, which are the cooler puzzles that I really enjoyed.


The flashback sequences are a bit more on the aggravating side, though. Each one, which tells a bit about Indika's past, is told in random pixel-style 2D snippets. This ranges from platforming to isometric racing to tell us about what happened before she joined the monastery. The isometric racing part wasn't too bad, but every other part of the flashback gameplay felt too hard. The platforming was a bit spotty, and I failed every other part numerous times when I was extremely close to the end. This could have been my skill level, but it did feel a little harder than it should have been.

While it is a bit hard to run, INDIKA is playable on the Steam Deck in almost every spot.

INDIKA - Steam Deck Performance

INDIKA is a conflicting game on the Steam Deck, but in the end, it is playable. The game performs best when you are outside, and it could get up to 60 FPS. But the game is significantly harder to run whenever you are in a building, which will drop the framerate and raise the battery drain. In this case, the framerate will go below 40 FPS, and in some sections of buildings and cutscenes, it will be below 30. It isn't as much of an issue during cutscenes, but still noticeable. CPU drain is high in these areas, and no changes could fix it.


Because of this, I recommend playing at 30 FPS all the way through for as much stability althroughout as possible.

I have two other issues with playing on the Steam Deck. The text size is a bit small on menus, and the pixel font makes it harder to read. Luckily, this can be turned off, and it becomes a little easier to read. My other issue is some slight ghosting on certain surfaces. I noticed this more on chain link fences, but it is there and noticeable in these instances.

If you look directly to the left of her head, you will see dark spots that look like ripples on the fence. This is ghosting.

But if you are okay with these, INDIKA is perfect for the Steam Deck due to its short story and ease of picking up and dropping down without an insane time sink. It is also pretty big for such a short game (over 48gb of space needed), which is a lot to ask.


In terms of accessibility/settings, you can turn off the pixel font, increase the subtitle size, put a nudity filter on, change audio sliders, invert the X and Y axis, change sensitivity, and change language for interface, voiceover, and subtitles. The voiceover language can be changed from English and Russian.

The game supports 16:10 resolutions and controller support, but there are no cloud saves. There are no HDR settings, either.


INDIKA is a solid story-driven experience that captivated me with its story and world. Our titular protagonist's moral quandary during her journey is stimulating, and I loved that there was a constant dilemma that deals with the implications of religion. The world is equally as tantalizing. That invokes a dark and gloomy atmosphere, and the dark, lonely locations and sound design work wonderfully together. The gameplay can fall a bit short, and it is a walking simulator, but for what it was created for, INDIKA is great.

On the Steam Deck, it is playable. There are those drops when inside, which can be a bummer, but in general, the game works really well. I would say you may get a more enjoyable experience with better visual fidelity on a desktop PC, but overall, you can enjoy it this way if you have nothing else!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

INDIKA is a great story-driven walking simulator that has a bit of trouble running on the Steam Deck, but it is playable!


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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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