Enjoy an Incredibly Bizarre, Weird and Sometimes Wonderful World With Indika

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to think when I redeemed a game on Steam for which all the art was of nuns. I was even more ambivalent when I read the guide provided by the developers, but I persevered.

Indika is what I thought it would be, and also not at all what I imagined at the same time. Let me explain.

Plot Ahoy!

You play Indika, a nun who has clearly done something, prompting her sisters to shun her. However, on top of all that, she’s hearing whispers from a voice she believes to be the devil. She suffers the many minor indignities visited upon her by her vengeful sisters in frustrated obedience until she’s given the opportunity to leave the convent to deliver an important letter to a destination out there in the outside world.

As she travels through the Russian snow, she ruminates on whether she truly believes in God while the Devil continues to poke holes in her logic. Eventually, she encounters Illya, an escaped prisoner who, like Indika, hears voices but rather than the Devil, he’s allegedly getting his marching orders from God. Most of the adventure is in fact the two of them going back and forth, hashing out the battle for Indika’s faith and possibly soul.

Review Notes

Before I get into the meat of the game, I need you to understand that when I say this title is weird, even that is an understatement. Indika embraces surrealistic elements and leans into the bizarre tone. If anything, Indika cherishes the bizarre. There’s an actual sequence when a mini-nun crawls out of Indika’s mouth and dances on her arm.

In part, I think this strangeness is meant as a metaphor for how organized religion or possibly even faith itself warps one’s perspective. The comically massive tuna cans and canids certainly support this speculation. The title leaves it to you as the player to determine how much of Indika’s perception of the world around her is real, and how much is psychosis or metaphysical meddling by the two powers duking it out by using her as a proxy.

In terms of gameplay, Indika is all about the walk-and-talk. In fact, you’ll spend most of your time walking and having those religious debates with Ilya, but the developers did break up the monotony with the odd puzzle. These aren’t terribly difficult, but they do become monotonous. The title also flips between Indika’s present and her past by providing us adorable, 2D pixelated flashbacks which contrast greatly with the muted gray 3D animation that characterizes most of the story. These flashbacks tell the story of how Indika came to be a nun, and don’t expect to breeze through them. Some of the most challenging platforming puzzles occur during these flashbacks, and that just somehow makes it worse when you get stuck. However, these puzzles are at least engaging. The chase sequences are just awful.

Indika also makes demonic influence an actual game mechanic. When the Devil’s influence is greatest, the land around Indika will turn blood red and begin to fracture. But in those fractures, you can sometimes see the best way through your current obstacle. While you’re navigating those, you occasionally pick up actual golden points, which the title assures you are actually pointless while still giving you the opportunity to pump them into a skill tree featuring elements like “guilt” and “shame.” This tree doesn’t really do anything that affects gameplay, which is also no doubt not only a metaphor for what the writer considers the pointlessness of religious observance but also possibly a meta-commentary on the nature of gaming itself as you schlub through, collecting the collectables.

Yeah. Indika goes there.

In terms of visuals, Indika features both a smoothly animated 3D style that renders early 19th century Russian architecture in obsessive detail and the aforementioned whimsical adventures back in time to the land of pixelation. Indika’s musical score is purposefully discordant, effectively contributing to its bizarre vibe, and the voice acting is really good. My assumption is that it runs well, but due to its aesthetic, I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to identify a glitch. I’d probably just chalk it up to the developer’s incredible dedication to its weirdness.


Indika is a fascinating four-hour journey into the bizarre mind of a nun possibly suffering some kind of mental breakdown, but to enjoy it, you really need to understand that the story is the point. The gameplay will not be enough to catch your attention, and honestly, it’s not meant to be. Indika does provide an actual ending to the game, rather than allowing everything to fade into ambiguity, but I can’t guarantee that everyone will find the end satisfying.

Indika retails on Steam for $24.99.

Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard

  1. The dancing frogs haunt my nightmares. IYKYK.
  2. Indika is shot through with delightfully dry dark humor. I know my review doesn’t really give you the impression that it would be funny, but it really, really is.
  3. If you aren’t really a fan of nihilism, Indika will not be for you.
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