It’s hard to keep count of the number of games based around Greek, Roman, and Japanese mythology. Their histories are so deep and full of tantalizing stories that weave through fact and fiction seamlessly — they make stories flow off the paper. Indian mythology and the thousands of cultural subsets it contains is no different.
The problem is that we haven’t seen a lot of games come from India, let alone games soaked in part of their history. Like other regions without an established games industry, much of the work that’s done there is contracted by big studios located elsewhere. Some great indie games have come out of the country, like “Alter Army” developed by two sixteen-year-olds from Jaipur, but few have succeeded in capturing a part of Indian culture while resonating with players.
“Raji: An Ancient Epic,” an action adventure game set in ancient times, might be one of the first.
Developed by a team of developers based out of Pune, India, “Raji: An Ancient Epic” almost didn’t happen. The Kickstarter campaign the team launched in 2017 failed, but the team persevered and kept working. Earlier this month they announced they had partnered with a new game publisher Super to help make their dreams a reality.
Everything from it’s fluid combat to it’s captivating visuals stunned during my playthrough at the ID@Xbox event at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The combination of dashes and attacks, alongside uniquely predictable enemy behavior, made combat acutely responsive. It was easy to jump in and a joy to watch.
Even while some moves didn’t connect, like Raji’s magical staff throw, combat had a simple flow that vibed with the gorgeous vine-entrapped temple the demo traversed.
“While we were choosing games for our first lineup, we checked out about 200 and Raji among the top ten in art, gameplay, and overall feel,” said Super!’s Daniil Kozyakov, who recently partnered with Nodding Heads Games to publish “Raji.” “It’s important to promote games from everywhere since there are actual Indians all over the world.”
“Raji: An Ancient Epic” is set during an ancient war and Raji, a woman who’s been chosen by the gods as the lone protector of the human race, sees her brother taken from her by invading demons. She then has to save both him and the entire world from destruction.
Look for “Raji: An Ancient Epic” in early 2020.