Raji: An Ancient Epic – Review

Raji: An Ancient Epic is a fun platformer that mixes in some light puzzle elements as well as different kinds of combat. It is an action-adventure game from the team at Nodding Heads Games, located in Pune, India. The story of Raji is heavily influenced by Indian culture and some of the legends within. Without spoiling the overall story, the basic premise is that you play as Raji, a woman who has had her brother kidnapped by some demons and you need to get him back. Along the way, you will face many challenges and have to fight different types of enemies. As I was making my way through the story, I did enjoy the different weapons that I discovered and became pretty proficient in quickly switching between them during the heat of battle. There are melee weapons available to you as well as ranged weapons. To be successful you will need to learn how to use each one effectively and for me, I felt one of the best strategies in combat was to keep moving. Don’t stay stationary for too long or you might regret it. One of the things that I appreciated about the combat in this game was that at times it was hard, but it was fair. If I kept getting killed in one area it was because I kept screwing up and I had to adopt a different strategy to move on. I didn’t feel anything was cheap, I just needed to approach the situation differently and as I got farther into the game, I needed to practice more defense than I was utilizing early on.

As soon as I started Raji: An Ancient Epic I was in awe of the beautiful environments. I believe this is the first title out of Nodding Heads Games and it looks fantastic. You could really see the Indian inspiration throughout the game, through the storytelling, and how you learned about the different gods as you progressed throughout your journey. As you learned about some of the legends, there were times you would receive a new weapon or skill point to help you overcome challenges that you were about to face. The is a skill tree which is where you can put these skill points to good use, deciding which powers you want to learn and how powerful you want them to be. For example, there are three different fire powers you can learn with each one having three different power levels. You have to make the decision on whether you want to learn all three powers or maybe just get full power on one of them. I think you might be able to do it all but I didn’t find all of the skill points during my initial playthrough so I am not 100% sure on that. Regardless, I found this system easy to use and these new powers definitely saved me on a number of occasions when I was surrounded by enemies and trying to survive.

As I mentioned up above, Raji: An Ancient Epic does feature some light puzzle solving as well. You probably shouldn’t spend more than a couple minutes on any one puzzle though. They are very accessible and anyone should be able to figure them out. One of the puzzle types is you standing on a circular painting on the ground having to line everything up, which will get you a little bit more backstory on the characters. Another puzzle that you will tend to find at the end of a lot of the levels is trying to bring a tree back to life. You do this by making sure everything is in its correct place so that the tree can thrive once again and everything will go back to how it should have been. There are also levels that look like they might be a bit of a maze at first but as I fought my way through them it turned out they weren’t hard to navigate at all, which I appreciated.

With all of the above said, I enjoyed my time with Raji: An Ancient Epic but there are some problems with the game. The first is the camera angle at times. You don’t control the camera at all here and that makes some of the jumps tricky towards the later stages of the game. Fortunately the checkpoint system works well here and I wasn’t penalized too much if my character failed to make a jump, but it was a little annoying nonetheless. The platforming sections seemed a tad floaty at times and the controls didn’t always do what I wanted. Now this didn’t happen all of the time and I was able to make it through the game and see the story to completion, but the few instances it did happen were a tad frustrating. Another problem for me is that once I beat the game, it immediately sends me back to the beginning with no course of action other than to start from square one again. There isn’t a New Game Plus or even the ability to load a save in case I want to play a later stage again. I tried pushing all of the buttons on the controller to see if there was something I was missing so if there is a way to play some of the later levels, I certainly couldn’t find it.

Raji: An Ancient Epic is a fun platformer and a really great first effort by Nodding Heads Games. It isn’t perfect but I enjoyed the story it told and seeing just a small slice of Indian culture. I’m excited to see what they have in store for future games, whether we get a sequel to Raji or something else entirely. If you like fun action-adventure games with some platforming, light puzzle elements, and combat, and you want to support an up and coming indie studio, be sure to check out Raji: An Ancient Epic.

Score: 7/10

Originally posted on Gaming Target

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