Raji: An Ancient Epic review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Super.com
Developer: Nodding Heads Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

It?s hard not to root for Raji: An Ancient Epic. After all, it?s a pretty unique game. It draws heavily from Indian mythology, and this inspiration infuses almost every aspect of what?s on screen. The music sounds Indian. The graphics feature characters and monsters and architecture that look Indian. The characters are Indian. The story and its narrators are Indian. Given how same-y so many games tend to look and feel, it?s great to see a game that actively tries to break the mold.

Unfortunately, however innovative Raji may be when it comes to its aesthetics and plot and characters, when it comes to gameplay it?s about as standard as games come. While the presentation allows you to see plenty of this gorgeous-looking world, when it comes time to control the eponymous heroine, you?re still walking her through a world that will feel familiar — and not in a good way — if you?ve ever played any kind of isometric action game before.

By that, I mean you enter an area, you encounter monsters, you mash buttons until you?ve vanquished them all, and then you move on to the next location. Raji (the character, that is) may have a circus upbringing according to the story, but all that means is she does parkour as she slams her weapons into the monsters. She also has a finishing move that looks kind of neat the first time, but loses its lustre when you?ve seen it thirty or forty times. Some enemies are a little more challenging than others, but generally speaking, the combat isn?t very interesting.

The same, unfortunately, can be said about the platforming — which, unfortunately, takes up a pretty big chunk of the game. Raji?s nimbleness is pretty inconsistent, by which I mean she has no problem jumping from the top of a tower to the ground and landing on her feet, but she has trouble jumping from one platform to the next. Numerous times, I?d send her flying across a gap, only to see her slam into the other side chest-first and fall straight down. You need to jump from point A to point B in just the right spot, and the game does a miserable job of making it clear where that spot is.

There are some puzzles here, too, but they?re all so inconsequential, they?re barely worth mentioning. You get some neat visuals at the end, but there?s so little challenge in figuring them out that it?s hard to feel any real sense of accomplishment.

Which is a shame, because, as I said, Raji: An Ancient Epic is a gorgeous game, and it would be nice to be able to appreciate everything about it. As it stands, though, it?s the equivalent of the prettiest box you?ve ever seen containing an utterly forgettable present.

Super.com provided us with a Raji: An Ancient Epic Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+