Raji: An Ancient Epic (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 06.09.2020

Review for Raji: An Ancient Epic on Nintendo Switch

Raji: An Ancient Epic has been brought to life by Nodding Head Games, a relatively small development team with only thirteen members that span a vast variety of nationalities. It has a focus on Hindu and Balinese deities and mythos, which brings a fairly unique air to the team's production. This latest Nintendo Switch releases seems to have been a passion project created as a vessel to present Nodding Head's story as uniquely and as close to the original vision as possible.

Chosen by the gods, Raji makes her way through war-torn lands to find and save her brother from the demons. The story follows Raji as she gains favour in the eyes of the gods, learning about their stories, using their weapons and generally following this cool line of character growth. The script and setting match perfectly with some decent voice acting and genuinely interesting events. Half of these events are presented cinematically with the in-game character sweeping around to show the player little titbits of information to drive them forwards, with the rest presented in a nice, stylish paper-and-light puppetry approach. These tell the more complex story sections and are a pleasing choice given the type of story being told.

Gameplay utilises an isometric, or "top-down", perspective and has a suitably wide field of view showing off the cool architecture, caves, and set-pieces. Some of the larger statues and panoramas are genuinely amazing to see. This camera is the perfect partner for the platforming gameplay. Feeling somewhat Prince of Persia-inspired, the player can shimmy up pillars, run on walls, and generally enjoy a - somewhat restricted by level design - free-flowing traversal system. That said, it's hard to fail the platforming, except in the rare case of a platforming set-piece that sometimes requires players to run right after a camera cut before platforms begin to collapse. This platforming makes up most of the more intricate story moments during the story but there is a large focus on combat outside of these.

Screenshot for Raji: An Ancient Epic on Nintendo Switch

Combat is an interesting affair. Firstly, weapons are gifted by the gods, such as a spear or a bow, each of which has its own attack style, automatically offering up some variety. As expected, there are light and heavy attacks and a limited number of combos that can be chained together to take down the larger foes. These attacks can be combined with both magic, gained and upgraded as the story progresses, and with acrobatics that allow pillars to be spun around, as well as slicing and rebounding off walls for even more variety. The combat shines brightest in larger, varied terrain arenas where all options are available, but it can struggle to stay interesting in simpler areas. Combat often suffers with a limited area marked by a magical circle, which locks players in, making things feel a bit forced where it would otherwise be quite liberating. Enemy variety is vast, with spitting jumping foes, big guys with hammers, and more, but their colour palettes can be a bit subtle. This could be something compounded by the limited system resources of the Switch or it could just be an unfortunate side effect of using non-popping colours. Unfortunately, in a fight it's possible to zone out of what type of enemies are on-screen, which, while it doesn't normally lead to death, is quite frustrating.

Visuals, in general, are impressive enough; the materials of Raji's clothing billowing while she jumps, the big detailed statues dotted throughout, and the nice natural-looking scenery. Some of the in-between traversable areas are a bit barren, yet the areas that are more unique stand out because of this. The tree that stands at the entrance to the first level does this cool change from dead to blooming upon killing a boss character, which is a very nice effect that makes that area memorable. Unfortunately, when traversing the first fortress, it's possible to see some very muddy texture work, which feels very much like the textures either couldn't load or had to be incredibly low resolution for Switch. This muddiness is compounded in portable mode, where the game has a layer of blurriness. It doesn't make it unplayable but certainly less clear than on TV. In the aforementioned tree clearing, the frame-rate also tanks, which wouldn't be a problem if it was just traversal but, sadly, it impacts input lag when fighting the first boss, making it quite frustrating as Raji isn't as responsive as she should be.

Screenshot for Raji: An Ancient Epic on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Great art and an intriguing story set a strong premise for Raji: An Ancient Epic. It's backed by some impressive experimental gameplay and combat that has a few flaws, but it is far from broken. Playing as Raji is a joy and many Prince of Persia fans may see some things they liked from that series reflected here. Exploring the mythology and beliefs presented is an experience that only this has provided - a unique premise, if you will. It's in need of some polish but it feels like the developer realised its dream and with this commendable effort it's a shining start for the team. Raji comes recommended to all players looking for a new mythological action title!

Developer

Nodding Head Games

Publisher

Super.com

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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