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Don’t ask questions! Just play this wild and weird nun game

A nun stands in a red room in Indika.
11 Bit Studios

Usually, when I recommend a game, I try to give as comprehensive an overview of it as I can. I know that it’s hard to get players to commit time and money to something sight unseen. But with Indika, I’m tempted to say nothing at all. It’s something you should experience for yourself. If that’s enough to intrigue you, you can stop reading here and head on over to Steam.

I am merciful, though, so here’s an explanation for those who aren’t so keen on spending $25 with no context. Launched on PC earlier this week, Indika is a new game by developer Odd Meter. It’s a 19th-century narrative adventure game that follows a lowly nun trying to fit in at a monastery. She’s tasked with delivering a letter across a cold Russian wasteland along with a male companion.

Oh, and the Devil is riding with her too.

As you can probably guess already, Indika grapples with some complex questions about religion. Throughout the sleek story, the titular nun engages in theological debates with her companions while navigating treacherous, and sometimes surreal, landscapes. In one sequence, the Devil tries to get her to abandon her quest. She refuses, arguing that it would be sinful not to deliver a letter. When she’s asked to quantify just how sinful that is, the Devil chips at her logic, asking how many letters a postman would have to lose to be as sinful as a murderer. By the end of it, you’ll wish you could strangle the little twerp.

Indika stands in a room fill of machinery.
11 Bit Studios

Debates like that make for a thoughtful story about the struggle to pin down logic in religions built around the unexplainable. Indika gets at that idea even more in its downright antagonistic gameplay. In the story’s first major sequence, a nun tells Indika to fill up a bucket by trudging over water from a nearby well. Its a grueling sequence. She slowly walks back and forth, filling and emptying buckets for what feels like 20 minutes. All the while, the Devil questions why she has to do such menial labor — especially when there’s a much faster way of filling the bucket that she’s not allowed to use. It’s a maddening sequence that ends in the ultimate anticlimax and a total downer for any players holding on to faith that the arduous sequence will pay off.

Indika‘s most fiercely comedic idea comes in the form of its “levelup system.” Throughout the adventure, Indika can get points by finding collectibles or lighting candles. Get enough and she’ll level up, allowing her to unlock a new node on the skill tree. Those skills are are nonsense upgrades like “Grief 4” that give her more points or oddly specific point multipliers. Tool tips during loading screens assure players that the system is entirely meaningless, but that likely won’t stop players from trying to max out her skills.

Indika sits with a Russian man.
11 Bit Studios

Moments like that provide sharp religious satire, even if the game can wallow in cynicism at times. Much of the story hovers around Indika’s repressed sexuality, a fairly tired trope in dark stories about nuns that doesn’t add much here. Even as an lapsed Catholic-turned-atheist myself, there are some eye-rolling scenes that threaten to stray too far into edgy territory.

Though even with that critique, I wouldn’t classify Indika as an atheistic text. If anything, it does a fantastic job at visualizing the power of prayer (which plays a role in some excellent, space-bending puzzle sequences) and creating a Devil that feels truer to the one in the Bible than the way the demon is portrayed in most media. But beyond that, Indika touches on something even more core to the subject it’s critiquing. Curiosity and questioning are an important piece of Christian faith. Believers are meant to ask tough questions that challenge and strengthen their beliefs. Even with its pitch black humor, Indika puts that process into action to craft a compelling crisis of faith for its troubled hero.

It doesn’t answer any question it poses — nor should it. That’s for players to take up with their God.

Indika is out now on PC. Based on our testing, it is compatible with Steam Deck too.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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