Digging into Indian Video Games – Raji: An Ancient Epic
Updated: Dec 27, 2018
I have written a lot about video-games for Spiel Times, but I have never been this happy to write about a video-game that has bloomed from the roots of my motherland. Raji: An Ancient Epic is an upcoming indie game developed by the folks at Nodding Heads Games, Pune.
The story revolves around Raji, a young girl, in the rich-cultured state of Rajasthan. Raji is chosen by the gods, to stand against the demonic invasion of the human realm. Her destiny tells the story of rescuing her younger brother and facing the Demon Lord Mahabalasura.
Raji: An Ancient Epic takes place right at the start of the next great war, where demons and their ambitions will drive humanity to the threat of extinction. The demons challenge the gods with the plan to avenge their embarrassing defeat, thousands of years ago in the last great war.
Living in peace and harmony for a thousand years, we humans became content and have isolated ourselves from wars and battles fought a thousand years back. With strong efforts and the ambition of avenging their defeat against the gods in the last great war, the demons invade the human realm destroying cities and forts, and causing immutable chaos.
This is where Raji plays her part. Chosen by the gods as the sole defender of the human race and blessed by various gods, Raji wields weapons and powers of the gods. The story takes a turn when we come to know about Raji’s own sufferings. During the siege of Jaipur, her own brother was abducted by the Demons as a part of their chaotic invasion. Raji, at the time of the invasion, fell unconscious and upon waking days later, she realizes that she’s been gifted with godlike powers, yet her brother is nowhere to be found.
Confronting all the troubles and facing every hurdle on her way, Raji sets off on a journey of self-discovery, ultimately to find her younger brother. In the end, after facing and slaying innumerable demons and demonic bosses, exploring the magical cities of Jaipur, and finding her way out to rescue her brother, Raji finds herself in the battlegrounds of the evil with the Demon Lord Mahabalasura on the other end, who plans to capture the human realm, all for himself.
The developers are good with names. Nodding Heads Games has named the main antagonist of the game “Mahabalasura”, which is a Sanskrit name. “Mahabal”means “great strength” and “Asura” means “demon”, making him the Demon Lord with great strength.
Raji: An Ancient Epic is based on the boundless Indian & Balinese mythology and is the first grand game to narrate the story of an Ancient India. The developers are focused on their desire to present a game to the world enabling gamers to witness the grandeur and bizarreness of a game coming from India, which has never been seen in the gaming industry to date.
Key Game Features
Mesmerizing Hand-Painted Environment
Raji: An Ancient Epic won’t fail to impress you with their breathtaking hand-painted environment and atmosphere. Inspired by the architecture of medieval India, Raji: An Ancient Epic will enable players to witness the beauty of medieval Rajasthan, which was the pinnacle of architectural achievement during the ancient times.
The game reflects inspiration from the islands of Bali, Indonesia, its mythology, background and sculptures. Raji: An Ancient Epic includes the styles of demonic statues found in the roots of Bali, infused within the characters of the game.
A Story of Siblings
As mentioned earlier, Raji ventures out on a journey to find and rescue her brother from the Demonic Lord Mahabalasura. The game will take you through an intense and emotional story of Raji, who is determined to find her brother and bring peace to the human realm. The game grants us the power to witness the little girl’s journey in an evil world and the unravelling of a beautiful storyline.
A Unique Combat Experience
The combat of the game is pretty fluid. From the movement of the player to the attacks, the combat system completely blends with the game style. The combat system is empowering, and it could make the player feel like a demigod, but human vulnerability should always be kept in mind. Players will be able to choose from a variety of weapons as well as god powers gifted to Raji. The game beholds some of the deadliest mini and epic boss battles later in the game.
Enemy Ranks and Abilities
All the demons Raji will face throughout the game are all part of Mahabalasura’s army. Each one of these demons will have ranks among themselves. While Raji can come across a demon from a specific race who gripped a stone mace, she might meet the same demon type later with full-fledged armour and advanced weaponry. In addition to the ranks, demons will have their unique abilities and subtypes making the game more intriguing and enjoyable.
Ancient Indian Forts and Mandala Puzzles
Raji: An Ancient Epic will take you through various levels inspired by gigantic forts of the medieval era, built by Rajput kings of Rajasthan.
These forts will act as tightly packed arenas for combat and also take the player through the massive scale and breathtaking views the forts provide.
The game will include friends, treasures or traps making the game more explorable. The main challenges are said to be the “Mandala” puzzles that play an important role in environmental storytelling. These puzzles are designed to give you a breather in-between the challenging combat.
Gadasura – The Mace-Wielding Demon
Gadasura is a giant brainless mace-wielding demon, who severs the Demon Lord Mahabalasura. He is one of the most common foes we will see in the game. As we progress, this brainless mace-wielding demon could be soon evolving and carrying larger weapons dealing more damage and appearing in groups rather than approaching solo.
Tezabsura – The Acid-Spilling Demon
In Hindi, Tezab means acid. Therefore, we will have to deal with a mythological Reptile (Mortal Kombat Reference). Tezabsura is loaded with a belly full of acid… he’s someone to keep Raji always on her toes. With his agility and range, he makes for quite an opponent for Raji.
Rangda – The Exiled Demon
“Rangda, once blessed by Goddess Durga, she now lives in exile. Old she might be, her power exceeds the unknown… be it demon or human. None return once they set foot in her territory…”
The game also features skill trees to upgrade abilities based on the gods you choose. Along with that, we’ll also see Raji wielding “Trishul” as a primary weapon at many parts of the game. Also, I tried digging into the depths of the internet to find a concept art of Mahabalasura, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any.
Currently, the only God revealed so far is Durga (based on Rangda’s backstory). Presumably, other Gods will include Agnidev, Shiva or Indra. Keep in mind, these are still speculations.
Upon seeing the game for the first time, I was completely stunned! The graphics, the concept, art design and the mesmerizing architectures all contribute towards an upcoming successful game. Being an Indie studio, Nodding Heads Games has surpassed peoples’ expectations and we were blown away to see an Indian-based studio develop a game like this.
The constant music of Shankh in the background, combined with the electrifying combat, does a flawless job by giving an Indian taste to the game. Moreover, the way Raji turns around is already enough to win several’s hearts.
I must say, all 8 members of Nodding Heads Games are doing a splendid job with Raji: Ancient Epic, which in a way, is contributing towards both Indian culture and the Indian video-game industry. It fills my heart with joy to see a game like this being made in a country like India, where developers still focus on developing mobile games, for the sake of swift revenue.
I am impatiently looking forward to Raji: An Ancient Epic’s Kickstarter Launch this November 8th and I can’t wait to see how far this game goes. Raji An: Ancient Epic will come out for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. There is no certain release date for the game yet, but Nodding Heads Games promises to bring this breathtaking masterpiece by 2019.
Vote for Raji: An Ancient Epic on Square Enix Collective and become a supporter of the game right away. If you want to contribute by supporting the team, feel free to follow them on any of these social media platforms –
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rajithegame/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/RajiGame Discord: https://discord.gg/f9gnFVP Newsletter: https://www.rajithegame.com/newsletter Indie DB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/raji-an-ancient-epic Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/rajithegame Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/NoddingHeadsGames Official Website: https://www.rajithegame.com
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