Raji: An Ancient Epic is one of those intriguing looking games I had my eye on for a while. Set in ancient India and based on Hindu mythology, the game follows Raji’s adventure to rescue her little brother Golu, who was kidnapped by demons. The unique setting and theme of the game really helps it to stand out from countless other demos I’ve played, and from what I’ve seen from the screenshots, Raji also looks like it could be a rather beautiful game. Not to mention the cut scenes take the form of a puppet show, which is super interesting, as well. Subject matter and aesthetics aside, this is still a game, and so gameplay is inevitably going to be a vital part of the experience.
The demo lasted about 40 minutes and took me through a mountainous setting as Raji begins her journey to save her poor little brother. Being a circus performer, Raji is naturally agile and skilled at climbing, which aids her in some light platforming. Early on, she receives a weapon called a trishul for slaying her enemies, upon which much of the rest of the demo focuses. And to be perfectly honest, the combat is the biggest reason that I had mixed feelings about this game.
Sure, Raji actually has a variety of moves, including combo attacks, some of which involve her surroundings. For example, she can run up walls and deliver stronger blows to her enemies and can even stun enemies by spinning around poles and electrocuting them. So it’s not so much Raji’s moveset that is to blame as it is the sheer number of enemies she has to fight and how long they take to defeat. And you can’t proceed until you’ve defeated every enemy, so I feel like it slows the game down. In short, the combat was just not fun, and I was thoroughly tired of it by the time the demo was over.
So does that mean that I’m never going to give Raji a second chance? Well…not exactly. Fortunately, when I was reading reviews online, people said that the game starts out more difficult, but the combat becomes easier and more fun as the game progresses. The downside was the assessment that the game has an abrupt and unsatisfying ending. Nevertheless, games with such a unique theme don’t come around very often, so maybe I might be tempted to give this game another look, after all.
Raji: An Ancient Epic costs $24.99 and can take roughly 4-6 hours to complete. Since exploration appears to be very minimal, it seems unlikely you’ll manage to get much more out of it than that. Considering the short length, perhaps if the game ever goes on sale for closer to $15, I might want to rejoin Raji and continue her adventure through ancient India.
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on September 6, 2022.