Raji: An Ancient Epic was one of the most impressive games (opens in new tab) we saw at India's 2017 Nasscom Game Developer Conference, and now you can sample it for yourself. Developer Nodding Heads Games recently uploaded a free demo to Steam (opens in new tab), which gives you a good feel for its combat and a great feel for its sumptuous music and environments.
Raji stars, well, Raji, a young girl cloaked in red on a mission to save her brother from demon lord Mahabalasura. As Nodding Heads explains on the game's Kickstarter (opens in new tab), its stunning world its based on Hindu and Balinese mythology and uses hand-painted scenes as the basis for its art. To get the look just right, its developers actually visited Rajasthan and Bali for reference.
You can really see that authenticity in the demo. The introductory level—or at least what I assume to be the introductory level—is set atop a crumbling, overgrown temple, all budding moss and collapsed stone. Areas are punctuated with elaborate murals, towering statues and stained-glass aisles, a thick cloud blanket bobbing in the background.
The music is unequivocally Indian, too. It's a slow burner, but as combat escalates the tempo ramps up in kind. And combat certainly does escalate. Even from the short demo, you get a sense of Raji's abilities and the physicality of her movements. Her elemental staff makes short work of the bizarre demons stomping around, and it comes fully loaded with abilities like chained lightning. It's still a demo, though, and not without its hitches. Playing with a controller made a big difference for me. (A PS4 controller connected via DS4Windows, for the record.)
If you'd rather watch the demo in action, you'll find a full playthrough below. Naturally, more information is also available on Raji's Kickstarter (opens in new tab).
If you're hungry for more of the art in particular—which I was when I reached out to Nodding Heads—have a gander at this gorgeous gallery: