Unbound: World’s Apart from Alien Pixel Studios is a puzzle platformer with a fantastic art style and aesthetic. The entire game has gorgeous visuals and players will immediately be drawn into its world. While it may have the visuals nailed, is its gameplay up to scratch given that the genre it falls within is quite densely populated right now?
In Unbound: World’s Apart, players will take on the role of Soli, a gifted young mage who can open portals. These portals are the game’s main “gimmick” and boy, does it use it well. As Soli, you’ll open portals which each do different things. These can either slow down time, make you miniscule, invert gravity or change the world around you and more in a range of ways. The portals are the game’s core gameplay mechanic and Alien Pixel Studios have really outdone themselves in making this work amazingly well throughout the whole game.
The story of Unbound: World’s Apart involves Soli travelling through the mysterious world to prevent an evil force from tearing reality apart. Right at the start of the game, Soli was to attend a purification ceremony but got distracted by a luminous beast that he summoned. While Soli was out looking for this creature, a portal to a dark world opened up and Soli’s village was ravaged by evil forces. Upon returning to the village, Soli’s mother is killed but not before she instructs her child to flee the village. Things escalate rather quickly and this hooks you immediately.
The story does unfortunately take a backseat in the game after this though with the game’s primary focus being its precision platforming. This isn’t a “metroidvania” title but rather a platformer that relies on player skill and good timing to get through areas.
Solving puzzles in Unbound: World’s Apart involves players making use of portals to alter reality so that Soli can get past obstacles. There are 10 different portals available in the game and they’ve been masterfully woven into the game’s platforming fabric. Players will struggle at times to get through certain segments of levels but after some trial and error, and some good timing of portal usage, you’ll be able to succeed.
Thankfully, Unbound: World’s Apart isn’t exactly a hard game. The game autosaves regularly too and if you die, you instantly respawn right before the place you died. You won’t be losing tonnes of progress if you die while platforming through a level and this definitely alleviates much of the frustration involved with games in this genre.
Graphically, Unbound: World’s Apart is flat out jaw-droppingly gorgeous with the visuals being so beautiful throughout the entire game. This coupled with the portals which instantly change environments means that you’ll be in awe at the game’s hand-drawn artwork from start to finish. Unbound: World’s Apart also features a rather chilled out soundtrack with a lot of piano music that plays in the background. This combined with the amazing visuals, leads to a recipe for platforming success.
Players will have access to a map and there is backtracking in the game along with a fast travel system which makes traversing the rather large map a breeze. There’s also a lot of hidden “Lost Villagers” in the game too which function as collectibles. Rescuing these villagers further explains the game’s story through tiny pieces of lore but players don’t really need to collect all of them to enjoy Unbound: World’s Apart. These villagers will however keep completionists busy because some of them are extremely well hidden or require a lot of creative platforming and portal use to rescue.
Players will find that Unbound: World’s Apart isn’t exactly a very difficult game. The varied platforming that results from using different portals keeps each area of the game fresh and while there’s no real combat, using portals and their effects to defeat enemies is very satisfying. There are also boss enemies too and these battles are great since you’ll have to learn their patterns and apply proper portal usage to defeat them.
Overall, Unbound: World’s Apart is a remarkably great puzzle-platformer with precision gameplay aspects. You will die a lot. However, the game never really gets frustrating and instead feels amazingly satisfying to get through. This is especially true when you’re using portals like a professional mage explorer extraordinaire while dodging enemies and projectiles alike. If you’re looking for an atmospheric, gorgeous, puzzle-platformer with gameplay that’s addictive, Unbound: World’s Apart is for you.
Developer: Alien Pixel Studios
Designer: Sergiu Craitoiu
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, MORE
This game was reviewed on PC
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