Unbound World’s Apart combines idyllic beauty with exciting and fun mechanics, the likes of which will make you think about the experience you had for a long time to come.
Of course, Unbound has been released on other platforms since 2021 but now it has made its way to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 for fans of the consoles around the world to enjoy and venture through the gripping roots of the experience.
I certainly enjoyed my playthrough thoroughly while utilizing the game’s exquisite mechanics and following the enticing story! Wizards, abilities, lore, emergent platforming!? Sign me up!
Upon first entry into the world, you will be met with a luscious backdrop of evening sky and a mysterious figure named who will start you off on your journey through the experience named Karra.
At this point, you have already seen a beautiful creature with shimmering blue running through them in the introductory cutscene that sets up the feel of the location.
Afterward, our main protagonist Soli, a young mage and wizard will begin to travel through the world as a great evil engulfs the world in flames that are later known to be caused by Arawen, the Demon King who has invaded the world with their demons.
Soli is tasked with returning the world to its former glory by getting assistance from the friendly but mysterious inhabitants of the universe, the creature/animal named Leyrah effectively acting as your companion on the adventure as they appear frequently through the experience. Before we get on with our complete Unbound Worlds Apart review, here’s what I think about this game
Bottomline Upfront: I think this indie game is a delightfully refreshing experience and would recommend it.
Portals and Wizardry — What More Could Anyone Want!?
The gameplay of course draws from the Metroidvania genre style with lots of different mechanics to find throughout the experience.
The portal mechanic is exquisite and is extremely fun to utilize! At its core, when activated with L1 in an area where the player can do so after passing through one of the shard gates, they will be empowered with an ability that will allow Soli to tap into various abilities gained by using these portals.
There are 10 Unique portals to access and every one of these has its own mechanic tied to it. There are three separate locations to explore each with vast openness tied to all of them. The locations are Vaiya, Sanarya, and Umberra.
One of my favorite portal mechanics in the experience was found in Vaiya in the underground near ‘The Quiet Glade’.
Whenever the portal was activated, the player would be able to effectively use the portal as a torch that effectively inverted the world’s dark colors of the underground into a pure white background with clear indications of platforms to jump on.
It made for a fun mechanic as whenever you move with the portal, you will observe the portal shrinking which had me frantically trying to work out strategies to get through the area quickly!
Among the ‘light’ portal as I like to call it, there is also an inverse gravity portal that when first utilized will catch the player off guard (as it certainly did to me!) and really allow them to start to understand the potential for great gameplay throughout.
The portals have a great game feel to them and they can certainly be said to be a unique selling point for Unbound.
It’s Fetching Time!
The core gameplay loop on the other hand can at times feel a little repetitive. This is only due to the omnipresence of fetch quests throughout where the player is tasked with returning multiple shards, mushrooms, or other items to progress with the story and each of the locations.
The lovable cast of characters makes up for this though and each mechanic and environment is diverse enough that it doesn’t feel like a chore to venture through the world.
Effective level design is clear and I found myself at times thinking to myself about how much I adored segments of the location for their player learning curves.
Anybody can pick up Unbound and be taught how to play the game in a way that doesn’t force tutorials in your face, there is subliminal messaging within each area. A well-placed cliffside, a subtle mechanic teaching lesson, and so much more.
It is a joy to learn every new mechanic that is introduced, equally the same with new abilities that are unlocked while playing through the roughly 5-7 hour Story if playing at a leisurely pace. Dash and Wall-Climb were some of my favorite abilities.
Wall-Climb didn’t just allow me to wall jump but actually climb up the side of every climbable wall by jumping up them, it is a refreshing take on the Metroidvania climbing systems.
The flow of gameplay can be compared in many ways to Hollow Knight. Delightful animations are everywhere you look and enemies feel interesting in their design!
The U.I (User Interface) of Unbound: Worlds Apart also is designed with simple beauty. The map can be opened up with the touchpad and locations are marked clearly with waypoints (fast travel locations) clear to venture towards.
You will indeed be opening up the map a lot as there are numerous hidden areas and Villagers to save as a side activity among others to keep things fresh.
The main options menu of Unbound is light in features and there are unfortunately few accessibility options for players. There are is a language option found within the ‘Game’ section, three audio adjusters within the ‘Audio’ Section, and 5 commands to change the button for in the ‘Controller’ settings.
However, each command can be tied to any button of your choosing so the ability to select a button that works for you is a welcome feature and does allow for some accessibility.
Bosses of Delicious Bite — A Pep Talk With Demons
There are a handful of bosses to fight through the different maps but wow! They deliver! Allowing you to utilize the skills you have learned while in a certain area.
Allowing for boss fights that are simplistic in some of their nature but at the same time have elements of puzzle-solving that the game prides itself upon. I found myself waiting excitedly to run into the next boss encounter but they were few and far between.
The latter half of the game sees more bosses and it would’ve been great to have more bosses scattered throughout that I would be able to find and enjoy fighting as there are no damage spells (in the majority of the game) that Soli can use to damage enemies and instead they must be eliminated by other means.
The design of the bosses is exquisite with them truly representing that all-important demon nature for Soli to battle!
A Bucolic World of Discovery and Lore
The world is crafted majestically with each map and location having a focus on the effective art style. There are contrasts between many of the environments throughout the game and that is what keeps traveling through the world fresh and exciting due to its excellent visuals!
The narrative and lore that can be found throughout are equally enticing with extra dialogue able to be found by simply speaking to the characters for more than one time after a conversation.
The story is great at keeping the player enthralled with their task of saving the world from the demonic invasion that is occurring. Leyrah is once again a majestic animal to keep you wanting to speak to them more!
A Fitting End for a Rejuvenating Experience
After you have ventured through all of the three locations, you will finally make it to Arawen. The final boss is quite challenging and will test your abilities! There is also great usage of checkpointing throughout the fight so it doesn’t cause too many issues.
I did encounter one crash during the boss fight which meant I had to start the fight over again but it took me a good number of tries to defeat Arawen’s boss fight and it was worth the battle. The ending is extremely memorable and certainly left a tear in my eye.
Replayability- When you observe Arawen’s fate, you will be taken to a credits scene, after which you can continue the game again before you defeat the final boss. You are then able to backtrack to all of the previous locations and complete anything that you may have missed.
There is rewarding replayability during this section as you can 100% everything; however, after you have one everything there is to do in the game, there are likely, unfortunately, not many replayability features for Unbound unless you are planning another game run, or simply wanting a stroll through the visually striking universe.
However, the journey of the full game itself is absolutely worth the time and effort to play through.
Alternatives to Unbound: Worlds Apart
If you enjoyed Unbound, you will be sure to enjoy some alternatives to the experience! Here is a list of some alternatives to play through after Unbound:
- Hollow Knight
- Shovel Knight
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Little Nightmares
- Metroid Dread
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Question: How Long does it Take to Fully Complete Everything the Game Has to Offer?
Answer: It will take you around 12 hours to complete everything within the game.
Question: Are There any Co-op Features in the Experience?
Answer: No, there are not any co-op features for Unbound.
Question: How Many Trophies are There to Collect? Is There a Platinum Trophy?
Answer: There are 37 trophies to collect including a Platinum Trophy! Yes, Trophy Hunters, you heard that right — there is a Platinum to obtain from the experience!
It’s time to venture through the world of Unbound!
Unbound: Worlds Apart not only is a delightfully refreshing experience, but it is one where you can see the development team’s passion and love for creating games that offer players great escapism and a unique sense of discovery.
The intertwining of effective mechanics, exquisite boss fights, and an alluring story make the game one to play as soon as you can if you are a fan of puzzle-platformers with Metroidvania twists.
The area where the experience can falter a little is the aforementioned repetitively of some of the main quests, which are glorified fetch quests.
The excellent level design ensures that the player is not finding it a chore, but some more diversity in quests would allow for a higher sense of grandeur in quest design.
The replayability value could also be increased by adding new quests and areas in the future for players to enjoy. All in all, it is a game that I will certainly recall playing for many years!
A refreshing take on the Metroidvania style, indulge yourself in a studio’s passion for making a short but exquisite game that will keep you on your toes throughout. This is an indie gem that shouldn’t be overlooked this month.
Unbound: Worlds Apart Rating — 7/10