Unbound: Worlds Apart is a breath of fresh air in the world of Metroidvanias. The gaming industry has become rapidly overpopulated by games of this type. Players have been replaying the same story with different characters for years now, so when something new and exciting comes along, we obviously all jump at the chance to play it. Alien Pixel Studios brought Unbound: Worlds Apart to the table, and boy oh boy did we eat it up.
A world of magic and multi-dimensional travel is at our doorsteps, but we need to be the only brave survivor to face it all. Jumping headfirst into this adventure was one of the best decisions forto make, and my adventures with Soli will not be forgotten. This game is a wholesome yet terrifying journey to save what you believe in. What lies beyond the portals? And how did we get here in the first place? The history of Soli and their kind is ready for your exploration. So what is stopping you?
What makes it so special?
In case you were curious, you take on the role of Soli within Unbound. A hooded mage, who watches the world of Vaiya fall to chaos. All your fellow mages are struggling to use their powers to save it, but luckily you are one of a kind with the ability to utilize other dimensions in your travels. This is what makes Unbound so special. Multi-dimensional travel is not something I have experienced in a metroidvania, or more so not something I have seen executed well. This isn’t a one off skill you only need to use once, every single puzzle is based around these portals. You’re not just stuck to one type either, every level has new skills and new terrifying experiences to put yourself through. Whilst one portal removes gravity from the occasion, others turn innocent looking creatures into quite literal nightmare fuel.
How the world(s) work
Unbound: Worlds Apart has definitely perfected an equilibrium between special and spooky. Whilst some of the worlds you encounter are calming and gently encourage you to progress to the next level, others are absolutely blood curdling. Horrific monsters with more eyes than you can count on one hand, or enough teeth to cause some serious damage litter the majority of hidden dimensions. They all support the fall of peace in Vaiya and remind you of what you’re fighting for. If your home had been infected with these nightmarish creatures, of course you would want to save it. Though these monsters are not so easy on the eyes, they are definitely useful for your journey. Don’t forget to check how the portals you open affect them, as they might just be the key to your success.
If eyes could speak
Unbound: Worlds Apart does not fall short of content either. Each character has a story to tell, and they are definitely more than willing to tell it. Some may initially appear as defensive, or filled with anger, but there’s only so much persuading glowing eyes needed before they’re letting you in on their history. You meet a huge spectrum of people along the way who help you remember who you are, whilst also introducing new skills for you to practise. By the end of Unbound: Worlds Apart, you’ll realise that you did all of this for them. Not just yourself. It’s a story tied up neatly with a bow, and honestly I would argue it is definitely a gift in the gaming industry.
As I’ve mentioned several times throughout this review, my time with Unbound was most certainly an unforgettable one. After spending years playing metroidvanias, it is nice to be able to sit down with one I genuinely feel should excel in the field. It is a game so obviously filled with love and passion, and has a real heartbreaking story of discovery if you read between the lines. Alien Pixel Studios absolutely hit the nail on the head with this one. If you are searching for your next adventure, and have a history with metroidvanias, then I cannot recommend this enough to you.