Review – Unbound: Worlds Apart

Alien Pixel Studios were basically known for their Polandball creations up until very recently, it seems. Their latest title, a multiplatform effort called Unbound: Worlds Apart, debuted to little fanfare but I was immediately captivated by what I saw. Its visuals were too eye-catching to be ignored. The style of game, a 2D action-platformer, mixed with the cute indie cartoon-y, hand-drawn graphics was an instant draw. I needed to give this one a try, and was pleased with the end results.

Nothing worse than having to deal with some creepy crawlies.

The premise, for the most part, is very simple and straightforward. In Unbound, you’re a mage named Soli, who, after undergoing some events in the beginning of the game (the less I spoil it, the better), receives the ability to control and open portals between worlds that create different effects and puzzles for each area.

The puzzles in Unbound are very interesting; as you pass through a gate to each area that allows you to open portals, what effects the portals have, can be different. Early on, there isn’t anything that could be considered overly crazy, as the portals are used to basically give you platforms to reach areas you couldn’t before. It doesn’t take long for puzzles and the overall level design to become a little more sinister and challenging, as small harmless butterflies become crazy, almost dragon-like creatures when entering the portal. Easily the most startling is a centipede that can tell where you are, even if you can’t see where it is without opening the portal. Luckily it can only get you with the portal open, but guess how you solve puzzles. Some of the other things that will happen with portals include a change in gravity, meaning you’ll walk on the roof instead, or sometimes it’s simply to provide light while the area around you is pitch black.

Sections under complete and utter darkness, not stressful at all.

The characters and animation to Unbound are all quite charming. While there are some darker connotations to the game’s story, with themes revolving around death, the mages, and fox characters are all quite adorable to look at. I enjoyed the contrast. The cutscenes in Unbound are also some of my favourite in a while, as they are beautifully animated and well put together, I can only wish that there were more of them. To go with everything, the music in Unbound is very well orchestrated. In darker caves the soundtrack is somber, almost sinister, giving you that eerie sensation of not knowing what’s lurking ahead of you. In comparison, when in the village of mages, the tune being played is a bit more relaxed, letting you breathe a sigh of relief before heading back out.

Flipping gravity to make sure you don’t hit the spikes on either side.

Unbound: Worlds Apart is an adorably charming indie game that really shows the strength of Alien Pixel Studios’ craft. Throughout the 6+ hours I spent with it, I’ve encounter various puzzles, a bunch of sneaky enemies I couldn’t fight back against, and even some bosses I had to survive in order to solve the problems that face the world. A total package, Unbound: Worlds Apart is an absolutely adorable indie title. It hits the ground running and doesn’t stop from beginning to end.

Graphics: 8.0

The visuals in Unbound: Worlds Apart are absolutely adorable. The hand-drawn aspect is very well done, and shows the love and care put into this game. A few spots feel a bit stiff, but absolutely nothing that really kills the game.

Gameplay: 7.5

The puzzles in Unbound: Worlds Apart can be a lot of fun, some do start to pop up a few times which can feel a little repetitive, while some aren’t quite balanced, but not game breaking.

Sound: 8.0

The music is great, and for the most part it hits home great. The other side of this is, some fall a little flat and don’t quite hit the mark that they are likely aiming for.

Fun Factor: 8.5

A total package, Unbound: Worlds Apart is an absolutely adorable indie title. While it may only be Alien Pixel Studio’s second game, it hits the ground running and doesn’t stop from beginning to end.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Unbound: Worlds Apart is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Unbound: Worlds Apart was provided by the publisher.