Unbound: Worlds Apart is a new hand-drawn indie that is a unique mix of platforming and puzzle-solving. Taking cues from classics like Portal and Rayman, there is a lot of charm to be found here. Players will take control of a little sage named Soli, who specializes in opening rifts between realities. There is an ancient evil that is devouring all of the different realities and it is up to Soli to find out the truth behind this menace and how to stop it. It’s a fairly straightforward story and it plays second fiddle to the gameplay itself. The opening of portals almost acts as abilities for Soli to where these different atmospheres grant; super strength, inverse gravity, and others. Players will use these portals to bypass obstacles and even defeat enemies. Soli will trek across all kinds of different worlds that offer new and refreshing challenges.
Soli is a nimble little wizard that can leap to great heights and even double jump. This 2D platformer pays homage to the countless games of the 16-bit era of the same caliber and there is no doubt that these types of games are still as fun as ever. It appears that Unbound: Worlds Apart will be a Metroidvania title to where Soli will need to backtrack and open up new pathways with portal-opening spells. This game will center on exploration and the maps will be teeming with secrets to find and unlockable skills to obtain. Additionally, Soli won’t be alone during the journey. There are various NPCs to talk to that will explain details about their world and even stories involving their own lives. Little by little players will get exposition about the plot through these characters and at the end, players will see the bigger picture. There is quite the epic yarn to unravel with this indie and it appears to be making quite an impression.
Soli isn’t the most battle-hardened little sage and the best method of survival is out-thinking all the obstacles ahead. This is the main idea behind the air-tight platforming found in Unbound: Worlds Apart. Players will need cat-like reflexes in order to survive all the dangerous terrains that are ahead for Soli. No two worlds are the same and players will need a keen eye on knowing how to overcome certain situations. Don’t let the cute aesthetic of this game fool you, either. This game is quite brutal with its platforming and it can even be unforgiving, at times. Maybe not as difficult as Super Meat Boy, but it can definitely do a number on players. Timing jumps is one thing, but conjuring portals at the same time is something else. Not to mention that it needs to be the correct portal, too. Otherwise, things can go sideways for Soli pretty quickly.
The portal opens within a small radius around Soli, giving players a limited range on what they are trying to manipulate. It’s an interesting concept and it works well for this platformer. There is a total of 10 portals to find and they all offer wildly different realities. One portal can render fire harmless, while another one can bog down time. All the different characters that Soli will find offer side-quests which will entail a lot of backtracking. Throughout these quests, Soli will acquire different platforming abilities like wall-climbing, dashing, and others. There is always a little something to acquire in this game that gives players a sense of progression. There are tons of collectibles and always something to find throughout Unbound: Worlds Apart.
Visiting these characters that are hiding throughout the map is essential for unlocking a good ending. Yes, Unbound: Worlds Apart has two different endings that fall into the “good” and “bad” categories. Helping out all the NPCs will help Soli in a number of ways. Just note that cleansing the areas where these characters reside is one of the most difficult sections in the game. It’s a gamble for sure, but completing these areas has a hefty payoff in the end. Of course, like any other Metroidvania title, there will be backtracking on a regular basis. This game has loads of it and luckily, the new variations of opening portals keep everything fresh with every jaunt. It gives players an incentive to keep going back to places and discovering what is new. It may not have rogue-lite elements like Have a Nice Death, but the different variations of portals are enough fun to experiment with.
Although Unbound: Worlds Apart just dropped for the PlayStation this week, it has actually been out for a while. It launched for the Nintendo Switch back in 2021. It received mostly positive reviews, with a few nagging issues with the framerate. Chances are that all of these problems have been rectified since launch. Now, within the past week, this indie is now available for the PlayStation consoles. Of course, it is the exact same game with smoother framerate and higher-definition artwork. It’s also worth pointing out that this game is also available for Xbox and PC, as well. All variations of this game are worth checking out, no matter what console or gaming rig a gamer may have. Sometimes, an indie like this kind of slips through the cracks, and taking time to notice little gems like this can make a difference in the lives of gamers.
A Sound Sage
There is a lot of content to find within Unbound: Worlds Apart. Developer Alien Pixel has crafted a little home run with this indie and more people are taking notice. It is quite an accomplishment that this game was made with a two-person team, which now has blossomed into almost eight. If anyone is on the look for an old-school magical Metroidvania adventure, then Unbound: Worlds Apart just might be what the doctor ordered. Starting on Nintendo Switch, this game is now available on multiple platforms. Anyone that wants to dive into an old-fashioned platforming gauntlet might want to check out this game.