Platformer titles are all known for the different atmosphere, difficult, and types of challenges they put players through. A main aspect that makes each one stick out as a unique title is the power they let you use to progress through the various obstacles and enemies in your path. Alien Pixel Studios has given us a whole new kind of platformer experience in Unbound: Worlds Apart that is sure to strike some interest in any platform gamer out there.
After a ritual goes wrong and the village relies on you to help them start gathering the different things they need together, your quest begins more abrupt than one would hope. You quickly find yourself crossing through the town, talking to fellow villagers, and being told to head out and meet up with the others that escaped the destruction their portal has brought upon the town.
Using the typical movement and single jump scheme that any classic platformer provides, you soon find that once outside of the areas that prevent you from using your magical power of portal creation that this power will be a core element to your overall progress in the game.
There seems to be different uses for the portal. First it is used to open a surrounding around to a different realm where different obstacles or platforms are that you will need to navigate in a back-to-back switching balance to progress through the level.
Later this portal power appears to be more of a light guiding your way, but not actually opening a separate area. Instead, you will use it to reveal the nearby section of the level within the same bubble perimeter that the portal provides. This shows you where enemies area, the various platforms you can use, and key items that you need to collect are. To be fair, even when in complete darkness the enemies give off this light red flare like light that can be seen, which helps when keeping track of their movements while unable to hold the light open – as the light only shows when you are touching the ground and disappears slowly when in the air.
My favorite section was the inverted area of the game. The portal seemed to reverse gravity and send you to stand on the roof of the platforms. Trying to balance in the air by switching between the two gravity types, using it to get over certain obstacles, and, the best part, using it to make certain platforms that prevent you from going through an area in the non-portal area while falling fast enough to land on the other side without hitting the spikes at the bottom; this was just a great unique aspect they featured in the demo.
Graphics and Sounds
Keeping the graphics to a simplistic art and cartoonish features is a great feel for the game. Even with everything looking so light and magical, the deformation and size of the different enemies (in both the regular and portal worlds) were still quite horrifying to look at. I practically didn’t care for their spiders in the darkness areas!
The music is subtle and keeps players in the atmosphere. Mixing it with the light sound effects that make the actions the player and enemies make stick out without being over powering nor distracting makes for a good mix. I also like that they choose to just not put a voice to any of the characters instead of the oddly popular decision to put some silly noise to represent a voice while you are reading text.
With the power of the portal showing to have multiple features and uses in the demo, I would expect to see there being a lot more coming from what that portal can do. The different kinds of obstacles they provided in this short gameplay experience was already interesting and challenging, so I would imagine that it is only going to get crazier and more hectic moving forward.
The story seems to have some hidden depth to it. The short phrasings in the text almost seem to shortly explain a story that needs to be shown more than explained. I am hoping to see an expansive story that will catch us off guard and surprise us with a twist or hefty climax somewhere down the way through the game.
Unbound has a ton of potential and is sure to be a platformer gaming experience that will be hard to forget. The demo itself is quite memorable, even for it being a bit short, and it leaves me wanting to play more of the game. I look forward to seeing the final product and what they can do with all the various uses that portal of theirs has. We are in for a fun set of challenges that will require a mix of skill and puzzle solving!