LadiesGamers Unbound

Unbound: Worlds Apart Review

Game: Unbound: Worlds Apart
Genre: Adventure, Platform, Puzzler
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam, Xbox & PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Alien Pixel Studios
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price:  UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99 | USA $19.99
Release Date: July 28th, 2021

Review code provided with many thanks to Homerun PR

Hidden Gem

Unbound: Worlds Apart is a 2D puzzle platformer where the developer may have just looked at the black mage from the older (and arguably better) Final Fantasy games and thought to make a game about them. You play as one of the smaller, cuter, dark mages in the community who is given the heavy burden of saving the day by using portals. On the surface, Unbound appears to be another 2D adventure game. But give it a chance and you might discover quite the hidden gem.

LadiesGamers Unbound
One day I’ll grow up to be big and strong like you

Better With Portals

The main aim is to save the realm from the upcoming darkness which is tearing reality apart. Objectives are clearly laid out in a handy map which opens up the more you explore the 2D world. There is no direct combat in this game but the little dark mage does have some nifty portal tricks up his sleeve to traverse the world. As you make your way through the game you will encounter areas where you can tap the shoulder button and activate a special portal. Initially these portals let you see the world differently.

Spike pits and walls disappear in the other realm allowing you to safely progress. The portal only occupies a small circular space so your position of the portal is important for platforming segments and sometimes you need to quickly activate and deactivate it at the right movement to traverse an area. Meaning you do need to be quick on that trigger finger to avoid danger.

LadiesGamers Unbound
See the world differently with portals

Using the portals also comes at a cost. Enemies that looked harmless in the current realm become more menacing in the dark realm or possibly turn into handy moveable blocks. As you continue the single portal you are given changes. Sometimes it will change gravity or turn you into a block that can avoid damage from hazards and enemies. By only giving you one portal at a time it prevents things from getting too complicated making the game quite accessible for most audiences.

It also keeps the flow of the game interesting and fresh considering it is essentially talking to fellow mages, finding some crystals or switches and moving on. The game does throw the odd boss battle at you. Since you can’t directly fight the boss you have to avoid its attacks under an appropriate opening. Generally, I found these to be quite rewarding and fun.

LadiesGamers Unbound
This portal transforms you into a handy block

Twitch Platforming

Controls are nice and simple. You move, jump and use a portal, all of which respond well. The game also performs great on handheld and TV modes. My only niggle with the controls is this is a platformer where it feels you need to jump at the last minute to reach the next one.

This trouble is reduced later as you unlock new abilities like a double jump and a dash ability. But do expect a lot of twitch reflex platforming particularly near the end of the game where you need to be quick with the buttons. The good news is checkpoints are incredibly frequent so there is not a lot of long tedious repetition of tough segments.

LadiesGamers Unbound
Just hitching a ride

Dark and Light

The graphics are lovely hand-drawn sprites set across rich detailed backgrounds. You will encounter a variety of detailed dark mage NPCs, with my favourite being the oversized ones you come across. What brings the world to life is how your portals show you the two different worlds. One being vibrant and rich in vegetative detail and the other dark and kinda terrifying.

Even with this contrast there is a nice colour palette on display. Even with some of the games more menacing enemies expect to see bursts of colour even though they navigate a dark world. There is also a reasonably chill soundtrack to accompany you on your adventure. Your little dark mage protagonist (who is actually called Soli) is charming. 

LadiesGamers Unbound
Sure hope there’s no spider around here


The overall adventure should not take you much more than about 5 hours if you’re casually working your way through. There are plenty of fellow black mages to seek out and rescue in your quest which would add a few more hours to the experience. But some of these are hidden behind some pretty mind-bending puzzles, which was a little too much for my brain to handle during this review. But this will likely appeal to the completionist. 

LadiesGamers Unbound
Does this count as a plant-based boss

Conclusion – A Nice Spark

Unbound: Worlds Apart dark mage protagonist has a little flame at the end of its hat. That’s kinda how I see this game; a little spark in a sea of many 2D adventures. What makes Unbound stand out is its pleasant art style and unique gameplay with the portals. I certainly had more fun than I expected. If you’re looking for that next 2D adventure fix Unbound is well worth picking up and spending time with.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot
I like it a lot

LadiesGamers Unbound
The game is not shy about its cute moments

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