I was quite struck by Metroidvania platformer Unbound: Worlds Apart when I first saw it. The colors pop, the environments and characters are hand-drawn, and there are puzzles galore. Not only that, but the game promised a variety of portals to command. Naturally, I had to review Unbound: Worlds Apart to see if it played as well as it looked. And my conclusion is it does. For the most part.
In order to save the day, you must be out of this world
Unbound: Worlds Apart centers on the gifted Soli. One day, your village is threatened by monsters as they enter your land through magic portals. Only you can deal with these foes, using your special abilities. In certain areas, Soli can conjure portals to other realities that cover a limited range, and there are quite a few of them.
The greatest aspect of Unbound: Worlds Apart is the sheer amount of portals Soli can conjure. They can be utilized in subsections with a press of the left shoulder button. Also, they only affect a circle around Soli.
There are 10 of these portals in total, and each one has an interesting mechanic. One flips gravity. Another stops time. Another turns fireballs into harmless bubbles you can ride. And one of my personal favorites causes platforms to appear and disappear. Little did I know it also turned harmless insects into giant monsters, too (seriously, it made me jolt). Navigating those perilous sections was invigorating.
To and fro
Soli’s main objective, to conquer the dimension-hopping demons, sees him traversing various areas in search of assistance. You’ll usually meet a fellow adventurer with something you need, and they’ll task you with collecting items for them in order to progress. There’s a lot of back and forth, as Soli finds upgrades to help him navigate the map. These include a dash, double jump, and wall climb, to name a few.
As Soli platforms around, he’ll find stranded villagers in hard-to-reach places. Getting to them gives you a bit of lore and helps open optional zones. These locales are particularly brutal and must be cleansed by Soli. Doing so will help you achieve the good ending. There’s a bad ending, too, so it pays to revisit areas after gaining abilities to search for any wandering souls.
Did I stutter?
Unbound isn’t without some issues. Probably the biggest one is the frame rate. It stutters just enough to be noticeable but not enough to be game-breaking. However, it will cause problems, and it is quite easy to mess up a jump due to it. Hopefully, it will be patched in the future.
Other than that, some of the enemies in Unbound are a little janky. There are spiders and worms who chase and leap at you that seem to be missing a few frames of animation. It’s surprising to see, especially since a lot of the characters and environments are so detailed.
Platforming can also be exacting. There were a few sections where I had to jump at the very end of a block to make it to the next one. And while there are numerous checkpoints throughout the game, it can drive you mad trying to complete a particular section over and over again.
After all is said and done, Unbound: Worlds Apart is a special little game. Sure, it wears its Ori influence pretty tightly on its sleeve, it has a bit of an unstable frame rate, and there are some difficulty spikes in the latter half. But the wildly different portals you get to summon and the puzzles that are intertwined with them are unlike anything I’ve seen before. They are quite creative and always made me hungry for the next area and its new gimmick. Give it a whirl if you enjoy variety, puzzles, and Metroidvanias.
A Nintendo Switch review code for Unbound: Worlds Apart was provided by the publisher.