Unbound: Worlds Apart (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Steven Mattern 20.08.2021

Review for Unbound: Worlds Apart on Nintendo Switch

There's nothing like a good platformer. For some, it's like video game comfort food. There are so many titles in the 2D platforming genre, and each of them bring new elements to the table that haven't been tried before. Unbound: World's Apart by developer Alien Pixel Studios brings a portal warping twist, but one mechanic enough to carry the whole thing?

The gameplay isn't alone in crafting this lite metroidvania. One thing that this title does a great job with is immersion. Unbound: World's Apart takes inspiration from the Ori series to deliver a beautiful fantasy aesthetic with vibrant colours while leaning on the use of shading. It does a good job immersing you with intricate fantasy art, backed up by a great soundtrack.

Composed by Alexey Nechaev, the OST at hand uses primarily piano and string instruments to great effect. Both piano and strings have a lot of musical range, and Alexey takes advantage of this range to punctuate the visuals and pace of what's on screen; from the quieter exploratory moments, to tricky platforming scenes, to escaping huge beasts. Each of these moments are highlighted and punctuated so well by the soundtrack.

Something that didn't quite work was the story. This keeps a brisk pace in the gameplay side, but the plot leaves a bit to be desired. A lot of it is found through collectibles tucked away in the maps, and through taking with NPCs along your journey, but it's nothing to write home about. Yours truly didn't get all the lore bits there were available, but the setup alone was a good enough motivator to get going and press on.

Screenshot for Unbound: Worlds Apart on Nintendo Switch

Unbound: Worlds Apart is not focused on combat, but instead unique gameplay challenges, separated by a very generous checkpoint system, where, if the player dies, they are put back at the start of the obstacle and not further back in the map. This keeps motivation high to try again even if the obstacle is particularly hard. In the later parts some trials can be quite difficult to overcome, and the curve can be quite steep, but this checkpoint system makes up for it and makes the harder challenges less strenuous.

The gameplay hook is that, with a button press, players open a static portal to an alternate world. In the opening couple hours, this can seem a bit stale, but the developer kept finding ways to implement new gameplay twists with this mechanic. For example, in one area, portals switch gravity while in another you will need to avoid fearsome creatures that appear in the alternate world while exploring.

Screenshot for Unbound: Worlds Apart on Nintendo Switch

In terms of performance, Unbound: Worlds Apart is lacking on Nintendo Switch at the time of writing this review. Being something made in Unreal Engine 4, frame pacing and drops come with the territory, despite visuals that the engine can deliver on the console. This issue rears its ugly head time and time again, but it largely feels like a stable experience until things get heavy or bigger checkpoints are reached. Most if not every Unreal Engine 4 game on Switch runs into this issue, and this is no different, sadly.

Screenshot for Unbound: Worlds Apart on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Unbound: Worlds Apart is a game that looks and sounds wonderful, with a central gameplay hook, and it keeps players on their toes. Plus, with a lenient checkpoint system even the most difficult parts feel less daunting. Aside from some performance hiccups on Nintendo Switch and a passable story, this is definitely worth a look or two.

Developer

Alien Pixel Studios

Publisher

Alien Pixel Studios

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

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