By Chris Picone, 03 February 2023
The best way I can think to describe A Space for the Unbound is that it’s a bit like an Indonesian anime, played out as an interactive story with gorgeously detailed pixel art. Oh, it’s also packed full of cute kitties and you can absolutely pat all of them. Seriously though, this game's a work of art. Don't sleep on it.
Stunning. Top notch pixel art with realistic (as opposed to stylised) backgrounds and scenes absolutely loaded with detail. There are plenty of objects and characters to interact with, the “book” with all your objectives, map and galleries is lovely and stylised, and the music always fits the mood. The whole game’s exceptionally well-polished and is stacked with all those little “value add” details that we love – lots of little side interactions and just people walking and riding past, the world really feels alive. And the scenes themselves – wow! The core locations you play in (the town and school) are huge but you also explore a ton of dream worlds. Right from the moment you load into the game, you know you’re playing something special.
While this is more of an interactive story than an adventure game, it does include some sequential gathering and interactions with different people and objects in order to progress the story. The problem solving’s generally linear but there are a few puzzles (switch puzzles, etc.) along the way. There are also lots of “interactive” moments – sneaking past guards, climbing a tree, quizzes, reflex tests – I think they’re mostly designed to increase immersion (and it works!) but some are more challenging than others. The game also features some interesting combo-based combat peppered through the game to break up the dialogue. There are also quite a few side games such as a fighting game and some ball drills. The real star of this game, though, is the story! Which starts off as a nice little romantic tale twisted in with a story-within-a-story but the themes are generally to do with mental health and honestly some of the scenes are pretty gut-wrenching.
If you’re a fan of adventure games and/or interactive stories, don’t miss this one. It really is a top tier example with a nice story, fantastic artwork, engaging gameplay, and a ton of little “nice-to-haves” that really make this title stand out. It’s a masterpiece of the genre.