Portals have always been cool, right? Valve's own genre-defining Portal remains to this day one of the greatest FPS games of all time, and we're sure even the most firm critic of the MCU can't watch the Endgame portal scene without feeling just a little bit emotional. Unbound: Worlds Apart makes smart use of portals as a foundation for its puzzle platforming, resulting in a solid adventure that's unfortunately held back by an unstable framerate.
You play as Soli, a mage who bares more than a striking resemblance to FFIX's Vivi. Soli's world and reality is collapsing from a relentless evil, forcing him to utilise various portals to navigate a mysterious and dangerous land to save his home and people. On the way, he'll come across a multitude of friendly characters complete with their own quests and backstories. The world building here won't win any medals, but there's enough to keep you intrigued and invested for the duration of the game.
And what a beautiful looking game, too. The hand-crafted visuals are stunning throughout, and the contrast of colours between the parallel worlds creates some excellent screenshot opportunities. The main downside to this is the instability of the framerate, which tends to struggle even in the quieter moments with no enemies or characters present to cause any unnecessary strain. We're hoping this will stabilise with updates in due time.
The gameplay itself focuses almost entirely on the portals, the first of which essentially opens up a bubble into a parallel world, allowing you to utilise platforms that otherwise might not be around. On the flipside, benign creatures roaming about the normal world can morph into grotesque monsters if you catch them within your portal, so you'll need to be careful when and where to activate them.
As you progress further you'll open up new abilities using the portals, including one that inverts the world's gravity, thus allowing you to essentially fly up to the ceiling and back down again at will. The game opens up a bit more at this stage, incorporating elements of the Metroidvania genre with branching paths and unlockable areas, paying particular homage to games such as Ori and the Blind Forest.
In terms of difficulty the game ramps up the challenge fairly early on, but its puzzles nearly always feel manageable enough to avoid any unwanted frustration. You'll spend quite a lot of time dying towards the end of the game but its checkpoint system is incredibly generous, meaning you'll always spawn just prior to your place of death.
With its unique use of portals, Unbound: Worlds Apart is a great platform title with a flutter of Metroidvania in the mix. The framerate can be a tad annoying, chugging along at frequent intervals, but thankfully it's never quite disruptive enough to ruin the experience. If you like portals (and come on, who doesn't?), then this is definitely a game worth checking out.
This is why we need a Switch with upgraded internals. Not to play in 4K but to be able to play with a stable framerate and decent resolution without the developers needing to work their arses off to optimise. With indie developers, it's more effort actually as they work with smaller teams, but they still do it because they are passionate. Another positive for this game, it has a demo. Have grabbed it, will try soon.
I find the reviewer's claim about the framerate difficult to believe, considering the demo ran at a nearly flawless 60 fps. Maybe the full version has some busier scenes causing it to slow down, but the review claims that it languishes even during quieter moments, which simply wasn't the case in the demo. I'll wait to see if other reviews or footage of the final version comes out to corroborate or refute this claim.
Definitely passing on this if it has frame rate issues. I've been burned too many times lately with indie games that should run fine on Switch, but don't (Minoria, Ender Lilies, Star Renegades).
@accc The claim appears to be true unfortunately. All 4 reviews on metacritic mention FPS drops or performance issues
Thank you for the review. I had this on my wishlist pending reliable reviewer thoughts.
@San_D this is how i feel regarding the situation. while i can understand how people would want to avoid a situation like new3ds where some games had issues running on the base model the current situation however is that there are quite a few games running into those kinds of troubles now. especially 3rd party and indie games.
@Mgalens Even first and second party titles are not immune to this. Age of Calamity's frame rate issues are well documented. Bowser's Fury too seems to have issues. Then there was Breath of the Wild's Korok Forest, and that was a launch title. There would be a point where developers, even though they want to invest towards optimisation will be unable to do so. One could argue it has already started with more and more Cloud versions getting announced, which is a different can of worms.
@San_D perfect comment.
I played the demo and also did not notice frame rate issues. I did see the similarities to Ori, but Ori is more fluid, organic. Although I wanted to like it, after the demo I decided not to buy it.
I have had this game for a few days, put countless hours into it so far. It's a fantastic game, soundtrack and artwork are beautiful, the gameplay gets progressively harder so it's always keeping you on your toes. I have yet to notice any issues with frame rate myself so far, really enjoying this game.
I definitely agree.
I end up seeing quite a few strawman like comments interpreting people who are hoping for a performance upgrade as wanting to play switch games in "4k 60fps" when i imagine quite a few would settle for being able to play games like Age of calamity and MH stories at a stable fps.
at this point it feels like a case of just waiting and seeing. and while its not off the table (new 3ds came out around a year after the previous model) hopefully there will be less rumors flying about this time around due to people being more cautious.
@accc its locked at 30
Framerate issues continue to plague the Switch with many new and Q3 or Q4 2020 releases. The Switch is just outdated hardware now that really can't keep up with modern game engines. Time is coming quite soon to put this hardware platform out to the pasture because of many great games that aren't playable because of dropped framerate and general performance issues.
@Pamfy The demo wasn't locked at 30, it was 60 fps. I even re-downloaded it to verify. There's also a video of the demo on youtube by the channel ContraNetwork which you can watch, which shows the game running at 60. However, all of the Switch footage of the full version that I can find on youtube seems to be locked to 30. Is it possible they decided to lock the final version to 30? I don't see why they would do that.
EDIT: I emailed the devs and they confirmed, the demo runs at 60 fps but the full version was locked to 30 due to some areas in the final version not being able to achieve a stable 60 fps. Disappointing to hear as I would prefer to play the game with an unlocked framerate but they did say they were looking at performance improvements for future patches.
@accc oh ok..I knew that from their discord...I ll buy it anyway for support and try to play it like this..the game looks amazing and resource demanding is understandable. And maybe they ll do a patch
@bigbankhank @Mgalens Indeed, even Hades at higher difficulty levels (where you could have more enemies on screen) stutters significantly. I don't think buying games on Switch is very justifiable anymore. Voting with our wallet is the only way the message gets to them.
@Pamfy This makes me wonder if the framerate was locked to 30 in the review copy or if it was unlocked. Hopefully the reviewer's copy was unlocked and so their complaints about the framerate instability don't apply to the final version. Still, as somebody who would rather play a game that runs at 60 fps with drops over a game that runs at 30 fps with no drops, I would have preferred if there was an option to keep the framerate unlocked, even if they left 30 fps lock as the default option.
@accc no idea
Why is no one talking about Orco out of He-Man?
I didn't like the demo much at all.
Backed it from Kickstarter, just got around to playing it and yes there is the odd frame-rate drop, but not as bad as they say in the review.
I like it, you don't kill anything its all about avoiding combat and clever uses of different portal powers. Especially like the gravity shifting to make you "fly" through parts of levels
Tap here to load 21 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...