Indie game developers Mojiken are known for their story-driven games with unique artistic styles such as When The Past Was Around and She and the Light Bearer, which garnered positive reception from critics and gamers alike. Now they have teamed up with Toge Productions once more to deliver an emotional and beautifully illustrated narrative in the form of A Space for the Unbound.
Set in a small town inspired by 90s-era rural Indonesia, A Space For The Unbound is a coming-of-age story focusing on high school sweethearts Atma and Raya who are on a journey of self-discovery at the end of their high school years. Throughout the journey, the pair overcome life’s obstacles like anxiety, depression, and loss.
When a mysteriously supernatural power is suddenly unleashed threatening their existence, they must explore and investigate their town to uncover hidden secrets, face the end of the world, and perhaps learn more about each other.
The story had me engaged in the first 5 minutes of the 7-10 hour game with its supernatural concepts infused with the relatability of everyday life. Exploring every nook and cranny of the small town uncovered more and more details the developers included which created a natural immersion. A Space for the Unbound’s characters all had a purpose and I was always rooting for them even though each had a fatal flaw.
Story-driven games like A Space for the Unbound can easily miss the mark if a solid set of gameplay mechanics are not established, but luckily for us, the general gameplay was fantastic. If I could compare the game with another, I would compare it to the Life is Strange series.
A major feature and quite possibly one of my favourites in the game is the Spacedive. Spacediving is an action that Atma can do with a special red notebook to enter someone’s subconscious and solve puzzles to combat their inner demons. While you can learn a lot about someone with the spacedive feature, you can also talk to just about everyone you can see. The dialogue with townsfolk can be simple at times, but each conversation I had was meaningful, and it allowed me to gain a sense of who they are.
The puzzles were quite easy to solve with most involving backtracking and collecting items for the townsfolk. The pacing with some puzzles especially towards the middle of the game did get tiresome but luckily that didn’t last too long and I was fully onboard once again. There is, however, one math puzzle in the game which still haunts me to this day.
Battle sequences occur semi-regularly with the use of QTEs and gradually get more difficult the more you progress through the game. These were exciting at first but unfortunately felt uninspired by the end of the game.
If you are a cat lover then look no further – you can pet every single cat in the game. And there are dozens!
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The soundtrack is composed by Masdito Bachtiar and Christabel Annora who have previously worked on Mojiken’s games. I can only speak highly of the soundtrack as it works so cohesively with the overall aesthetic of the game.
GRAPHICS AND PERFORMANCE
The standout of the game is definitely the pixel art graphics. As someone who has dabbled in pixel art previously, I would like to acknowledge the detail that went into creating this world. Every detail is crafted to perfection and the animation is extremely smooth. The environments in the last chapter in particular were breathtaking and are probably the best pixel art illustrations I’ve ever seen in a video game.
I played A Space for the Unbound on Nintendo Switch which is the perfect console for this game. There is not one fault I can point out when it comes to the aesthetics of the game.
Mojiken Studio has set a high bar for Indie games in 2023, with its near-perfect storytelling and beautifully illustrated world, A Space for the Unbound is a must-play for anyone looking for a captivating, unique, and cat-filled coming-of-age story.
A Space for the Unbound is now available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Mac, PlayStation 5, PC, and Nintendo Switch.