It is rare that it happens. I actually can’t remember the last time it happened. Where I play two games back to back and fall head over heels in love with them. First, there was Chained Echoes, I had no idea of it until I played it. Now, I have played A Space for the Unbound. This intimate story about caring for one’s self and the universe-destroying ramifications if you don’t, floored me.
In A Space for the Unbound, you play as Atma. He’s a young boy in a small town having dreams about a child he has befriended known as Nirmala. When he’s awake though he’s with his girlfriend Raya trying to figure out how to spend their days. When we meet them, they’ve decided to make an epic bucket list. As they try and finish this bucket list, Atma and the player will learn the world they are living in is filled with wonders as well as horrors.
A Space for the Unbound is an absolutely astonishing title. The gameplay elements keep the game stopping from ever becoming stale. One moment you’re in a courtroom surrounded by ducks, doing your best Phoenix Wright impression, the next you’re making sure Atma has moves that would make Ryu blush. The game perfectly balances several styles of gameplay to create something unique and engaging.
The bucket list is also an excellent mechanic so that players are looking out for some of the weirder items in the game. One item on the list is finding the furriest animal in all of creation and petting, getting to said animal means you have to find every other animal in the game and pet them. A simple task in concept, it is more complex in practice and it is a lot of fun.
Within the Dream
The main cusp of the gameplay is Atma heading into people’s hearts via a red book and figuring out what is causing their internal issues. The issues range from trying to beat a boss in a Street Fighter-style arcade game to participating in a Kitchen Nightmare-style segment where you will stack the odds.
Another charming element of A Space for the Unbound is its retro-style graphics. Once again, it is proven that graphics don’t mean good. All these AAA titles and none of them are nearly as charming visually. The best way I can describe it is living in the same world as Steven Universe or Scott Pilgrim. There’s magic, there are monsters as well as so much more.
Easily the best part of A Space for the Unbound is its story and the characters within it. Surrounded by all this magic, is an all too real tragedy that makes this story for me one of the best games out there. The characters will stay with me, their troubles are familiar and because of this, the writing has transcended the medium. I will always remember Raya, Nirmala, Marlin, Erick, Lulu and most importantly Atma. If you are a gamer, who is a fan of stories please, get this game. It is beautiful and heartbreaking and is one of the reasons I believe games are so great.