“I wish to confound all these people, to create a work of art of a supernatural realism and of a spiritualist naturalism. I wish to prove… that nothing is explained in the mysteries which surround us.” – Joris-Karl Huysmans
A space for the Unbound is a coming-of-age adventure game following two high school sweethearts, Atma and Raya, as they embark on a journey of self-discovery and face the end of the world! Players get to explore 90’s Indonesia, discover secrets, meet the townsfolk, use mysterious supernatural powers and pet a lot of cats!
Developer: Mojiken Studios
Released: 19th January 2023
Price: £16.75 – £17.99
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
The game’s story is delivered mostly through dialogue, though there are visual cues and some interactive storytelling through the gameplay itself. It follows Atma and Raya as they navigate the end of their time at high school, however, what feels like a slice-of-life narrative at times quickly evolves into something much more dramatic and enigmatic. For example, Atma possesses a book that allows him to ‘spacedive’ into people’s hearts and rid them of turmoil which results in some truly fantastical and sometimes terrifying scenes.
The player gets to know the two characters main characters very well, they have expressive dialogue and distinct personalities and are a credit to the writing. There are also a number of unique and interesting NPC to meet, help and fight along the way. Another nice addition is the many references to Indonesian culture such as specific foods or musical instruments or Indonesian Independence day, these are usually explained with some detail, giving the game an educational aspect. Overall, the narrative is emotional and gripping, with plenty of twists and turns and it is the highlight of A Space for the Unbound.
A Space for the Unbound sees Atma and Raya trying to complete their bucket list, this contains main quests such as going to the movies and owning a pet cat, to do these a series of other objectives must be completed first. These are shown in a book which also shows a map, inventory, collectables and tales. Collectables are bottle tops and letters and tales can be collected from important space dives. These make nice mini-games alongside things such as arcade games, football tricks and a quiz.
The game utilises mechanics from a range of genres such as puzzle games, point-and-clicks, walking simulators, visual novels and much more. There are various types of puzzles such as logical or inventory-based conundrums. Additionally, there is a definite difficulty curve and things get progressively more demanding with the addition of things such as QTE-like combat and stealth events. Whilst the game does present some challenges it is not at all punishing and failure will usually just result in being returned to the start of the task or event.
A Space for the Unbound features beautifully detailed pixel art in slightly muted but warm colour palettes and pops of vibrant colour such as the blue of the sky. The visual styling perfectly matches the somewhat retro feel of the soundtrack which is incredibly varied, ranging from gentle and upbeat to intense and dramatic. The music really connects the player to both the environment and the narrative and creates a wonderful sense of atmosphere.
This game has a lot to offer with wonderful retro styling, a fascinating setting and an intriguing storyline as well as the immensely varied gameplay that will keep players on their toes and wanting to play more. It will take anywhere from 8-15 hours to complete, longer for those looking to get all the achievements, and is priced very reasonably for the amount of content. Overall, A Space for the Unbound is a unique and emotive narrative-focused experience that will appeal to a wide range of players due to its eclectic gameplay and beautiful aesthetic. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Courtesy of Toge Productions and Mojiken Studios we have a Steam key for A Space for the Unbound to giveaway on our Discord server. Come join us there for your chance to win, or just to stay up to date with Indie Hive content and chat about indie games! We’d love you to join our buzzing community!
Want to read about more games from Mojiken, check out these reviews:
Three for Free: Thrifty Gaming! – When the Past was Around – A Glance at Indonesia with Mojiken Studios – Double Game Review