Title: A Space for the Unbound
Publisher: Toge Productions
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on), PS4, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: January 19, 2023
A Space for the Unbound is the latest game from publisher Tobe Productions who brought us great story-driven games such as When the Past was Around and Coffee Talk. As someone who absolutely loved those two games I have been pacing at the gate waiting for A Space for the Unbound since it was first hinted at a few short years ago.
Taking place in a small town in Indonesia in the 1990’s, you take control of Atma who is a senior in high school, nearing the end of his student career and, alongside his girlfriend Raya, they try to make plans for the future.
And while the future holds much uncertainty for many a high school senior, Atma’s is only made more so by constant supernatural wackiness that seems to keep unfolding around him. Here’s the trailer.
While giving a fascinating glimpse of what life was like in Indonesia, it has many elements that are relatable to people the world over. I was immediately drawn in and found many places I could tie to my own childhood with its excellent storytelling.
Another thing that drew me in was the absolutely gorgeous pixel art. And it’s not just the regular thing of nice backgrounds and well-animated characters. There are moments in the game where two characters would be talking and at different points in the conversation, it will switch to a different camera angle covering the same conversation. Normally, in a three-dimensional game turning the camera is simple, but for an effect like this, someone had to redraw every single thing in the room from a different angle. This attention to detail all over every moment makes you feel the care the studio put into this game.
As you make your way through the game you unlock the ability to “Space Dive”, a special ability in which you can enter someone’s mind and help them with things they’re struggling with. The very first time you have to do it you enter someone’s brain to help them combat writer’s block and as an aspiring writer myself I will loudly proclaim that what I met in that person’s brain felt a LOT like what I struggle with.
The vast majority of the people around you are struggling with something and helping them with their various problems can often lead to help to your benefit, but as you enter more minds you uncover more secrets about the town you live in and ultimately your original quest for looking to the future gets entangled with you dealing with the drama of the past and the exceptionally confusing present.
There are a few minor problems, however. Nothing game-breaking, but there are moments where you have run a good deal to get an item and have it run back. Early in the game, you have to run across town to pick up something for someone and then run it back and in the process, you run back and forth through about eight different screens of just holding right and running. The game is gorgeous so it does give you a second chance to notice all the details but…I can also stop and look at them if I wanted to so being forced to run all through town just becomes a slog.
As you get farther in the game though there’s a lot more to do so you’ll encounter a lot more people between points A and B making it more interesting but…boy howdy are my character’s legs gonna be ripped after this adventure.
But it’s such a minor complaint, to have to spend more time running through a gorgeously hand-drawn world. Especially when you’re engaged in a compelling story. I spent more of my running time thinking about what was going to happen when I get somewhere which reminded me of the internal thought process I had at that age spending my entire time going somewhere playing out situations in my head.
If you’re looking for a narrative game with a lot of cool supernatural twists, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better one this year. Also…you can pet the cats. Win.
A Space for the Unbound (Nintendo Switch) score: 8.5/10
A Space for the Unbound starts 2023 off right with one of the better narrative romps I’ve had in a long time. A slice-of-life narrative tale set in 90’s Indonesia and filled with supernatural twists finds a way to be compelling to all walks of life thanks to a well-crafted story with a lot of heart. Excellent world design and music help seal the deal. The game is moderately slowed down due to extensive foot travel and some strange point and click mechanics but the rest of the game is so interesting that you learn to roll with it.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.