Overall - 65%
A Space for the Unbound - Prologue has some gorgeous sprite work and an interesting story, but the choppy framerate and somewhat pandering gameplay make the final product a mixed bag. Time will tell if the final release irons out these kinks.
Mojiken Studio and Toge Productions whisk players away to rural Indonesia in the late 90s with their slice-of-life title A Space for the Unbound – Prologue. A taste of things to come, does this introduction set the stage for something great?
A Space for the Unbound – Prologue Review
The tale begins with a story within a story; a tale of a South Star Princess and her cat. With her last wish to give her last miracle to her cat, she brings her light into a flower. Written by Nirmala, this tale is one that is passionate to her, but lacks an all-important ending.
That’s where you, the co-writer, come in. Armed with the Magic Red Book, you can perform a space dive deep into people’s hearts and get rid of turmoil. This alternate reality is not always the most pleasant, but the actions done in this realm do make a lasting impression out in the real world. Those who have been weaned on the Leonardo DiCaprio classic Inception will know this premise all too well.
As players explore this alternate reality, they’ll perform rudimentary puzzles as they change things around. While the puzzles themselves are borderline pandering – players should know by now that the only key for miles goes in the solitary keyhole – it is the storytelling that sells this game. The control scheme, mapped to the arrow keys and spacebar, works well without overcomplicating things, and the inventory system makes perfect sense.
Outside of these deep dives is a lush landscape set in late 90s Indonesia. The sprite work in this title is at the top of its class – cats, buildings, citizens, and bodies of water sparkle with life, and the lighter colors in the real world really make things pop. It’s just unfortunate that the rest of the presentation does not follow suit – screen tearing is a common occurrence, and the framerate when navigating its town dips down a considerable amount. These aren’t game-breaking, but they do take you out of the experience.
As the prologue for the upcoming full game, what is present in A Space for the Unbound – Prologue is more of a tutorial than anything else. A good chunk of this release has players seeking out a “magic wand,” which requires a few fetch quests along the way. Gameplay isn’t overly challenging, but its world is one worth being lost in.
It’s just a shame that it’s over before it even begins. Though the climax of the tale grabs your attention, there are far too many questions at the end of its 30 minute runtime. Some may like this teaser, while others will come out feeling perplexed.
A Space for the Unbound – Prologue has some gorgeous sprite work and an interesting story, but the choppy framerate and somewhat pandering gameplay make the final product a mixed bag. Time will tell if the final release irons out these kinks.
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