A Space for the Unbound review

A Space for the Unbound is a beautiful indie game, which deals with raw emotion among a small group of teenagers in 90s Indonesia. Sometimes this is hard hitting, sometimes funny and awkward at the same time, A Space for the Unbound will draw on your heart strings, while entertaining you at the same time.

The game opens up with a prologue, which is a tale of two friends helping each other out, although unfortunately for one of them it all ends in tears. After the prologue the game then moves into a more regular narrative adventure following Atma, a teenager at school in a rural town of Indonesia. The town itself is quaint, there are food carts, people wandering the street you can chat to and it’s all pulled together in an attractive pixel art style.

All the regular experiences of teenage life are here, dates, school, parents, it certainly took me back to a time and place in my life which I could relate to. A Space for the Unbound paints a specific picture of Indonesia through the music, food, posters on the wall. If you are connected to that culture in anyway then this is going to be refreshing and no doubt even more powerful when it comes to the nostalgia. The game paints a picture of relatively normal life, but manages to bind elements of the paranormal as well, which is a huge theme of the game blending the reality and mystery and blurring the lines in between. The developer Mojiken does a great job of setting the scene specific to Indonesia, however, it feels like something we can all relate to, which is a fine skill.

A Space for the Unbound can feel a little unbalanced at times with it’s pacing. You go about your daily tasks, and sometimes it feels like nothing really happens, but I recommend sticking with it, because it’s all building up, even though the signals aren’t very clear. You go to school, but the girl you are seeing wants to take off. You have to rescue a cat from going up a tree. These little tasks can feel somewhat directionless, but keep going, the payoff it worth it and then some.

One of the main mechanics in the game is called Spacedive, where Atma can dive into the minds or hearts of people, with the help of a magic book. It’s kind of like the movie Inception, where you manipulate objects in their mind, to essentially ‘change their mind’. We dive into their minds, and rearrange a few objects or solve a simple puzzle, and presto, they have been persuaded. As you progress through the game the puzzles get more complex as you’ve be jumping into minds, minds within minds, different timelines and collecting items to place in minds. There are combat sections in the game too with combat similar to Street Fighter, which at first seems out of place, but turns into a fun time.

We have the spacediving and combat, there’s also an element of collecting too in the game. We are tasked with collecting bottle caps, filling in a story book, and work through many cat-based tasks and mini-puzzles. A Space for the Unbound is subtly funny, plus very touching at the same time leading to an overall package that you’ll likely remember for a long time. The ending is truly something to behold, something that shouldn’t be spoiled, but well worth playing the game for, it’s something fantastical and memorable, and something I won’t forget.

Developer: Mojiken
Publisher: Toge Productions
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PS4, PS5
Release date: 19th January 2023