Mojiken Studio’s A Space For The Unbound looks set to be one of this year’s runaway indie hits, and it’s only the start of the year. It’s out for most major systems, and we checked out the PlayStation 4 version.
The game actually came out a few weeks ago already, but initially escaped our attention as yet another ‘slice of life’ type of game. But seeing the positive reception pour in on Steam made us curious to see if perhaps this one was a bit more special than we had anticipated, and it didn’t take long to figure out that it was. With beautiful pixel art visuals and a setting you don’t see every day in gaming (1990s Indonesia) it’s intriguing from the start, but it’s the writing that really seals the deal.
Playing as a high school student called Atma, you spend a lot of time with your girlfriend in the town of Loka. Early on, she reveals that she actually has supernatural powers, and combined with a strange notebook this sets you off on a novel quest that involves the ability to jump into people’s inner thoughts in order to help them with their anxiety issues.
There’s a lot of range in these issues, from people who can’t seem to remember cherished memories to indecisiveness and from a lack of willpower to abuse – and everything in between. These stories are all touching by themselves, but there’s also an overarching narrative that glues it all together. It’s part classical adventure game (including finding items to use in order to progress), part Life is Strange (with supernatural powers and fascinating characters), and definitely very unique.
The game’s writing is mostly excellent (with a few small translation woes), and the writers have made sure that there’s enough lighthearted dialogue here to ensure that things don’t get depressing in spite of some of the content matter. Some of the writing is also geared towards making sure you don’t go hunting for obscure objects in order to progress in the story – you’ll regularly be given hints about what to do next. That’s good, because A Space For The Unbound is a lengthy adventure game that clocks in at about ten hours.
What also makes progressing through the story a joy is that your mental dives into the problems of others are often designed to involve a good variety of gameplay mechanics and puzzles – with both minigames and logic puzzles rather than just the usual adventure game mechanics. There’s always something new around the next corner, which makes sure the game never starts to drag.
A touching and very well made indie adventure that fans of adventure games shouldn’t miss – we’re happy this got a multi-platform release and can see this making a few ‘best of 2023’ lists at the end of the year.