I suppose it’s very millennial of me to love games that take us back to the 90s, particularly if they channel the aesthetics and gameplay experiences that I used to enjoy on my Super Nintendo, sitting cross-legged on the floor next to the dog as I leapt across platforms and solved mysteries on my small screen.
While Mojiken’s A Space for the Unbound has been something I’ve been looking forward to and I fell in love with the hidden object game When the Past was Around, it was actually the beautiful experience of Banyu Lintar Angin that convinced me to go ahead and check out the demo of this Indonesian indie. Banyu Lintar Angin’s gorgeous artwork, heartfelt relationships, and small cultural details were so magical, and it stood to reason that those aspects would translate well to an adventure game.
A Space for the Unbound has a very classic adventure game feel to it – pick up objects to help you move forward, interact with people, signs, and animals along the way. If you want an extra joyful detail, you can pet every cat you come across, which is absolutely delightful. While it can be played with either controller or keyboard, I actually found the keyboard to be a better option – both are quite smooth, but when a joystick is involved the controls are a little too sensitive, leading to a lot of accidental entering and exiting areas when you’re trying to pass a doorway or path.
Between the gameplay and the pixel art, the game’s atmosphere very much matches its 90s setting, giving the whole experience a very nostalgic feeling. It’s a perfect fit for the storyline, which puts the player in place of Atma – a teenage boy whose girlfriend, Raya, seems to have mysterious supernatural powers.
At first you’ll explore town alongside a young friend who loves to write and draw. She’s excited to put together a new, magical story, but afraid of failing – will people really like the story she has to tell? With the company of a cat and the help of a magical red book, Atma picks up a couple forgotten items and heads back to their camp, hidden inside an abandoned train.
Shortly after, he wakes up to a surprisingly different scene – it’s the middle of the school day, his girlfriend Raya is looking at him expectantly, and it looks like perhaps it was all just a dream. Together, they decide to skip school and go buy some cat food, but when Atma nearly gets hurt, we get our first peek at Raya’s mysterious powers. It’s there that the demo cuts out, leaving us on a cliffhanger.
A Space for the Unbound’s demo is a magical romp through 1990s Indonesia, and blends the magic of exploration with a story that’s fun, nostalgic, and relatable (at least so far – we’ll see what the full release brings as the story evolves). The description promises us a slice-of-life game dealing with anxiety and depression, with a supernatural twist – and I’m definitely ready to see the rest of this story.
Want to experience the demo for yourself? Grab the prologue on Steam to get a sneak peak at this 2022 release!
Order Up! is a weekly column featuring indie-focused reviews, news, or interviews! We like old games just as much as new ones and are always looking for something to check out. Have a game recommendation, a project, or a company you want to talk about? Email me at [email protected] or find me on Twitter @ArcanaChance