Bound is a difficult game to describe if you’ve never seen any game play. The nearest explanation I have is that if you combine ballet, platform gaming and modern art you’d come close to imagining it. I downloaded this game months ago as a ps plus ‘freebie’ and never actually put it on at the time, now all I can think is why the heck didn’t I play this earlier. Its worth noting I’m only reviewing/playing this in vr so visuals will be that not more encapsulating.
At its heart it’s a simple platformer with an intriguing story but for me it’s been a visual experience that a lot of virtual reality games fail to capture. The game opens with a human couple driving up to a beach, a pregnant lady gets out and walks towards a beach. You’re then thrown into this other world where an abstract alien looking queen (?) is talking to the character you play as, a princess who has turquoise skin and a beetley looking face/mask.
With her you explore an incredible constantly shifting world with the help of ballet. You quickly encounter a monster who is too powerful, you must seek help to defeat him.. The game then cuts back to the woman on the beach who has a story book, which has the Princess drawn in it. So assumedly you’re playing out a story written or illustrated by this lady. You then have a choice of which page you play so essentially a massive level select. The levels are fun, interesting and a bit mental. The visuals are stunning constantly and you spend a lot of time just looking around to try and take everything in.
There isn’t any combat as such but you have to dance to avoid damage, which is a lot cooler than it sounds. There are lots of projectile damage and dancing, in a pretty ballerina way, creates a force field around you that deflects damage. I just want to talk about the movement, every step and jump you take seems like it’s been taken care over, the movements are all eloquent and fanciful and make just moving around fun. Each step is light and ‘bouncy’, even crossing bridges is fun as they’re all essentially balance beams where you can bring out your inner acrobat.
The graphics are amazing let’s just say that, it’s all cell shaded and everything is always moving. At times you feel like you’re inside the paintings at the tate modern. Jumping from one piece to another. The level design is pretty fucking unique where most things can be explored /climbed on and enjoyed. As I’ve said before it’s hard to explain it without seeing/experiencing it for yourself. Although the graphics aren’t high def detailed in your face masterpiece level they’re what they need to be for the visual experience and definitely pull of a trippy ass world that you want to jump into. Throughout the game you will encounter the big monster, avoiding him usually involves hiding behind objects or working out a way round so he can’t roar you to death.
The end of each level Is also a highlight, each end has a sort of boss you have to dance at, it is made up of one of the bad elements in the level and when you defeat that object can no longer hurt you. After this kind of boss fight you then are brought to a cut scene with a twist, it’s one static 3d environment that you have to bring to life by working the camera around, it’s a black space that only starts to piece together when the camera is panned around it, adding to the artsy visual feel. Theses scenes involve the man who dropped off the pregnant lady earlier, 2 kids and another woman, usually involved in some sort of argument. I think the monster in the art world represents this man (dad?) and there’s perhaps a sinister ending to come. I do not know this and I am piecing the story together as I go – this is another thing I love, not knowing what’s going on and actually experiencing something piece by piece.
Bound is an ambitious arty yet simple platformer which achieves its goal of creating a really different visual story experience. It’s something I’d say every vr user should experience and definitely something I recommend to all of you.
I give bound an 8/10