A Space for the Unbound has been on my radar for a while, and the name may already be familiar to you: the prologue chapter has been available since 2020, but now you’re able to experience the fully formed offering.
Set in a suburban Indonesian town on the cusp of summer, A Space for the Unbound follows two high school sweethearts, Atma and Raya, as they overcome obstacles on their way to the movies. Billed as a ‘heartwarming slice-of-life adventure’, the game lives up to that and beyond, while mixing in some unexpected, mysterious elements like supernatural powers and emotional cliffhangers.
A Space for the Unbound’s story is intriguing, involving magical abilities mixed into the emotional themes. You first meet Atma and a young girl who is trying to clear her writer’s block. She introduces Atma to the ‘Spacedive’ mechanic, this lets him delve into people’s memories and help to fix a problem that’s holding them back. This, in turn, solves an issue in the real world and allows Atma to continue on in his adventure.
The game promises emotional storytelling and moments that make you think, and these are around from the get-go, though I won’t say what they are (no spoilers here!), they definitely pull at your heartstrings when they appear, and compel you to keep playing.
Of course, it isn’t all heartwrenching moments, there’s plenty of other stuff to get on with. Collecting bottle caps is a pastime of Atma’s, and provides a mini-collectathon to work on as you run around the town. You’ll also notice there are tons of cats knocking around. Yes, you can pet the cats. In fact, you’re encouraged to, and name them! If you come up against an obstacle and you haven’t got the information or an item, there’ll be a speech bubble somewhere with the answer.
As for the gameplay, A Space for the Unbound is a 2D, side-scrolling adventure, with point-and-click elements. There’s a small sprinkling of stealth and quick-time combo-matching sections that crop up the further in the game you get. Overall, though, it’s a calm and cute story game focusing on Atma and Raya, and the situations they find themselves in.
In terms of equipment, you essentially have a tool wheel, which you can fill up with any items you pick up along your way. Everything has a use, and each thing you learn is required somewhere. There’s a handy map that shows you where to go in the town, and a quest log including Atma and Raya’s bucket list goals (that are all achievable, by the way). The soundtrack also definitely adds to the laid-back air of A Space for the Unbound – composed by Masdito “Ittou” Bachtiar, it reminds me of Stardew Valley and Ooblets-style game music.
A Space for the Unbound is a collaborative work between Coffee Talk developers Toge Productions and Mojiken Studios, two Indonesian companies, which shines through in the setting of the game. Seeing a representation of a seldom-used culture grants a look into a lifestyle and environment that many may not have experienced. Foods, types of music, and customs all make an appearance, which helps to build the world around Atma and Raya during their adventure.
Though it’s only a few hours long, what a joy they are. Meeting the small cast of characters in Atma’s hometown and discovering all the nooks and crannies where particularly interesting bottle caps might be provided a delightful romp, and one I recommend to anyone looking for a new story with some puzzle elements thrown in.
A Space for the Unbound review
A Space for the Unbound takes us on a wholesome and emotional adventure across an Indonesian town, following a high school couple working around mystical and unforeseen problems.