In a summer that has allowed indie games and smaller titles to shine and show what they are capable of, Sony has added one more title to that list before the fall rush of major AAA titles begins. Bound, developed by Plastic, has taken the spotlight and used it to tell an emotional, heart wrenching story and manages to do so in quite a short amount of time. This is a game that will hypnotize you and definitely leave an impact on some long after it’s over.
Bound’s strength is first and foremost in its story. In the game, you take on the role of a young princess who needs to navigate her world using the art of interpretive dance and elegant, flowing movement and ultimately save her world. The universe in which the princess resides is surreal and dreamlike, which fits with the narrative because we are exploring the mind, feelings and memories of a young woman and her past. As you explore, you are able to piece together her thoughts and relive her experiences through this princess and help her overcome some of her more distressing memories. This story is dripping in metaphor, but is not inaccessible to those not caring to analyze and break it down; it seeks to paint a clear enough picture with metaphor and surrealism that will help keep the player immersed in the mood and art rather than leave them lost and bored. There are both beautiful, slow, thoughtful moments along with hectic platforming depending on the story unfolding to help keep you
on your toes, so to speak.
Bound’s artistic style might take a little time to get used to, but once I let myself become immersed in the paper style, beautiful dance movements and bright colors, I was hypnotized. The dancing was some of the most beautiful animation I have seen in a game and really had me impressed with the small development team. I al
so very much enjoyed the puzzle piece style of putting together the young woman’s memories and how the pieces of the picture would gather and put itself together based on where you moved in the scene.
The only weak point for Bound is in its gameplay. This is not a game for those looking for competitive play, heavy action or breakneck speed. This is a slow, emotional, artistic trip that focuses on the style and story rather than the gameplay. While this is not a bad thing, the platforming does suffer because of this.
I unfortunately encountered some broken platforms that would cause me to fall through them while jumping, even though it was clear I had landed on them, which would set me back a little, It was not enough to make me give up or get angry, but worth noting. I also found the moments you had to dance to hold back enemies to be slightly unfulfilling as you simply could just press whatever dance button you like with no reasoning or direction and it would all work the same in getting past whatever obstacle was in your way, but some might see that as a way to just express yourself and be more free in what you can do with this dream like world; i personally still enjoyed dancing in as many different ways as I could and dancing in as many different ways I was able to.
While Bound is not perfect, I still highly recommend it. For what few flaws cause it to stumble, it more than gracefully makes up for in its art and story. It’s short, sweet and worth the evening it will take to complete. Let the princess and her adventures sweep you off your feet.