Bound is undeniably beautiful, but a chasm between the player and the characters makes it difficult to empathize with them — unless you're willing and able to bridge the gap yourself.
Movement here isn't just treated as a necessity of the gameplay, but as an expression of joy and healing.
A powerful, poignant story that utilizes a brilliantly crafted world and movement mechanic to help get its symbolism across. Its short length and lack of gameplay depth hold the experience as a whole back, however.
A gorgeous platformer with an exceptionally unique protagonist and powerful narrative, Bound offers up all the elements of a compelling title that fits in with the growing list of games reaching for high art. It confusion about whether to fully commit to this is sadly to its own detriment though, sullying the underlying message and begging the question of what could’ve been.
Bound excels in presenting an engaging universe and telling a deep and imaginative story, but where it has the imagination to make the player think and awe at what they’re seeing, it simply doesn’t have as much to tell when it comes to the core gameplay. That being said, it wouldn’t be fair to call Bound a bad game, because it’s simply a flawed one when it comes to gameplay. The lack of engaging gameplay really affected my experience to a certain point, but for what it’s worth Bound’s storytelling managed to salvage what else there was and give me an immersive narrative experience.
As the icon on the Playstation Store proudly proclaims, Bound is Playstation VR-compatible -– I’m not lucky enough to have a PSVR kit to test this out (it’s not released yet!), but it will definitely be worth a look when the headsets start arriving later this year. This is the kind of game that will work best in a virtual reality framework – bright, colourful and removed from any sense of realism. Playing in 2D is by no means a disadvantage, and I encourage anyone with a preference for ‘artsy’ games to give this a shot. It’s not without its issues, but Bound presents traditional platforming mechanics with an artistic flair that really sets it apart.
Wonky camera controls and sub-par platforming aren't enough to take away from the fact that Bound is absolutely art in game form. Almost everything about the game is beautiful and unique, and if you find yourself enjoying games where gameplay takes a back seat to aesthetic, then you might want to think about picking up Bound.
Bound is an ugly game, but it’s the most powerful, most enchanting kind of ugly. It dares to reject videogames’ obsession with “looking good” and instead focuses on using visual design to complement the core themes and emotional hook of the game. It’s an ugly game because, by taking those ugly fragments and piecing them together, we might just be able to find something beautiful.
Leaps gracefully but slightly fumbles the landing
Bound's impeccable, surreal visuals are let down by its lacklustre platforming and a narrative that can't quite deliver the necessary emotion
Bound’s two left feet get in the way of its stunning ballet
Like the game, this review is short and to the point - if you're wanting for a singular, beautiful experience, that may be a little thin but is no less memorable, Bound is a game for you.
Despite all its flaws, Bound is undoubtedly a celebration of the female form, both physically and spiritually. And, for that, it could be said to be a game better viewed as one to experience rather than to play, and the fact that it tries to encompass so many deep psychological metaphors in the videogame format is an ambition worth praising.
The beauty in Bound is even more prevalent in its visuals – it is digital artwork at its finest. It is honestly some of the most unique and beautiful artwork I have ever seen in a video game
Bound through, around who? Float and flow, don't gloat and blow. Prance, no... dance! Go! Bound, a review around you.
[Bound is] for the people that want something thoughtful, meaningful, and intelligent. For that audience, this game is about as good as they come. As a member of that audience myself, it’s right up there with my favourite games of the year.
Do you usually enjoy games that focus more on the artistic and symbolic side of video games, such as Journey and Abzu? Because this is the type of games who’d definitely enjoy this game. Otherwise you might see it as a boring and short (2 hours) game.
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When it comes story-driven experiences such as this, gameplay is often a secondary concern. Puzzles and mechanics are often uncomplicated, going so far as to become simply linear interactive experiences colloquially known as “walking simulators.” Bound’s approach is a beautiful and fluid one, as all of the movement and combat — if it can be called that — are carried out through dance. You’ll forgive me if I lack the collective dance terminology to correctly ascribe to the movements, but the characters leaps, twirls and slides through with a casual grace, and mostly with a feathery weight. It’s gorgeous, and the transitions are flawless, though sometimes slow.
The stylized look is stunning and interesting visually. Even with the issues of the levels and controls, Bound uses the unique movements to make it more compelling and engaging. The story is emotional and deep. The lack of narration used to tell the story makes it even better.
It’s a visual and musical spectacle that really shouldn’t be missed if you’re a fan of art.