What a feeling
This weekend marked my first time going through Bound, a surreal dancing-centric platformer from Plastic and Sony, and what a trip it was. I had only ever seen screenshots and a couple of early trailers, so it was surprising to find out what this game is actually like and how wonderful it looks in VR.
Bound is much more experimental than I had expected, both in terms of the story presentation (there’s an interesting “real-world” element about a woman’s troubled childhood) and its mechanics.
This is a nonviolent game in which you can and will dance — rather beautifully, I might add! — to ward off geometric dangers. There’s also platforming, to be sure, but Bound is more about navigating twisting landscapes and taking in your shape-shifting surroundings than nailing tricky jumping sequences (though there are a few of those). It reminded me of an interactive art exhibit in that way.
Thanks to a post-release patch, Bound supports PlayStation VR. I played through the whole thing in one go with a headset on, and then went back to test out a level on my TV for comparison.
Aside from gripes with the camera needing to be babysat (it snaps to different angles in VR instead of giving you standard 360-degree control), you’d never know this was an after-the-fact addition.
It seems as if Bound was always destined for virtual reality — that’s how good the execution is. I haven’t seen it come up much in casual conversation among PSVR owners, but those who have tried it are singing its praises. There’s something about the art and color direction, the particle effects, and the intricate character choreography that translates so well here. The world feels more dynamic, more engrossing. And you wouldn’t know it from images or footage, but it’s also one of the best-looking PlayStation VR games out there (that’s “best,” not “most realistic”). Pretty damn good for a free update.
As for the quality of the game itself, I fall in line with what Chris went over in his review, which is to say it’s all right. Bound stumbles with its platforming and doesn’t quite do enough to stay engaging beyond the wild aesthetic and slowly-unfolding story, but the atmosphere largely makes up for it.
[This impressions piece is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]