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Sebastion Mauldin

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Worldless Review

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I saw the trailer for Worldless a while back and it stood out to me simply because it looked different. At first glance, the trailer felt like it was a mixture of Hallow Knight, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Journey, all games that I deeply vibe with. So when I saw that Noname Studios were releasing the game I knew I had to check it out. I had to find out if it is a great experience like the titles I mentioned above. How is Worldless, how does it play, and is the a gem that should be in your video game backlog? 

Let’s dive into it.

Worldless Review - Image 1
Worldless Review – Image 1

Narrative:

In Worldless, you play as a blue light being who is looked into a continuous battle between the red and the blue factions. You are struck out of the sky by an event and thus start your Metroidvania journey to continue to take the fight to the red enemies. If you are a fan of abstract stories or prefer gameplay over narrative then you’ll feel right at home playing Worldless.

Worldless Review - Image 2
Worldless Review – Image 2

Gameplay:

Worldless is a Metroidvania Platformer with turn-based combat. Typical of most Metroidvanias, you get new abilities as you progress that allow you to backtrack and find ways to progress. Different colors in the environment mark different ways that you can traverse. For example, there are areas that you can see saw to, boost jump, and dash to. The platforming is tight and feels precise reminding me of Ori and the Blind Forrest and Mangavania. 

Worldless delivered a turn-based battle system that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in games. The attacks are simple, you can strike with your weapon or you can throw range attacks at your enemies. You can attack as many times as the time meter allows. 

Then it’s your opponent’s turn. Instead of just sitting there and taking the attacks you can shield physical attacks or range attacks in real time. The opponents will flash a light horizontally when they are going to hit you with a physical attack and there is a flash of light vertically when it’s going to do a range attack. If you choose the right shield and time it right you won’t take any damage. 

The turn-based combat is a mixed bag. Some might find its QTE-like timing system to be tedious while others will find it to be rewarding in a challenging manner. Regardless of where you fall, there is no denying that it feels innovative and fresh. Even as I was struggling with some of the combat elements I found myself entertained by a combat system unlike anything that I hadn’t played before. While its enjoyable, it’s a shame that it feels like the combat is just scratching the surface of what it could have been.

Worldless Review - Image 3
Worldless Review – Image 3

Additional Pros:

The opening scenes of Worldless depict a battle in the stars between two entities. The fight is mesmerizing to watch and acts like the perfect entree to the game’s best aspect. Worldless art style is simply gorgeous. The art style is minimalistic showcasing the environment in simple colors instead of going crazy with details. The vibrant colors shape the world with each level having a color-themed hue in the background and vibrant lines that make up the environment. This might be one of the most minimalistic yet stunning games that I’ve ever played. 

Worldless also features a divine soundtrack that contributes to the feeling of mystery of exploration that the game is going for. The piano medley fused with the sound effects of your character’s movement adds to the theme that everything is connected and has a purpose. 

The platforming puzzles that you encounter are well thought out. You’ll come across hazards, waterfalls that will kill you if you don’t traverse through them in the right way, and large pools of water that you have to get around without touching. The tricky puzzles present a satisfying challenge that increases as you gain new powers. The puzzles add some spice to the already impressive level design.

Worldless Review - Image 4
Worldless Review – Image 4

Cons/Flaws:

One of the biggest grips I have about the game is its map system. You are given a map that is slick and fits the aesthetic, but it’s difficult to read and understand where you need to go next. The Map appears out of the side of your stick figure-like head and shows where you are at. Yet is is hard to determine where to go next and what to do.

On top of the map system, the game doesn’t do a great job of telling you what your objectives are. You can argue that there’s freedom to the exploration, yet I found it to be a frustrating element that killed some of the game’s momentum. Another aspect that felt a bit off is the transition from platforming to the game’s turn-based combat. In platforming, you generate all this momentum just to have it come crashing to a halt when you encounter a section that has an enemy for you to face.

While I like the minimalist method with the artsyle I didn’t care for the abstract way that the narrative is presented. There is little exposition that tells you why you are in the situation. I would have liked some more details about the protagonist and the lore as a whole.

Worldless Review - Image 5
Worldless Review – Image 5

Overall/Should you Play Worldless:

I’ll admit that Worldless has flaws. I didn’t enjoy the map system, the Narrative is too abstract for my taste, and the combat left me feeling mixed on it. That said this is one the most unique experiences I’ve had this year in gaming, especially playing this on the Steam Deck. While this is a gorgeous experience on the TV, this game feels like a good handheld experience. 

Worldless is unlike anything that I’ve played in the Metroidvania genre. Its combat and visuals are distinct and unique. The platforming and puzzles are enjoyable yet challenging. If you are a fan of Metroidvanias and are looking for something unique and fresh then you should check out Worldless.

Where Should Worldless fit in your video game backlog:

Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.

Worldless – If you are a fan of Metroidvanias like Ori and the Will of the Wisp, Mangavania, and Hollow Knight then you would probably like Worldless. These are the perfect chill and relax games that also make great pallet cleanser games. You can pick up Worldless while you watching a show or at the end of the night when you are winding down. It’s also great for when you need a break from the primary narrative game that you are playing.

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Reviewed on PC/Steam Deck

Disclaimer: Review code provided by PR/publisher.

Sebastion Mauldin

Worldless Review

TYPE OF GAME

Single Player, Metroidvania, Role-playing video game, Strategy video game, RPG

LIKED

Loved the Art style, The Platforming, The Puzzles

DISLIKED

The Narrative, Mixed on Combat System

DEVELOPER

Noname Studios

PLATFORMS

PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series

RELEASE DATE

Nov 20, 2023

Overall Rating:

7/10