Bound Review – Remain Seated and Hold onto the Bar

Bound Review

Bound is a beautiful title that would no doubt be considered a form of art for many who experience it. Developed by Plastic Studios in collaboration with Sony Santa Monica, Bound is described as a 3D platformer featuring a ballerina in the starring role. Everything in the game is completed through dance, and it is with the power of dance that you will overcome challenges and complete puzzles. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Bound is aesthetically pleasing, the gameplay itself does not measure up to its appearance.

On the surface, the story of Bound features the ballerina in various situations with no real motivation or compelling overarching story. However, much like some forms of dance itself, the story is very much open to interpretation and features an overarching narrative that is intriguing and compelling. Without going in-depth with the story of Bound, it is safe to say that despite a lukewarm start, players should not let the story deter them from making their way through the game.

The single player experience of the game was enjoyable. Much like other games similar in genre and description, Bound can be beaten in a couple sessions. Unfortunately, some parts of the game were tedious with oversimplified challenges and platforming, while the visuals were magnificent and grand. It is perhaps this dichotomy that really magnifies the good and bad parts of the game. Furthermore, the game is largely an on-rails platformer as the gameplay is simple and mostly has a “go from point A to point B” style of play.


“Although the game has incredible visuals and an intriguing story, the bland gameplay detracts from the overall experience.”

At many points in time, Bound felt more like a movie rather than a video game. While there are many video games that people say play like a movie, this is not the positive phenomenon which I am referring to. Bound does not have a solid gameplay experience to go along with its narrative. Although the game has incredible visuals and an intriguing story, the bland gameplay detracts from the overall experience.

Perhaps the saving grace of the gameplay portion of Bound is the robust and easy-to-use Photo Mode. The photo mode is a snappy, feature-filled mode that produces stunning images given the art direction of the game. Although Photo Modes are not a necessity in video games, it is always a welcome addition. And in the case of Bound, it is more than simply an addition, but feels more like an integral part of the game and it simply would not be the same without it.

Bound Top Screen

As mentioned before, the graphics, visuals, and art direction of Bound are what make it what it is. The game features a vast array of beautiful color combinations in addition to the overall visual presentation of the game. The game also runs fluidly, and certain portions of the game are simply magnificent. There are, however, parts of the game that feature a dull palette, but that only contrasts with the bright parts of the game, highlighting their beauty. Lastly, though the game does not suffer from any frame rate drops, there are some weird clipping issues with the camera that seem more like a developer choice rather than a glitch. Despite it being a conscious choice, it feels out of place and takes away from the overall atmosphere at times.


“If the gameplay had been more challenging, fluid, and present in the game, Bound could have been a title discussed for years.”

Lastly, the music in the game was phenomenal, especially in certain parts of the game. At times, however, the music would abruptly end, ruining the atmosphere. Despite this, the music in the game is another facet of what makes the environment of the game spectacular. The sound effects of the game also contribute to its overall beauty. The sound effects can be ugly, but at the same time extremely fitting and beautiful in the world of Bound.

All in all, Bound is a work of art, carefully crafted to give players a memorable experience. If the gameplay had been more challenging, fluid, and present in the game, Bound could have been a title discussed for years. Despite this, Bound is a powerful narrative with a robust camera mode, impressive visuals, and haunting sound. Although I personally had higher expectations, I was not disappointed with what I saw.

*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • Excellent audio and visuals
  • Deep, streamlined camera mode
  • Intriguing plot line

The Bad

  • Oversimplified “puzzles”
  • Barebones gameplay