Boundless is an open world MMO that you will swear is the love child of Minecraft and No Man’s Sky. It is developed and published on PS4 by Wonderstruck, with the PC version being published by Square Enix. We would first see it under its original title “Oort Online” in 2014 on Steam. Since then, it has had its numerous updates and its name changed; and now, Boundless has not only officially launched on Steam but also as a console exclusive on the PlayStation 4.
The game starts with you making your character. I found that, despite the number of options to customize your creature, they were all very generic looking. As such, most of the other players’ characters will end up looking pretty close to yours. After that process, your game will start with you on ‘The Sanctum’. Here, you will get the basics of movement and the story. Fairly soon after that, you’re put on your first planet. From there, you will go through a very lacklustre tutorial on how to play the game. This is easily the slowest part of the game; it took me about 3 hours until I felt like I had the basics down.
Much like Minecraft, the point of Boundless is to gather resources from your surrounding environments in order to establish your home whilst you fend off against the threats of the world you are in. Resources are gathered by mining stone and ores from rocky regions, cutting down various trees and other plant life, and of course by digging. You’ll take all of your resources to a crafting table to which you can build an impressive amount of different things. With time, resources and imagination, you can build yourself a rather neat home.
What makes Boundless a different experience from other sandbox style games is the ability to go through portals to other unique planets. These planets are all procedurally-generated, so you never know what you’re gonna get. Plus, each planet has its own unique resources, which makes travelling to them even more exciting and fun. What may be easy to find on one planet could be very rare on another!
The portal travel is personally one of my favourite mechanics of the game. Fans of Portal will look upon this feature fondly as well. When you enter one of these portals, the travel is instantaneous. In fact, when looking at through one, you can see everything happening on the other side; an impressive feat for an MMO, considering there is no loading time.
Speaking of which, people may be asking themselves about the MMO portion of the game. You can actively see other players roaming around the cities and open terrain with you. Don’t worry – as of now, the game is PVE only, so there is no concern with players attacking you and stealing all of your gear that you worked hard to construct. You also do not have to worry about players going to the structures that you built and levelling them. In Boundless, you essentially buy plots of land, and anything you put into it cannot be altered in any way. That being said, those plots of lands are safe because of your player-generated beacon. These beacons have a time limit attached to them – just over eight weeks. Beacons require fuel and if they run out, your valuables are in danger. Players can come by and add fuel to an empty beacon, claiming it for themselves and acquiring all items in the vicinity in the process.
You also do not need to fear death as you would in most MMOs. Your character keeps all their equipment and inventory upon their demise but they suffer a 50% reduction in XP received for a certain amount of XP earnt. So feel free to travel into the treacherous territories or fight that vicious Bear-a-dactyl. (PUT THEM IN THE GAME Wonderstruck!!)
Unlike most sandbox games, Boundless really puts more emphasis on the RPG aspect of the game. As you level up, you’ll be given skill points which can be used to upgrade attributes such as health, strength, luck, agility, and so on. When you have reached higher levels, you will be able to purchase “Epic” attributes.
Boundless is an interesting game, as it’s definitely not afraid to wear influence on its sleeves. It has its faults, all games do! Unfortunately, the very slow start to the game will push many gamers away. However, if you make it over that hump, the only thing that will slow you down is your imagination as there is SO MUCH you can do in the game.