Worldless Review

Worldless Header artwork

The beginning of the Universe was about as violent as it gets. An unimaginably large explosion started the engine that would go on to spawn millions of galaxies, stars, planets, and life. We can never know exactly what happened, but Worldless has its own ideas, taking the form of a minimalist platformer with real-time turn-based combat.

Worldless starts with a young universe split between blue and orange sides. Elements from the orange side start drifting into the blue side, and soon each of these elements clash, taking on forms and igniting the first war of the universe. You play as one of these young blue forms, armed with sword and shield and venturing through various zones that each have an array of puzzles and challenges to take on. You can’t complete an area in one go as there are parts that are off-limits until you have the correct powers, with your repertoire increasing as you progress.

The style of Worldless is minimalist. The main character is primarily depicted as just six dots – one for the head, one for the torso, two for the hands, and two for the feet – and is initially armed with a sword and shield for combat. The level designs are similarly minimalist as well but don’t let that fool you. The platforming can be challenging with some areas requiring precise timing to get across, such as using your character’s dash ability, once they get it.

Worldless platforming screenshot

The levels have their own distinct feel with each one having its own colour to give them a particular look, followed by different designs in the environments and background. These showcase some really nice ideas, such as one with a wintery feel to it, while another is like an alien forest where it rains upward.

The areas also have distinct points across the minimalist mini-map, each of which marks either a fallen creature that can be absorbed or a fight. The fights in Worldless are a mixture of real time and turn-based combat as you and your opponent alternate to dish out damage. During your combat phase you will attack in real time using various attacks, while during the enemy phase you will need to defend against attacks matching the correct shield input with the type of incoming attack, with some precise inputs and timing needed to parry.

Worldless combat screenshot

Some attacks are more powerful and cannot be blocked or parried until you have unlocked the right skills. To unlock skills requires not just defeating them but absorbing them, which is possible once you’ve met a certain threshold and then entering a button sequence quickly enough. A neat twist here is that you can input this sequence earlier and guess some missing inputs, but it’s only once you’ve met the threshold that you’ll have the full set of button presses.

Worldless is a decently fun action platformer that offers a decent challenge, but it could be tightened up in a few areas. The mini-map fits the minimalist style, but it is not the most helpful for navigating the actual stages, which have multitudes of pathways to explore. The button inputs when absorbing enemies have a slight delay to them too, which doesn’t make parrying impossible, but does mean it’s not always clear on how your inputs are registering.

Summary
Worldless is a fun and challenging action platformer that has a great minimalist style, and a battle system that is fun to master. However, there are bits that need tightening up to make it truly great.
Good
  • Great minimalist art style
  • The music is well composed
  • The levels are well put together
Bad
  • Mini-map is a bit too minimal
  • Apparent button input delay
7
Written by
From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.