Worldless review

by on December 19, 2023
Release Date

November 20, 2023


We are getting to the point in 2023 where it’s getting hard to ask people to squeeze in more video games. It takes something special and unique to really pull my attention away from all the wonderful games I want to play or even replay. Of all types of games, Metroidvania generally has a good chance at that though, especially if it does something interesting with this already amazing genre. Worldless manages just that, by combining the usual selection of traversal upgrades alongside some seriously compelling timing-based combat.

The story of Worldless is less important than the overall tone of the game. Featuring celestial beings made up of two different coloured lights, the game opens with an epic battle of red versus blue. You begin the game as a blue humanoid one of these light-up characters, traveling around various environments and fighting anyone who stands in your way.

A screenshot of Worldless

While this might sound like a story lacking substance, Worldless more than makes up for it with visual style and vibe. Areas are made up of a singular background colour and various silhouettes, which gives the world a beautiful alien feel. Often as you explore you’ll find various plants glow or even sprout from the ground as you move from left to right, and it’s truly a sight to behold.

Exploration is a key part of Worldless (since it’s a Metroidvania and all) and involves all sorts of jumping, air dashing and using the environment to get around. Controlling your light-up character feels incredibly fluid, and each area has different elements you’ll need to navigate – from grapple points, you swing off to rings that send you soaring through the air. There’s always plenty to find in each themed area too, from collectibles that make you stronger to one of the game’s fantastic battles.

Combat in Worldless is sort of turn-based, but during each turn, you have a set amount of time to attack an enemy with your various combos and abilities in real-time. Early on this means either pressing the melee attack button a few times in a row for a combo or doing the same with the magic attack button, but it doesn’t take long for you to unlock charge attacks, special attacks and other weapons to be used in combination with each other to deal a whole lot of damage to anyone who gets in your way.

A screenshot of Worldless

When it’s the enemy’s turn you’ll need to block to stay alive, with magic attacks and physical attacks requiring a different button press to guard against them. Visual cues of horizontal and vertical lines let you know what attack is coming next, and you have a set amount of shield bubbles to block damage before it starts chipping away at your health. Damage can be blocked altogether with a well-timed parry though, which never stops feeling amazing and ensures you’ll stay alive long enough to vanquish any foe that comes your way.

The aim of most fights in Worldless isn’t to kill the enemy however, it’s to absorb the enemy by filling their absorption gauge and then inputting a combination of buttons to make them a part of you. When you do this you’ll gain a point to spend in your combat skill tree, but it’s easier said than done. Different attacks fill up the absorption gauge more than others, and using a variety of attacks is key because just spamming the same combos over and over again will fill the meter slower than experimenting with new attacks.

All this probably sounds pretty complex (and honestly it does feel it in the early hours) but Worldless does a great job of ensuring you never feel punished for doing something wrong. Losing a fight just means being pushed backwards a few steps with the option to try again immediately, and if you beat but don’t absorb an enemy you can fight them as many times as you want until you do (or even come back later when you’ve got a few more tricks up your sleeve). The same can be said about the platforming part of the game, in which there is no fail state at all. If you fall down a pit you’ll just be teleported back up to the edge of it, and the same thing happens if you touch a hazard. While not an easy game, Worldless is determined not to make you feel bad any time you’re struggling, and it’s all the more enjoyable because of it.

A screenshot of Worldless

The main issue I had during my time with Worldless is that there are elements that just aren’t explained very well. Your world map is made up of lines and dots, which only really gives you a vague idea of where you are. Alongside that, different parts of the map teleport you to other sections of the map, and it’s just needlessly confusing when you don’t know where to go. The combat suffers in the same way, with important mechanics like enemy weaknesses never really explained to the player. It’s a shame because once you know what you’re doing Worldless is a fantastic experience, but I can imagine some people bouncing off it in the opening few hours because of this.

Worldless blends the joy of exploring in a Metroidvania with fast-paced timing-based combat, and does so beautifully. The early hours might be a little frustrating thanks to a lack of tutorials and some confusing systems, but this gorgeous game makes up for it with its stunning visuals and friction-free gameplay.


Combat is fantastic and very unique
Getting around feels really fluid
Never punishes you for failing
Has a gorgeous aesthetic


Has a few systems it doesn't explain very well

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Worldless is a beautiful game that blends the joy of exploring a Metroidvania with seriously compelling timing-based combat.