A bounty hunter and their charge, bound together, must travel through nigh-insurmountable dangers in order to reach Black Tower Prison. But as it turns out, they have more than rope binding them together.
Bound Together, from John Vanderhoef, is an adventure title made in the Bitsy engine. It follows the tale of Corsair, a bounty hunter, and Dill, a common thief, as the two journey through the most dangerous areas of the kingdom to bring the thief to justice — whilst lashed together.
Corsair is a veteran hunter, however Dill gave him a good run-around, meaning they’ve not only got to pass through a deadly forest, but through an evil swamp and over a towering mountain which serves as home to a greedy wyvern. Evasion is definitely the aim of the game and a few puzzles serve as clever ways (especially considering the Bitsy engine’s toolset) to avoid danger.
Despite all the danger, what makes Bound Together stand out from any old adventure is actually the dialogue. Developer John Vanderhoef does an amazing job of turning the thirty-six little white pixels which indicate the location of the two characters into relatable humans through their chatter and remarks. It turns out that the two of them have a lot more in common than they initially think, with their relation to the region’s lord — and how that ties to their family — a major trend.
Over the years I’ve played through a lot of very short, specific Bitsy titles which have almost served as environments to explore, rather than narratives. These definitely have their merits (and there are plenty to which I return on occasion), however, to have a densely packed, fifteen-minute adventure delivered with the same toolset is very impressive.
As with all adventures, Corsair and Dill’s time bound together has to come to an end. As you might have imagined, it comes with a choice.