March 24, 2017

Bye-Bye BoxBoy - Review

Let me start out by stating that I have not played any of the other BoxBoy games, as a game it never appealed to me, having played the final entry, at least for now, I know one thing, I will be going back to play them.

BoxBoy is a box with legs and he has the power to create other boxes, which can use to reach higher ledges, avoid dangers and even collect crowns, but while that is what the gameplay offers, its far more indepth than that, as well as charming to no end. While there are no spoken words through the game, or text boxes, the game still manages to tell a charming little story and along the way, BoxBoy will meet some Qbaby’s, whom also have their own little story that plays out. There is not really a whole lot that can be said about the story though, due to the interpretive nature of it, what you see and what I see might be two different things.

What matters though is gameplay and here it’s quite simple, but still effective, in fact the simplicity is another level of the games charm. The earlier stages require you to simply craft platforms to reach the goal, but by midway through the first world, you need to press switches and by the end, you will use special boxes that contain rockets, to not only hit switches high up in the air, but you will use them to fly around the level yourself. Once you complete the first world, you will find yourself facing harder and harder puzzles, while not insanely hard, each individual level contains slight variations on a singular type of puzzle, the challenge does get up there. There are some worlds where you need to escort a Qbaby through and while they can jump, just the same as you, they have no other powers, so to speak, until they are needed and then they help out greatly.

In each stage, within each world, you will have a crown, though sometimes two, to collect, doing so will net you a perfect score and grant you more medals, which is the games in game currency, but there is a catch. Every level has a number of boxes you can use, before the crown vanishes, so if it states 18 and you use 19, the crown is gone and while you can always replay the level later to try and get it, there is something about getting it on the first playthrough that is just so rewarding. Once you have collected enough medals, you can head to the shop to unlock new costumes for BoxBoy to wear, new music to listen to when you want and even comics to read and while each of those can feel simple, the game also lets you purchase new challenge levels, where the rules are changed.

Those levels will pack more of a challenge that you might expect and given how strange some of them can be at the very beginning, its crazy to think how tough the bonus levels can be. Some players may find that the base game offers enough of a challenge though, as you progress through the worlds, you will gain access to some powers, that while you only use them for a short while, are pretty fun. The game also supports amiibo, if you have been lucky enough to score a BoxBoy amiibo, scanning him in will unlock three new artstyles for the game, the first adds a little more colour, the final one removes all colour, leaving it just black and white, but for my money, it’s the second of the three, GameBoy. The entire game gets the old grey/green look from the original GameBoy and while you might think it looks strange, for someone who grew up playing games in that colour scheme, it feels right. In fact the costumes and the colour swaps are about the only change from the basic look of the game.

The games entire visual appeal is quite basic and the game is all the better for it, given the limited visual impact, it provided me with a sense that while less is more, almost nothing is best. The games look was set back with the first game, but slight touches here and there show the evolution of the series, but none of that compares to just how much emotion can be seen on the face of a cube. From an audio point of view, the game is just as basic, but again you can’t mistake basic for bare, the audio never pushes its way to the front, from the audio queues when you create boxes to the music that plays in the overworld, it all just sits back and lets you enjoy it, if you notice it.

ByeBye BoxBoy is a game that I never thought I would enjoy, after getting burnt out on the Pushmo/Pullblox series, another box based puzzle game was nothing that drew my attention. While I did find the repetition a little on the nose, after pushing through each simply crafted, yet deviously twisted puzzle, I find myself wanting more.

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