In 2015, HAL Laboratory and Nintendo released BoxBoy! for the Nintendo 3DS. The puzzle-platformer was based on a simple premise of a box being able to duplicate other boxes to navigate through dangerous levels filled with lasers, cliffs, and saws. This brain buster received positive reviews from most critics but will it receive one from me? In this game, it’s okay to be square so let’s start this BoxBoy! review.
During my Boxboy! review I wasn’t able to come up with a clear plot. Use your imagination when cyphering what the small cut scenes mean in BoxBoy! as there is no dialogue. The story is ambiguous but here’s my interpretation of what is presented. As BoxBoy progresses through the story a giant box in the sky presumably BoxGod grants him a BoxGirl as she falls from the heavens. Perhaps these levels are trials placed before him for BoxGod to determine whether he is worthy of granting his prayers. BoxBoy must have been lonely in his world to wish for a BoxGirl.
As BoxBoy continues to progress through trials, BoxGirl waits outside in the hall. After some time, BoxGod grants BoxBoy more power to overcome the obstacles that are presented. After a few more trials, BoxBoy wishes for a best friend. BoxGod grants him his wish by giving him RectangleBoy. With a best friend and girlfriend, BoxBoy’s life is feeling complete.
After completing more trials, BoxBoy and his friends make their way deeper into the hall where they discover a mysterious object that flashes a vision before them. The object shows them BoxWorld being protected by BoxGod. Suddenly, a giant asteroid collides into BoxWorld, not even BoxGod can protect the planet from the massive destruction that surely would destroy the planet.
Completing more trials reveals another mysterious artifact. It’s missing a section of it in the shape of a rectangle. RectangleBoy sacrifices himself so the article will power on. The article drills into the ground revealing more trials for BoxBoy to complete. After more trials, BoxBoy and BoxGirl discover another artifact, with strange powers floating around it. BoxGirl is drawn to it and refuses to leave much to the dismay of BoxBoy who is left to complete the final trial by himself.
Finishing the last trial, BoxBoy is granted more power. He returns to BoxGirl and the final artifact as the ground begins to disintegrate due to the massive asteroid that is closing in on the planet. BoxBoy uses all of his power to plug up the ground as BoxGirl watches helplessly. Exhausted from the power surge, BoxBoy finds a grave to die in. Heartbroken, BoxGirl jumps into the grave and dies next to BoxBoy. Their deaths complete the ground and activate the artifact that turns out to be a giant weapon of defense. The artifact wards off the incoming asteroid and sends it back into space. With the asteroid gone, the planet begins to come alive, turning from pitch black to a growing landscape of green.
Of course, all this is unofficial, it’s just my take of the events in BoxBoy! but it’s fun to speculate.
BoxBoy! is very cleverly designed in the advancement of its levels. There is nothing to the graphics, just black and white objects on the screen. BoxBoy! slowly wades you into the puzzle pool and before you know it you’re in the deep end. Introducing small little gimmicks as you progress makes it so the game isn’t overwhelming. Some puzzles can take time and I found myself visualizing my moves in my head before performing them. If you kill BoxBoy it’s not the end of the world, he’ll just repopulate at the last checkpoint which is never too far behind. If you are really stuck, the game will offer you a hint for each level. I did use the hints on occasion but for the most part, I was able to solve the puzzles on my own. During my BoxBoy! review it was helpful to at least have this option available to me. There were only two levels that were completely out of my league that made my brain strained after messing around on them for a half-hour. Finally, I turned to good ole YouTube to figure out how to get past those levels.
There are 16 worlds to navigate through, each consisting of sub-levels. Each world has a theme to it, but probably not the type of theme you are thinking. No, this isn’t an ocean theme or space theme, these themes are new obstacles. BoxBoy! is all about getting from point A to point B. There’s no time limit it’s just as simple as getting BoxBoy to the end of the level however you deem necessary.
Each world will introduce you to a new gameplay element. At first, BoxBoy just replicates one box that you can use to climb over walls, put into gaps, or protect him from deadly objects like lasers or saws. That’s the easy part, but the deeper you dive into BoxBoy! the harder it gets. Advance levels will have BoxBoy replicating up to seven boxes that he can attach himself to. You’ll use those boxes to hook yourself onto other objects or protect him from dangerous creatures. There are even levels where cranes will reach down and pick up BoxBoy. All these levels make for great puzzles. Remember playing Oregon Trail in school? That was pretty fun and I always looked forward to that. BoxBoy! would be a great educational tool in schools, forcing kids to critically think and problem solve.
I downloaded BoxBoy! for my Nintendo 3DS maybe a year ago. I had fun playing it before bed and was able to beat it within a week. It gave me a little brain exercise before going to sleep, although sometimes it’d keep me awake longer than I expected, thinking on how to make it past one more level.
BoxBoy! Review Score:
If you want a simple game that doesn’t hide what it is, BoxBoy! is for you. It doesn’t disguise itself as anything but a puzzle platformer with a good variety of levels to play. You will feel smarter after completing the game, I know I did! A great puzzle game for anyone that loves that genre.
BoxBoy! scores an 8.1 out of 10.
If you want to own BoxBoy! for the Nintendo 3DS, you can download a copy of the game on the Nintendo Eshop for $5.
What would you write for your BoxBoy! review? Were there any levels that frustrated you? How do you interpret the plot of BoxBoy!? Have you played any of the sequels? Let me know your thoughts and comments, I’d love to read them.