I didn’t know much about BoxBoy! until I saw the it show up in a Nintendo Direct. Hearing that it’s a new platform from Hal Laboratory, the creators of Kirby, I knew I had to check this game out. It had that simple look to it, but with an interesting gameplay mechanic. At the price of $4.99, this game was practically demanding me to get it. Fortunately I did, as it is easily one of my favorite eShop games in 2015.
Platform: 3DS (eShop)
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Release Date: April 2, 2015
One look at BoxBoy! on Nintendo 3DS and you can already see that this game is very simplistic in its design. Opting in for the black and white color scheme. The minimalist look can put off some, but I found it not a problem. Some extra color would have been nice and help give some extra life to the game. That simplicity is also found in the game’s music. While I did find it suit the game, it didn’t really catch me. So I would usually play the game at a low volume with some different music playing in the background.
The simplicity isn’t only in the graphics either. There’s actually a story in BoxBoy! and it’s all told in a dialogue-free manner. Showed in brief snippets as you progress into the game. You follow Qbby, a box that literally drops into this world at the start, and you follow him on his journey to discovering this world. I found it interesting and felt satisfied with it at the end.
The star of the show though has to be the gameplay. Qbby has the ability to sprout boxes from his body and using them to create platforms, bridges, an extension of his body, or even a shield. The goal in each level is to reach the end, and you’ll make use of Qbby’s ability in order to do so. So this is a puzzle platformer.
Just getting to the exit isn’t the only puzzle you have to solve too. There are collectibles in the form of crowns that can be obtained in each level. Either one or two will need to be picked up in each level. An indicator on the game’s bottom screen will tell you how many is in your current level. The puzzle aspect of obtaining these though is that each crown must be obtained using a certain amount of blocks. A counter will appear that shows boxes remaining. You have that amount to reach the crown or it will disappear. Because of that limit, some crowns were actually a challenge to get to since I would run out of boxes before I ever got close to reaching the crown. These crowns are optional though, and the level can still be completed without obtaining them. There is an incentive to getting all the crowns though, as you’ll unlock a unique costume for doing so.
Completing each level in the game also awards you medals, which acts as the game’s currency. In the shop you’re able to buy things like music and books that share tips on how to play the game or on how to pull off some advance tricks. You can also buy costumes for Qbby to wear to make him appear as a rapper, a girl, or a superhero. There are also special costumes that will grant Qbby extra abilities like the Ninja costume to make him run faster or the rabbit for increased jumping height. Lastly, there are special levels you can purchase in the shop. There are score attack levels and time attack levels that will certainly test your abilities.
Probably my most favorite thing in the game is one of the last things you unlock. That is the game’s Marathon Mode. Unlockable only after completing every level. You soon find out that a record was being kept on how well you did at the game. The amount of time it took, how many boxes used, and how many retries it took you to complete each of the game’s worlds. Along with those numbers are letter rankings, with S being the highest. These can be improved in Marathon Mode, where you go through all the levels in a world without any breaks in between. This is where I’m currently at with the game. Improving your scores to all S ranks is turning out to be difficult, but I’m really enjoying that new layer of challenge. Using all the techniques you’ve learned, possibly learning new ones, and brainstorming ways to beat levels in the fewest amount of boxes possible and in a timely manner. I’m not sure if anything awaits you after achieving all S ranks, but it’s very satisfying.