The 3DS eShop is filled with quality little games. The little 3D console has seen the likes of Crimson Shroud, SteamWorld Heist and Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale release onto its digital store over the years and these are but a few of the quality titles available to buy and download. HAL Laboratory decided to get in on the act with BoxBoy! – a monochromatic side-scrolling puzzle game, in which you take control of, Qbby, who is, you guessed it, a box.
BoxBoy’s simple aesthetics flatter to deceive. This simple-looking game is deceptively deep and difficult. The gameplay is simple enough. You move through each stage, making use of Qbby’s box creation powers to make ledges, hooks to access high areas and snaking through tight gaps? Yes, BoxBoy! may seem simple at first, but as you progress you’ll find that each world comes with its own unique gameplay hook and new puzzles to figure out. More often than not, the eShop is full of titles that focus on one gameplay aspect, stretching them until dry, but BoxBoy! (from those fine folks behind the Kirby series) has much more to it than that.
It’s great fun seeing what else the game has up its sleeves for you in each of its 17 worlds. This may sound too lengthy, but the bite-size levels ensure that you will not be spending hours upon hours making your way through BoxBoy’s smart stages. Finishing the game (and beating a few of its extras) took me around 6-7 hours, but depending on how difficult you find the game, this number could go up or down. Regardless, there’s more than enough to warrant a purchase for the game’s relatively low-cost of around £5. Outside of the main game, there are five bonus worlds to unlock, new costumes, music, time-attack stages and score-attack challenge stages. In every aspect, there’s more to BoxBoy! than meets the eye.
You’ll be placing blocks over your head to stop laser beams destroying you, sticking to walls and figuring out how to open doors when a few buttons to do so are on the screen. While the number of different puzzles may sound off-putting and tricky, it is intuitive and, for the most part, quite straightforward. You’ll find the occasional stage that leaves you scratching your head. The simplicity of the solutions is not a bad mark against BoxBoy! either. Rather, BoxBoy’s design is so smart that you’ll find it a great title to pick up and play for short sessions. Every now and then towards the end of the game, it may feel a little frustrating, but generally speaking, the puzzles will click. BoxBoy! teaches you its tricks really well, but never holds your hand.
Behind the smart level designs is a simple, but fun story of saving the Qbby’s blocky world. It’s low-key, relaxing stuff thanks to the game’s simple, but attractive monochrome art. Qbby himself is really well animated and will surprise you with the amount of expression he has despite being a black and white square with dot eyes and stick legs. The whole game is utterly charming. You may find BoxBoy! a little too easy at times, but you’ll keep coming back for more, being drawn in, hopelessly, by its siren charms.
BoxBoy! is an incredibly simple, yet simply amazing puzzle platformer.