2015 was a good year for me in terms of gaming: I checked 25 games off of my backlog, and cleared multiple series in the process, including Metroid, Metal Gear Solid, Arkham, and even Uncharted (under two weeks goml).
But while this is all fine and dandy for my backlog, I didn’t really get to grips with many new games that were actually released in 2015; Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was the only high-profile title from this year that I dedicated my precious time to, and even the payoff for that was about as substantial as the amount of fucks Jack Nicholson has ever given about life.
I did, however, lay a beady eye on a little game for the Nintendo 3DS that was teased as an intriguing little puzzle game, entitled BOXBOY!, and developed by none other than those beautiful bastards of HAL Laboratory. Now I’ve always had a certain interest in new puzzle games, because while other genres maintain a standard formula with varying aesthetics and characteristics, a brand new puzzle game has to create an entirely new concept of puzzle. Atlus’ brilliant 3D puzzle-platformer Catherine was an entirely new concept, with the player having to navigate a confused deadbeat up a tower of blocks while being chased by apparitions that were a manifestation of his deepest emotional fears, which included a giant arse with teeth. BOXBOY! – though nowhere near the style of Catherine – just as well takes its own concept and creates a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
BOXBOY! is a 2D sidescrolling, platforming, puzzle adventure game where you control a little box boy called Qbby (qbby pls). The game’s core mechanic is to use boxes to climb, pull, and worm your way through a multitude of different puzzles, and the boxes come from, well, you. Qbby is able to create inanimate duplicates of himself in box form either as a single box or as a chain; it’s essentially like the Elegy of Emptiness from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, though much less depressing, creepy, and time-consuming. However, Qbby’s powers of duplication are finite, as each level has a certain cap on the amount of blocks he can create during the level in question, which in turn makes for a great challenge. The main aim of each level is pretty much to go from A to B, all while blocking dangerous laser beams, creating paths over deadly spikes, or creating a platform to hoist yourself up to safety from falling into the void. All the while, you can also collect crowns throughout the levels, which only adds to what is essentially your currency in this game, which allows you to buy different outfits for Qbby, as well as tutorials for moves, and even time attack levels.
The story is quite sparse in BOXBOY!, though there is one that does take place throughout the game. As you press onwards and clear certain worlds, Qbby will emerge in the overworld and create a huge block that holes up a fissure in the ground – something that is blocking your progress to the next world. As you continue to progress, you eventually pick up some friends who will tag along for the journey, including a lady friend and a rectangle buddy. About halfway through, you’ll get to a projector that tells the tale of a meteor that has hit your cuboid planet, and is causing fissures to emerge from the ground, and thus lays the groundwork and reasoning for your actions.
Story aside, BOXBOY! provides good fun for anyone who’s up for a challenge and is looking for a little something to pass the time with when they’re on the go. It’s a cute little adventure that will satisfy your puzzling desires just as much as triple-A puzzlers will; maybe even more so. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out now.
Be there, and be square.