- Platform: 3DS eShop
- Main path and roughly half of known post-game content
- Give or take 4-6 hours of play
Box Boy! is a fairly clever puzzle platformer. It has relatively simple core mechanics of spawning trails of boxes, but adds a lot of world-based mechanics to add significant depth to the core gameplay loop. I’ve seen 22 worlds of 6-8 levels, plus another couple of sets of time attack and score attack levels, so there’s a lot of content to be had. Though there feels like a lot of fluff content early on, the game overall was easily worth playing, and for its current $5 price has a lot of value.
What I Like
The core gameplay is extremely simple. The main character can spawn a chain of boxes, limited to a different max per-level, which can then be used to traverse puzzle sections. However, this is expanded upon with significant in-world mechanics. These can range from things directly related to the character, such as using box patterns to pull the character through the world, or more direct actions like gravity manipulation, portaling (including conservation of momentum like Portal itself!), some Lemmings-inspired NPC leading, and more. Each of the first 16 worlds introduces a new core mechanic, culminating in a story-ending world and a set of post-game worlds that combine the mechanics into the tougher puzzle set of the game.
Each world also cleverly introduces the mechanics to avoid hand-holding tutorials. The first level of each worlds is typically a very simplified level featuring only the new mechanic for the world. Subsequent levels then ramp up the difficulty bit by bit. In doing so, the player naturally learns how mechanics work without having to slog through text tutorials.
What I’m Indifferent To
Each level contains a crown or set of crowns that can be collected to earn bonus currency for purchase of in-game items. The items include outfits for the character, hint books, background music, and some extra score and time attack levels. However, outside of the extra levels, the rest of the items feel largely unnecessary, and don’t act as a good completionist carrot. The main benefit I’ve found to collecting the crowns at all is that they often require more advanced mechanics to collect, which helps for solving later content.
What I Don’t Like
Outside of the last world and post-game content, this game is incredibly easy. The first 16 worlds are essentially teaching the various mechanics on their own, before being combined for the end-game. Though this does lead to a deep knowledge of the individual mechanics, it feels unnecessarily long to get to the combined mechanic puzzles. Fewer levels in early worlds or earlier combination of mechanics would have benefited the progression curve, which in its shipped state feels very padded with fluff content.