I just want to thank Nintendo for given us the chance to review this title. If you are still on the fence about this title then I hope my review will be able to sway you either way.
Last January Nintendo fans were hit with a surprise announcement. A sequel to HAL Laboratories 3DS darling, BoxBoy!, would be launching in japan that day. Fans in the west would have to wait another 6 months before they got to lay their hands on the next adventures of Qbby and now that it’s out are two boxes really better than one? Let’s find out.
The main story of BoxBoxBoy! Is just as abstract and surreal as the first title in the series. This time around, while Qbby naps with his friend Qucy he somehow sends his spirit into some kind of parallel world. In this dimension he manages to unlock the ability to create more than one block and with his new found power he must connect the two worlds in order to get home. The story really does not take any focus in this game which is good because it really does not matter. It is merely there for flavour and that works in its favour as it allows what is important to take the focus: the puzzles.
The general gameplay of BoxBoxBoy! has not changed since the first game. Qbby is still limited to running and jumping with the ability to create a number of connecting boxes depending on the level. The gimmick this time however is that Qbby can create a second box to use simultaneously with the first. This new innovation to the series is fantastic as it allows for more diversity with its puzzles and sometimes multiple solutions to a puzzle.
The goal is once again to get to the end of the world while collecting the crowns in each level. To obtain a crown you not only have to reach it but do so within that stages box limit. This can be easy enough when there is only one crown per stage but later levels can add anywhere between two and five. This encourages replayability as you try and find the most optimal route through each level. Although, to be honest, any veteran of the first game will not find this difficult and can probably get each crown on their first try, at least until some of the last few worlds.
Speaking of the first game, this sequel actually acknowledges the save file of your previous adventure and allows you to bring over any costumes you unlocked and medals (received for beating a level and getting its crown) that you did not spend. This can make purchasing the various shop collectibles much easier, giving you access to the many costumes and advantages they provide. While these costumes are optional in the main game, there is a challenge mode that remixes some older levels to be played with a specific costumes ability. This allows for a more difficult experience as you have to think outside the box for once in order to advance.
BoxBoxBoy! Does not try to invent the wheel with its sequel and instead chooses to take what it started in the first game and refine it to an exceptional degree. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and, similar to the gameplay, the presentation follows this philosophy as well.
As the second title on the Nintendo 3DS (and in the series for that matter) the series did not need a massive overhaul in the presentation department and so it does not receive one. This game from both a visual and audio standpoint is nearly identical to its predecessor. It has a very simple black and white style that looks almost like some kind of new indie-title. Qbby and friends emote quite a bit more than expected for a character who is literally a cube with feet, although most of this comes from the game miniature comics that can be bought at the shop, along with music and costumes.
The presentation for this time is simply marvelous in its simplicity. HAL know how to make simple character and world designs appealing and they more than succeeded again with this game. It is charming, pleasing to look at and listen to; it was just incredibly enjoyable to play.
Once more, HAL Laboratories has knocked it out of the park with its cute 2D-platformer. BoxBoxBoy! does everything a sequel should do by taking everything that worked in the first game and making it better, all the while adding new mechanics on top of it for a truly new experience. It didn’t need a new unique visual identity or some forced in control scheme. HAL knew what the fans wanted and they delivered, not only from a gameplay perspective but a story and presentation one as well. The game can be downloaded from the eShop for $4.99 (£4.49) and is about as long as the first game was (6-9 hours depending on your ability).
A very charming and clever puzzle title that shows us that HAL knows exactly how to please their fans. It might be a bit easy for some but that does not stop it from being enjoyable the whole way through.