Ever miss the era of the N64, that gave us golden platformers like Super Mario 64? Well, get ready for a trip down the nostalgia train. Unbox, the adorable, incredibly easy to get into platformer by Prospect Games is everything you love about the old school games. Select the level, collect ’em all and save the day.
Here’s the basic premise. You’re a cardboard box named Newbie, and your aim is to save the Global Postal Service (or GPS in short). Facing financial troubles, GPS has created a race of sentient, self-delivering cardboard boxes. That’s right, the postal service is millenniums ahead of its time. I think the reason why the company faces bankruptcy is because of this invention, but who knows? You have to fight the first ever self-aware box created, Wild, and his gang of little cardboard boxes called the Wild Cards (geddit?) It’s hilarious how silly and fun filled the game is.
The game seems to follow an open world model, where you can explore an impressively large world comprising of mountains, beaches, small villages and tapes scattered around the world for you to collect. Getting a hang of movement is not exactly difficult, but mastering it sure is. It’s easy to mistime a jump, or jumping too high, which is made possible by the ability to unbox mid-air, giving you an extra push in the air, and it may create a problem when trying to make the perfect landing.
Unbox also has some level of combat elements. Well, not exactly combat, but you can slam the ground to knock out and get rid of your enemies. What’s more, you can also light fireworks and set them off at your foes. Here’s to lighting those suckers on fire! I did come across some bugs with the aiming mechanism, though.
You can also pimp your box to you heart’s content. The game’s customization options let you give your box a mustache, or a kickass beard, put on a hat and cool shades, and also customize the colour. Another cool feature? You can drive. Just that sink in. A cardboard box driving a jeep, or a forkift. What sorcery is this!?
The game has a whole feels like a Nintendo title. The story and gameplay are all simple and adorable enough to be kid friendly, but it doesn’t mean that as an adult you won’t like it. The collection marathon is set to upbeat Caribbean music which perfectly complements the premise and the environment and keeps the game fun and lighthearted.
One of the most impressive feats accomplished by the game is nailing down the general movement mechanics, thanks to the Unreal Engine. Your motion is limited to an extent by your shape and the terrain, meaning that you can just go strolling in any direction you please (like a sphere). As a cube, you have edges and corners, which has an impact on how you traverse. It can be a little frustrating to see you box tumble off course as the corners bump around, but it provides a certain level of authenticity to the movement, and is quite impressive, to say the least.
Unbox also features multiplayer elements, though they are more of an expansion of the same game. You can compete against your friends in a variety of modes, which include collecting the most tapes and shooting fireworks at each other. And though it makes the game way more fun, it doesn’t have a lot going for it to keep you playing for long. However, as mentioned earlier, the premise and mechanics are pretty simple to understand, so this makes a great game you can play with your kids or siblings.
Unbox is incredibly fun, and its silly humor make it a perfect couch game you can play in your free time. It’s really well optimized for the PC, but plays better with a controller in my opinion. The graphics are a delight, and when combined with the music and the 90s style platforming elements, it’s hard not to be lost in a few memories of the golden era of platformers, where games were simple and fun, and we didn’t feel the need to crib about every little problem that we came across in a game.
Read our interview with the developer Andrew Bennison here.
For more news and reviews, keep checking back at Gaming Central.