Box Boy! (3DS)

BOXBOY_BOXWhen gamers think of HAL Laboratory, titles like Kirby and the Smash Bros. series come to mind.  But they’re also no stranger to puzzlers, too.  In fact, back before Kirby was even around, HAL made a series of block pushing puzzle games on the NES called Adventures of Lolo (I used to play the heck out of those when I was a kid).  In fact, Lolo and Lala can be seen in some Kirby games, too!  Anyway, HAL is going back to their puzzling roots with Box Boy!  It’s a downloadable eShop game for the Nintendo 3DS, and it’ll make you think outside the box!

In the game, you play as a simple box with legs and eyes.  He can’t move very fast or jump very high, but he has a particular special power.  He can create blocks that you can use in various ways.  They can be stepping stones or shields for bypassing traps.  You can also make chains of blocks and use them like a hook to reach higher ledges.  In every level, you have a limited amount of blocks you can chain at once, and when you release them, the blocks you had before will disappear.  Each world has several bite-sized stages, perfect for portable gaming.  In these levels, you’ll encounter different obstacles and switches that’ll have you using your blocks in extremely creative ways.  You’ll maneuver them around conveyor belts, cranes, and much more.  There are so many cool ideas implemented in this game that I couldn’t list them all!

In each stage there are one or two crowns to collect.  Gather them all to receive a bonus at the end of the level.  But these crowns can be tricky to reach!  And some of them will disappear if you use too many blocks!  By beating stages and collecting crowns, you’ll earn money you can spend to buy unlockables like music, tips, and bonus time attack and score attack levels.  Also, you can buy outfits to dress your character in, and some of them give you special powers, like the bunny suit that lets you jump high or the ninja suit that lets you run fast.

The visuals take a minimalist approach.  It would’ve been nice to see some color or variety in the levels, but I guess that’s part of the style.  The puzzles aren’t TOO tricky, but getting all the crowns sure is!  And once you finish the hundred or so levels, dozen more bonus stages open up as well.  And if you get stuck, you can spend one measly 3DS Play Coin to get a helpful hint, so it’s not too frustrating.  So if you like puzzle platform challenges, you’ll definitely want to download Box Boy!


Kid Factor:

Box Boy! is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  If your little square dude gets hit by spikes or zapped by lasers, he just falls to pieces and that’s it.  And you’ll start right before you messed up, too.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but most of the instructions have picture cues.  Younger players may need help with the tougher, later levels, but the game could be considered somewhat educational as it teaches thinking and planning skills.

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