Bye-Bye BoxBoy! (3DS)

Before game developer HAL Laboratory created Kirby and the Smash Bros. series, they were famous for a popular puzzle game trio on the NES called Adventures of Lolo (I loved those games as a kid).  Over the past couple of years, they’ve proven they still have what it takes to make great puzzlers with the BoxBoy! titles, downloadable on the 3DS.  Now the third and final game in the trilogy is out, with more block puzzles, stages, and powers than ever before!

In the first game, you were a walking square named Qbby who could create blocks to solve puzzles.  The sequel let you create two sets of blocks, and it really felt more like an expansion pack than a sequel.  The third game goes back to its roots, but now adds new powers to blocks in certain stages.  There are rocket blocks that let you fly up, bomb blocks that destroy certain objects, warp blocks that let you zip to a new location, and remote blocks that you can guide around the stage.  There are also new levels where you must escort baby cubes past obstacles as well as keep yourself safe, too!  So it really feels more like a sequel with all the new additions.

Like in the other games, Qbby can’t move very fast or jump very high, but he still has that block-creating power 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, water, 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, extra challenge stages, comics, and new outfits to dress Qbby in.  Some even give you special powers.  And if you scan Kirby amiibo into the game, you can make Qbby look like a character from those titles!  The game will read past saves files from previous BoxBoy games and let you use costumes from those adventures as well!

The visuals take a minimalist approach.  They finally added a small splash of color in the different planets you visit, but it’s still not much different.  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.  My only big problem I have is that in Japan, this game came with a Qbby amiibo.  I know that it’s just a white square with eyes, but you know how I like my amiibo figures.  So it would’ve been nice to have that amiibo be available here in the States as well.  But other than that, if you like puzzle platform challenges, you’ll definitely want to download this last entry in the trilogy.

Kid Factor:

Bye-Bye BoxBoy! is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence. If Qbby gets hit by spikes or zapped by lasers, he just explodes into pieces or falls off the screen 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 assistance with the tougher, later levels, but at least the hint feature is helpful.  Plus the game could be considered somewhat educational as it teaches logic and thinking skills.

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