Unbox: A newbies adventure review
Unbox Newbies adventure puts you at the control of the new ‘sentient’ box made by GPS (global postal service). The GPS have created a new, smarter box to help save the business and make sure their packages get delivered on time and to the right place. It’s an open world physics based game that’s bright and colourful and most importantly, it’s fun to play.
You begin with a short tutorial level that acts as both your introduction to the story and how to play. Movement, attacking and in game intractable points are all covered and then off you bounce and tumble into the game.
The first thing that really struck me is the super happy island music that plays from menu, I found it very enjoyable and it set the scene for the somewhat ‘out there’ concept. So, you are a box… yep. A box. It is (I am happy to say) much more fun than it initially sounds. You get around by tumbling and bouncing your way along, with ‘unboxing’ (like another jump after jumping) making up a key way of exploring the world around you. You can unbox 6 times meaning you can cover great distances and heights with a bit of practice. All of this adds well to the worlds you will be exploring as they have a lot of height built into them and to really explore and get all the sneaky hidden collectables you will have to master the unbox mechanic.
The controls I found initially too responsive and I was constantly over turning and flicking the camera around at dodgy angles as I tumbled around, however with a bit of time I got used to it and found some flow. As it is a very different movement style from your more run of the mill game, it seems odd at first but the in-game physics work very well and ‘fit’, if you will, with how I think a moving box would act.
Paradise isles is the first world and has boundaries of water which will kill you and send you to your last checkpoint, but not resetting any collectables you may have got before dying, this is continued in the second world by being high up on mountain tops and the edges being deep abyss you fall into and basically acts as a way of keeping you on the intended game map.
All the other characters in the game are different variations of box’s themselves with a jovial red box named ‘Bounce’ as your guide, available at points in each world for tips and guiding if you get a bit lost or struggle to find something. You follow the rough storyline of saving your maker and employer, GPS, from going under whilst completing challenges set by other boxes throughout each world. When completed, you get a stamp as a reward, collect enough stamps and fight the boss, then move on to the next world. Simple enough, but it is the worlds and characters that make the game. I found it quite charming with cute design and some endearing boxes along the way as well as some interesting additions. Vehicles for one, the cars are not essential to the game but a nice little bonus, though how a box drives a car (sentient or not) I don’t know.
Whilst out on your adventures, completing time trials, delivering post and whatever else the resident boxes need your help with, you must keep an eye out for rogue boxes, out to thwart you and GPS and dominate the world…of package delivery. Hand on heart, it’s a joke from the game that made me laugh. So, I stole it. these rogue boxes or ‘the wild cards’ as they are called will either try to smash you with a Mario style slam or shoot fireworks at you, which serve as weapons in the world of sentient delivery boxes, but with a bit of tact you can fight these off with a slam of your own or a pickup found around the map.
There are collectables dotted around each world for the explorer amongst you, mostly gold tape to be collected but at 200 per level there is a lot to look for. Most of them are easy to spot but I had one or two that took me a while to find and get too. You can also customise your box look with a variety of accessories like hats, glasses, bunny ears and that sort of thing which is also available through menu in the Box-o-matic.
The game also has a multiplayer section where you can play up to four people on local, there are five different games modes based around racing, battling and a take on the oddball game mode I remember from Halo. As well as the game modes there are ten arenas you can get stuck into for all your box battling needs and whilst I don’t see it as the next eSports franchise, it serves as some great fun for the more relaxed gamer.
The combination of the little challenges, the enemy faction and pleasant and well-designed worlds make this a great little platformer and have signs and notes taken from more classic platformers of previous generations of games, however I didn’t really have any moments that I found truly challenging, it’s not a difficult game so if you want a punishing puzzler then perhaps this isn’t the title for you, but it is a minor down on what is otherwise a wonderful little game from a promising indie team.