Love : A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories
Developer: Rocketship Park
Publisher: Thalamus Digital
Genre(s): Puzzle, Point and Click
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 28/05/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Love: A Puzzle Box Filled With Stories is a point-and-click puzzle game that sees the player finding love for others within an interactable apartment block. Is this a neighbourhood worth moving into? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Those Around Us
We are surrounded by people, each with their own stories and relationships. They can be seen in the couple in the flat below, the elderly husband and wife living in the opposite bungalow, or even the noisy family who has just moved in next door.
In Love: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories, (Which I will simply refer to as ‘Love’ in this review), the game explores community by offering an interactable tenement building. Inside the various apartments live all manner of people: a pair of music-lovers, the newly-wedded couple or the aspiring artist. The goal of the game is to ignite (or reignite) love by bringing pairs together in order to add snapshots to a photo album. It’s an excellent premise which struggles to work as a video game.
Love features five floors, each of which houses four apartments that unlock over time. Unlike your standard dwelling, half of the tenement is in the past. In order to find love across time, visual clues are provided. A character may be nostalgic over a picture showing a previous embrace and so I was required to visit the past to discover where this picture was originally photographed. To distinguish between the past and present (but not the yet-to-come), both a coloured and monochromatic palette is used. I liked this design, and it was an effectively clear way of showing the difference in time.
Unfortunately, when playing on my Switch handheld, the rest of the visuals struggled to impress me. There’s a certain painted quality to the image which I quite enjoyed. However, the low resolution of the Switch port, even when docked, made me observe a noticeable blur to the image quality. This proved particularly troublesome when I was required to interact with objects within the apartments such as computers. Whilst the final result of using ‘Facelook’ to reignite old friends proved successful, interacting with the device was a slight struggle. This issue was most prevalent within the final acts of the game where event invitations must be collected and delivered. Though a zoom feature is provided, distinguishing the small envelopes from the table provided a frustrating challenge. This challenge can be rectified by playing on a larger screen but seeing as so many play their Switch on the go, it’s a frustration worth mentioning.
The floors of the tenement building can be twisted and manoeuvred like tetrominoes in Tetris. By twisting apartments left or right, they can be moved into the past or present. There’s a level of tactility that sees the colourful building twisting and turning like a Rubik’s Cube. With a lack of touchscreen controls, movement is restricted to the controller only, with the bumpers used to move the building and the joystick used to move the cursor. Whilst the control layout certainly works, finger-swiping touchscreen movement would serve well for this sort of title and it’s strange to see it absent.
One standout feature of Love is the fantastic acoustic soundtrack which quietly plays throughout. The sound of guitar strings and the occasional arrival of vocals gently calmed my frustrations towards some of the trickier puzzles. I must admit that I did have to refer to a video guide on occasion as some solutions seemed down to a “tap everything” trial-and-error approach. A hint feature certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
Worth the move?
Though the stories of finding love throughout time are heart-warming, the low-resolution Switch visuals and the frequent trial-and-error approach to puzzles ultimately provided an experience that I found hard to love. Your mileage may vary if playing on a different device as there’s some enjoyment to be found with the tenement exploration however the Switch port is one that I find hard to recommend.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2 out of 5
You can purchase Love: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories for $19.99 on the US eShop
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.