Pile Up! Box by Box
Developer: Seed By Seed
Genre(s): Adventure, Arcade, Puzzle, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam, PlayStation and Xbox)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 17/08/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Unboxing Pile Up! Box by Box
Pile up! Box by Box is a three-dimensional puzzle platformer. Though this game does feature many interesting puzzles, instead of emphasizing difficult and intricate puzzles, it focuses on creating a lovely and charming atmosphere to explore. Does this decision make the game stand out for the better? Or did it work to the game’s detriment? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As soon as I began the title, I was welcomed warmly into the cute and wholesome world of Boxling Square. However, as soon as I arrived, all the interconnected portals stopped working. This simple storyline set up my adventure effortlessly, but it also made it easy for the developers to include vast locales and interesting landscapes. Still, the storyline was nothing special. As I went on my quest to unlock various portals, I met different animals and helped them solve their problems. While it was cute to see the visual representation of how we could and eventually did help the miscellaneous animals solve their issues, the story never moved me or kept me engaged with the title. At the same time, I was not looking for a substantial story and thought these elements were more than serviceable.
The story was supplemented by a lovely visual style. Much like many of the recent Yoshi titles, the backgrounds, characters, and level designs are made from crafting material. In this case, Pile Up! Box by Box features cardboard designs for everything. I thought this solidified the charming aesthetic while still having my main character stand out. Though the visuals were attractive, I did have some issues tracking my character once they jumped. The game did not feature shadows, so I often had trouble judging distances. Otherwise, the visuals were lovely.
As lovely as the atmosphere is, the most important part of many games is the gameplay. Pile Up! Box by Box features a simple gameplay loop. All I needed to do was solve puzzles and obtain the key from the animals I assisted. The puzzles themselves were fun albeit not particularly memorable. They required I use my own abilities in combination with the assets from the world around me. Additionally, they all focused on one major mechanic. The boxes in Pile Up! Box by Box can stack on top of each other. This means I could bring items with me, help a teammate reach greater heights, or use an object as a platform. I enjoyed this mechanic. It required that I explore and collect materials before attempting to solve a puzzle. The puzzles were unique from many of the other puzzle games I have played.
Even though many of the puzzles were different, the puzzles were rarely challenging. Towards the end of the game, there were a few challenges that took a few tries, but other than those, I did not need to spend a lot of time on any of the puzzles. While I know the game is targeted at children, I still felt like the puzzle design was not challenging enough. I would have liked to see some additional bonus challenges that made the game more difficult.
Shipping My Parcel
The developers did include some collectable items which served as alternate challenges and tasks to complete, but once again, these were rarely challenging to collect. Once I could see them, I was able to find how to get them. However, like with the character models, many of these were not on the ground, and without shadows, they were a bit difficult to see. Still, I thought they were a great addition, and they encouraged me to master the mechanics and my box’s movement capabilities.
In terms of movement, I was pleasantly surprised. My character’s base movement speed was adequately fast enough to make traversal easy while never too fast to make it challenging to control. The puzzling mechanics were good too. Picking up and separating boxes was easy to do, manoeuvring boxes into the correct place was simple, and interacting with the world around me was easy. Even the in-game assets were interesting and fun to deal with. From fire extinguishers to iguana tongues, each asset offered a new way to play the game. Innately, the core movement and gameplay mechanics were a lot of fun.
Where the game truly shines, however, is in the cooperative modes. This game can be played with up to three players locally, and that is where the game is the most fun. The game tailors to this, by having certain puzzles that need all players to participate and by keeping the screen size small and preventing one player from leaving the other players behind in the dust. While it makes the faster player wait, it develops chemistry between the players that enables them to work together. Once playing with someone for the duration of the game, it is easy to know when to leave the screen, so it only served as a positive for me.
Unfortunately, one issue I had with the game was how long each level was. Though the game was not overwhelmingly long, each level took around an hour to complete. While the game could save wherever I wanted to, I rarely felt I had closure to do so. I would have liked to see more breakpoints to give me a place to rest or take a break. This is not an innate issue, and it did not impact the score. Mechanically, there was no issue here because whenever I wanted to stop, I could. However, the lack of intermittent checkpoints made it challenging for me to find the appropriate stopping point myself.
Also, I encountered an issue with revisiting levels. I attempted to revisit a level and collect some of the collectable items that I forgot. However, I was unable to progress because even after reloading the room, a required item did not respawn. This was likely because I took the item to a different room on a previous attempt, but it was frustrating to see that I could no longer progress because of it. Of course, I would be able to play the level if I restarted the game, but this would have been too inconvenient, and the option to revisit a level should be there.
Pile Up! Box by Box also features some solid music. The level soundtracks have enough energy to keep me going without getting annoying, and the sound effects are similarly engaging. The music helps bring the package together and makes each of the worlds slightly more unique.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience with Pile Up! Box by Box. Though the levels are long, and the puzzles are quite easy, the world is charming, and it is a lot of fun to play with a friend. This short and simple puzzle title is not one to forget, but it is also not one to rush to. It is a solid option, especially if you are looking for something light to get through.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Pile Up! Box by Box on the Nintendo Switch here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.