Box Boy is a game you likely let slip under your radar. It’s something that wasn’t hugely promoted outside of a recent Nintendo Direct spot… and if you missed that, you probably missed it entirely. Well, I’m here to tell you that it deserves your immediate attention.
I’m sure this image looks really confusing for anyone that doesn’t know what’s going on. Box Boy is a cute little puzzle-platformer from the minds at HAL; you know, the people that pump out anthropomorphic adorable in the form of Kirby. Box Boy’s objective in every stage is to get to the door at the end of the level, hopefully collecting crowns along the way. To do this, BB must overcome obstacles by generating boxes from his body. These can be used in a multitude of different ways, as shown above. He can snake his way through tight spaces, drop boxes on switches, shield himself from lasers, and those are just to start off. The amount of boxes BB is allowed to generate is limited in two different ways, and varies based on the stage itself. One level, BB might be able to generate 4 boxes at a time, while another he might be able to produce 7. Then there’s the overall total you can produce in a level itself if you want a perfect completion. This also varies on the stage. The game has frequent checkpoints, which allows for easy restarts if you screw up. It starts off fairly easy, but will get progressively more difficult as it goes on. Each level introduces a new mechanic which allows for a progressive learning curve that never boggles you down.
What I love about this game isn’t the interesting mechanics (okay, yes it is), it’s the vast amount of charm it generates. Sure, it might look overly simplistic, especially for a 3DS game, but don’t be fooled. Box Boy is fully animated; from his squinty little eyes when he produces a box, to his dangling legs as he’s being carried across gaps by a claw. There are also costumes to collect throughout the game, which adds even more adorableness. And while playing a black and white game might seem aesthetically unappealing, I assure you that it is not. It feels like a crisp and clean Game Boy game on a modern system.