Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure PS4 Review

August 13, 2017 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Merge Games  Developer: Prospect Games  Genre: Platformer

Players: 1-4  Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

Even if a game does things very traditionally, it can still do enough to stand out from the crowd. When you think of platformers for example, it’s highly likely that you think of the character first, as it’s often the character that stands out. Starring a cardboard box as its protagonist, Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is one such game.

Unbox has a very flimsy story, but it’s enough of an excuse as to why the world is inhabited with lively cardboard boxes. After running into financial problems, a company called the Global Postal Service has created self delivery cardboard boxes, which means that they can use these boxes as opposed to paying people to deliver them. Taking control of Newbie (a default name that can be changed), your job is to prove to the GPS that you are a ready and willing delivery box by participating in various tests as well as taking on a gang of rival boxes. It’s an interesting, amusing and unique premise, and there’s enough narrative there to give the game some personality.

If you do manage to get stuck in the environment, it’s possible to hold a button down to respawn, taking you back to the previous checkpoint. Unboxing also helps you out of some tight spots at times.

Unbox is a game that has been described by developer Prospect Games as a 90s style platformer, and it’s a very fitting statement. We’ve definitely been seeing a resurgence of such platformers recently, and this is very welcome. Yes Unbox is a platformer, but the difference here is that you take control of a legless square object, which obviously controls differently from anything else that you might be used to. It does take a little while to get used to, but as long as you don’t forget that you are supposed to be a cardboard box, things do start to click soon enough.

As Newbie rolls around the levels, the game is a joy to watch, the box physics are satisfying although can be a little glitchy on occasion. You can jump around the environments in typical platforming fashion, although, other than the character, another thing that makes Unbox standout is being able to unbox. Unboxing allows you to use some of your health to make Newbie jump even higher, and as you can unbox up to six times, this means that you really can take to the air. It’s a fun way to get around the game’s expansive stages, and you will need this ability to reach certain areas and challenges. Newbie can also stomp down on enemy cardboard boxes, and in some instances even use fireworks to take them out.

Unbox has a hub as well as three large levels. The hub and levels are littered with gold tape pick-ups, which unlock various customisation options for your boxes. As for the levels, you’ll come across other friendly boxes that will give you tasks to complete, and accomplishing these will earn you stamps. The stamps are the most important thing to collect in Unbox’s environments, as earning a number of these in each individual world will then allow you to take on the boss of that world. Stamps aren’t only earned through challenges though; you’ll also come across puzzles that earn you stamps as well as others that are just lying in wait somewhere, ready to be collected. In each level, there are also characters to rescue, which are often hidden away. There’s plenty to do, even if repetition does start to set in after awhile.

The levels are all very nicely laid out, and each one is distinct from the last. The first level is the kind of island that would make for a great holiday destination, the second one takes place in a snowy area, complete with slippy hills, and the final level is made up of ancient ruins. Because of the game’s traversal system, each level is a joy to explore and traverse.

The challenges given to you by other boxes include ones that require you to collect objects, time trials, scaling heights to deliver flags or letters, and others that have you taking out a requisite number of rival boxes. If anything, and as fun as the game is, there could definitely be more variation in the challenges as they do feel a little samey after a little while, and the game doesn’t even have the allure of new skills, or anything like that. Perhaps a few more puzzle challenges would have been welcome. In reality, you would have seen all that the game has to offer in a few hours or so.

The game is a decent length, and can last upwards of 10 hours if you want to discover everything that it has to offer.

Other than the single player mode, Unbox also has a local split screen multiplayer mode for up to four players. It’s a fully featured multiplayer component also, with a number of modes and options. There’s five modes, which have you doing everything from firing weapons at each other, collecting gold tape, collecting coins after hitting opponents, racing, and a mode that has you taking control of a cube for as long as possible. You can either player single rounds, or it’s possible to set up tournaments. The multiplayer is fun for what it is, and even though the characters are lacking in them, it does give the game longer legs.

Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is a game that isn’t quite as unique as the characters that inhabit its world, but it’s still a very enjoyable 90s style platformer, with a fun multiplayer component as an extra. Yes, the game would have benefitted from a little more variation in its gameplay, and it can feel a little repetitive from time to time because of this, but there’s still much fun to be had in taking control of a cardboard box and rolling, jumping and tumbling through the attractively diverse levels.