Have you ever had an idea that seemed genius at the time but was proven to be fairly silly later on? I feel like this is the exact case for Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure. I mean, this is a game where players take control of a sentient delivery box that is meant to deliver itself to, somehow, save the Global Postal Service. This setup is clearly ridiculous but could be potentially fun, yeah? But how? It’s difficult to imagine what you can do as a living cardboard box. Luckily, I’m here to explain this silly game and what you can expect when playing it.
First of all, let’s make it clear what a delivery box can do in Unbox. Moving around is done by rolling, which is a little awkward as the box is… well, a box. This causes lots of bouncing and makes turning difficult at times. This is kind of remedied by the jumping and unboxing mechanic. This allows the player to change direction or gain speed simply by jumping once. If a single jump isn’t enough, the player can ‘unbox’, which is a maneuver that uses one point of health in order to propel the box out of another box. Combining these two techniques, a player can get up to seven consecutive jumps without touching the ground. If it weren’t for this, Unbox would be a much more difficult game. Other than rolling and jumping, the only other thing the box can do without an item is a slam. This slam is used to push enemies away (defeating them) and not much else. In fact, it almost feels silly to have the slam since enemies are more of a nuisance than an obstacle.
Put plainly, these enemies can only do one of a few things and aren’t particularly dangerous. I think the most damage they can really do is knock the player off their path through one of the many challenges the game has to offer. Most of these missions consist of time trials, constrictive climbing challenges, rigid races, and snatching stuff from various venues. Each of these mission types work slightly differently, but don’t offer enough variety to remain fun for very long. Before I had finished the first area, I had already found myself dreading the idea of having to complete similar objectives on the future levels. There’s really not much wrong with them, as they offer enough time to complete them or are genuinely forgiving when need be. The issue is that they simply aren’t that engaging or entertaining once they’ve been completed once.
Calling back to my old point, the enemies within these challenges only slow you down and can’t even truly stop you. This leads me to believe that part of my issue with Unbox has to do with how easy it is. While I normally don’t mind playing a game on the easier side, I think this one gets to me so much because these little missions make up most of the engaging gameplay while only making up a fraction of a player’s total playtime. This is because Unbox has a lot of things to find and collect, and I mean a lot of things. There may only be a few levels, but each (including the hub) have hundreds of items including gold tape, stamps, and other boxes being held prisoner. It would take tons of time to track all of this down, while the actual story takes next to no time at all. If a collect-a-thon is your kind of thing, by all means, pick this up as it will keep you busy for a (very repetitive) while.
Now I’ve spent a lot of time on the negative but I would like to point out a few positives that I have failed to mention thus far. The most important one has to be just how well the game actually controls. Moving around and using the unboxing mechanic works surprisingly well and makes for some decent exploration. On top of this, Unbox is a fairly good looking game and is very colourful. Finally, the different levels are all rather large, meaning there’s a lot to look around and inspect if that’s your thing. Personally, I didn’t find myself disliking the game, but I did realize that i was simply bored quite a bit. It’s a shame, because I feel like it could be far better if it didn’t feel so repetitive, so quickly. Honestly though, the gameplay working as well as it does is a huge plus for the title and is why I am not being more critical about the issues it has.
Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure (Reviewed on Xbox One)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
While Unbox has some fun moments, I mostly enjoyed it for its mechanics and not because I found myself having all the much fun. I'm sure there are plenty of players who would find more in this title, but I just saw missed potential.