It is time to part ways with Qbby and his friends. Is the goodbye heartfelt or insincere?
I loved and cherished the previous BoxBoy games. Sure, their look and feel are extremely similar, but I came for the puzzles. Those puzzles delivered pure joy for the last two years while also bringing a great deal of challenge. The worlds featured their own bold concepts without growing stale. As video games, the BoxBoy series has the power to stay entertaining until the bitter end. HAL’s final entry, Bye-Bye BoxBoy!, lives up to its predecessors. The company chose the right time to send Qbby off, because there is only so much you can do to change up the mechanics.
This final game starts where BOXBOXBOY! ended. Qbby and his friends saved their home and were dragged into a spaceship at the end. With an uncertain future ahead, the game fades as you reach a number of planets. As you travel to the different worlds, your goal is to save them from despair. A mysterious black substance has taken shape on these planets and nobody knows what caused it. When the BoxBoy series started, I had no idea that it was building to something as big as this. On the flipside, the conclusion was more bittersweet than I thought it would be. For little cubes that barely show any emotion, I would say that HAL did a great job there.
If you played the previous two games, you will know what to expect. Qbby's ability to create blocks out of thin air that can be moved and manipulated is still entertaining after three games. The puzzle platforming with twists that is the heart of the game is still entertaining. The previous game, BOXBOXBOY!, tried to complicate matters by allowing you to throw down multiple rows of blocks. Bye-Bye BoxBoy! goes back to basics by keeping it all tied to a single row. The changes in this new entry can be found in the gimmicks of the worlds, which are clever.
Personally, I found that Bye-Bye BoxBoy! has roughly the same pacing as BOXBOXBOY! The first couple of worlds will not pose much of a challenge, but as you take your first steps away from the introduction, you will notice how the game plays with your expectations. In the third world, you will need to help a smaller box person reach the goal. You need to use blocks to let it climb platforms, escape from lasers and get to the goal in one piece. This person knows where to go after you give the directions, which is nice to see in an escort mission. The game really ramps it up when you get to the final world of a planet. It is here that new types of blocks get thrown into the mix and challenge you to get creative. World 5 sees the Rocket Blocks, which are as cool as you expect them to be.
For as cool as the game is, I don't think that Bye-Bye BoxBoy! is as refreshing as the previous games. The straightforward approach is better in the grand scheme of things, but it does make some of the gimmicks feel less special as a result. Just like in BOXBOXBOY!, the visual presentation hasn’t been overhauled that much. Bye-Bye BoxBoy! is the longest entry of the series by a long shot, however. There are 22 worlds and 5 challenge worlds to boot, which means it’ll likely take ten or more hours to complete. You have the usual array of Crown collectibles to gather for bonuses like costumes, challenge worlds, music and comics. There are also reasons to go back as the game has statistics for every single world, which allow you to challenge your times and skills. With 192 levels to navigate, this game will surely keep you busy for a while.
Bye-Bye BoxBoy! is a fitting farewell to Qbby's journey. The final story bits were more impactful than I hoped and there’s still plenty of clever puzzles to solve. Naturally, the game doesn't feel as fresh as the previous two, but the charm is there in spades. Bye-Bye BoxBoy! succeeded in keeping me entertained for over ten hours, which is what I truly want from another BoxBoy! entry. If you want more BoxBoy puzzles, you've come to the right place.