Buy Bye-Bye BoxBoy!
BoxBoy first sprung onto the eShop as a surprise hit in 2015. Since then we’ve been treated to a healthy dose of HAL Laboratory’s quirky puzzle game with subsequent releases in 2016 and now in 2017. On the surface Bye-Bye Boxboy looks identical to its predecessors and from the start, it feels a little bit too much like more of the same. While this mostly rings true, the new elements help keep it fresh for veterans of the series without alienating newcomers. If you’re into puzzle games, Bye-Bye Boxboy is an easy recommendation, bolstering a ton of puzzles in a simple, yet charming package.
BoxBoy’s charm comes in the form of its simplicity, not only visually, but also in how it plays. You take control of Qbby, a box with legs, and have to overcome a number of different obstacles by creating a row of boxes. These boxes sprout out of Qbby and can either be detached from his body to be used as bridges and staircases, or can remain attached to his body. Doing so allows Qbby to grapple onto ledges by retracting through the boxes to areas that would be otherwise unreachable. Once you get a feel for the core mechanics you’ll be introduced to lasers, conveyor belts, switches, and more that’ll force you to strategically plan how you want to tackle the obstacles presented. In each stage, crowns are placed in out-of-the way areas that can be collected for added challenge and reward, but they only stay active if you use under a given box count which promotes careful planning opposed to blindly trying over and over. The beauty of the puzzle design is no one puzzle takes too long, so it’s easy to pick up and play, but just as easy to sink your teeth into it for long play sessions.
The 2016 series entry Boxboxboy introduced the ability to use two sets of boxes, making for more complex puzzles. However this was scrapped completely in favor of returning to the traditional single box set. What’s new to Bye-Bye Boxboy are different types of boxes, such as the remote-controlled boxes, bomb boxes, warp boxes, and rocket boxes, which are indeed as awesome as they sound. Each of these present fun new ways to solve puzzles, but sadly they’re limited to a small number of stages that come and go too fast. Another new addition is Qbaby, an absolutely adorable tiny box that must be escorted to the end of the level. The Qbaby levels are straightforward at first, but get deeper and more involving later on and were some of my favorite puzzles. The inclusion of amiibo is new to the series, as well, allowing players to scan in their Kirby amiibo to add new costumes for Qbby to rock. Although the new additions are fun, they feel like a small part of the larger experience, which closely resembles the previous installments in the series. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it feel more like DLC than a truly new experience.
The onset of the adventure features little challenge as old and new elements are introduced to players of all experience levels. After the first few worlds, the challenge ramps up at a nice pace. For expert players, Challenge Worlds unlock after the main story worlds are complete and bring forward more difficult stages. A hint option exists in case the going gets too tough; for the cost of one play coin, the solution to the current puzzle is revealed.
The Boxboy series seemingly came out of nowhere and launched a simple yet challenging puzzle series with an adorable protagonist. Bye-Bye Boxboy gives Qbby a great send-off with some really fun additions to the series despite losing one of the more interesting abilities from the previous installment. With over 20 worlds of puzzles to explore and even more challenge worlds to unlock, Bye-Bye Boxboy will keep even the most seasoned puzzle players busy for quite some time.