Bplus' ''Best of'' collection delights way more than you might expect.
Austrian developer Bplus doesn't take no for an answer, and why should they? Their last major game, PUZZLEBOX setup, was a surprisingly addicting and enjoyable game. Naturally, they tried various other concepts with games like Bit Boy!! and Plattchen Twist 'n' Paint. While none were of equal quality, you can't fault the developer for trying something out of a comfort zone. Their next step in this evolution is Puzzle Box Maker, a curious title that delivers a ''best of'' pack of their previous work. They’ve thrown that work into a new concept, which works much better than you might expect.
In Puzzle Box Maker, you play or create a level that can be played in a multitude of ways. The selection includes Run (turns your creation into an endless runner), Kubi (explore a 2D level and collect everything) and Copycat (use various colors to fill in a puzzle). The variety of stages is truly the best part about the game. There is surely something for everyone, which should make a lot of people happy. Not all of the modes work great, mind you. Claw, where you try to grab coins and bring them to safety, feels extremely floaty. Never felt that I truly had a good grip on it, which made for some awkward moments.
Personally I found it a joy to make levels in Puzzle Box Maker. The simple and direct tools made it possible to create something in literal minutes. You can make some of the weirdest designs, and share them for the world to see. It opens up for endless possibilities and a solid amount of replay value. The major complaint here is that you can't really edit the positioning of anything, outside of the placement of blocks and colors. The enemies and objects that you find in certain stages are left to luck, which results in some unfortunate end results. In that sense, I wish that either the randomizer was better or that I could directly impact the position.
The best way to experience Puzzle Box Maker is with a friend. In handheld you can put it flat on a table, each take a Joy-Con and each have your own section of the screen. It seems so obvious to do that I wonder why more games haven't done it yet. Of course, the co-op action can still be enjoyed the regular way on a television for a regular slew of chaos. Alone or together, it all looks colorful and crisp. While some of the elements don't completely gel together, it is something you can overlook in the long run.
While Puzzle Box Maker isn't executed well in every way, it delights more than it disappoints. Sure, your creations may not always work for all modes, but the results are funny to witness nonetheless. The bigger problem is the Claw mode, and the random placement of certain objects. It loses some of the polish found in other places of this collection. Overall though, alone or with a friend, Puzzle Box Maker offers hours of content for those willing to jump in.