HAL continues its streak of puzzle awesomeness with this sequel.
Almost one year ago, I looked at BoxBoy. This Nintendo 3DS eShop title brought a slew of puzzle platform goodness to the system and constantly gave you new concepts to play around with. Qbby, the main character, had to create boxes out of thin air and use them to create new ground to stand upon. Every world made the game a little harder, but its solid progression really shone through all of it. Now all of these memories return with the sudden announcement of a sequel. I have been addicted all over again, even if a few elements feel very similar.
If you played the first game, you feel instantly at home. The sequel starts where the first game ended and I have to give HAL Laboratory props for that. Qbby and his friends saved the world and paid the ultimate price, but thanks to a magical floating diamond, they have now returned. The diamond gives Qbby the ability to create two sets of blocks, which makes way for a slew of new puzzles. After a tutorial of just a few puzzles, you are sent off on your forward. While the game is still relaxing, the pace is more brisk than the original.
I am okay with this, considering that the original started a bit too slow for my liking. Immediately from the first world in Another Box, you have to adapt and learn to use multiple sets of blocks to your advantage. This includes building bridges to close gaps, making pathways to push objects and throwing sets of block for some interesting results. The puzzle solving mechanics from the first game also make an appearance, so you still hang on the blocks to snag yourself some goodies. Objects like the lasers, star blocks, UFO catchers and conveyor belts also return to shake up the concepts learned in the original.
The crowns, goodies in this scenario, will make the journey significantly harder. You can get a hint to finish a level by paying Play Coins, but the game will never tell you how to get a crown. You have to be clever and get them before the maximum amount of blocks that you can use is reached. This aspect made a way bigger impact on me while playing BoxBoy! Another Box, though the rewards are somewhat similar to the original. You can get some comics featuring Qbby and his friends, the soundtrack and even some rather nice looking costumes. A nice touch is that the costumes you have earned in the original will carry over to the new game!
BoxBoy! Another Box offers 16 worlds with an additional Challenge World in which you unlock levels as you move along. In total, I completed all 127 levels and collected every crown within 13 hours, so you are absolutely getting a great experience out of it. Every single level felt thought through and restricted me to think within the boundaries of the space provided. You are more aware of this, because you can only place two row of blocks. If you place a third, the first one will disappear and thinking within that small space can be challenging towards the end. It is just so rewarding when you get it right and that makes the sequel even more of a winner.
The only negative point about is that the music feels extremely similar to the original. So much so that I constantly compared tracks to one another and felt just a tad letdown that they didn't push the envelope any further. You can say that, to an extent, about the look as well but it all still works. The cute monochrome world is still present and alive, with Qbby's adorable animations being the star of the show. I am not sick of it yet, so it isn't something that I scold them harshly for.
BoxBoy! Another Box is a more refined game than the original. While adding an extra row of blocks seems like a simple idea, it adds a lot to the overall structure of the game. It becomes more rewarding to find the right solutions and I was always engulfed by the game. While the look doesn't push the series forward, there wasn't inherently broken about it either. It is just a small misstep in a sequel that requires more from the player, but keeps the same cool attitude throughout. I wouldn't want to have it any other way.