BOXBOY! Review

Ryan Bates


  • Puzzle


  • 1


  • Nintendo


  • HAL Laboratory

Release Date

  • 04/01/2015
  • Out Now


  • 3DS


This box rox my sox.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo the Ninja Turtle once said, “Cowabunga!” I believe I said both at some point while playing BOXBOY!, the clever and addicting puzzler whose simplistic design challenges you with the not-so-simple task of getting from Point A to Point B.

The hero of BOXBOY! is Qbby, a boy box. Qbby's goal is simple: get from one end of the stage to the other. Along the way crowns will appear; collecting those adds to your medal count, which can buy unlockables later in the game. Qbby can walk and jump, but that can't always get him across the level, for boxes, if you haven't noticed, don't jump all that high.

What Qbby can do to aid him in his journey is… make more boxes via a method that kind of looks like pooping. Bathroom humor aside, making boxes is the key to clearing the challenges. Boxes can be used as stepstools, stairs, and bridges to scale tall pillars or safely cross over pits or spikes. In later stages, boxes can be used as hooks to latch on to platforms and ledges, or he use his boxes to snake through tight passages, reeling himself in from one end to another. The variety of ways Qbby can use his boxes creates, in turn, a variety of ways to clear a level.

The aforementioned crowns, however, throw in an extra challenge, as they're usually in less accessible places. Furthermore, Qbby has two regulations he must be mindful of, one being the amount of boxes he can make consecutively, and the other the amount of boxes he can produce throughout the level. Qbby's ability to make boxes is unlimited, but exceed the given amount and all remaining crowns in the level fade away, causing perfectionists like myself to weep loudly and gnash their teeth.

The mark of a good puzzle game is one that challenges the mind, features clever puzzles, and makes the player want more. BOXBOY! delivers in spades. True story: I was playing BOXBOY! late one night, and I had come across a tricky level in World 5, which I had cleared, but one crown was evading my grasp. I attempted to snag that crown for nearly an hour, but finally gave up for the night, turning my attention to another article I was working on (and catching up on Sailor Moon Crystal—don't judge). But even as I jumped in the shower before bed, I was still thinking about that crown.

Finally, while still in the shower (where everyone has their greatest ideas) I thought, “Well, what if I push Qbby over the edge with boxes until he's far out enough, then reel him back in?” It was dangerous, but it could work. I finished up my shower as quickly as I could just to get back to the New 3DS and try it.

It worked. I got the crown, as well as an immense ego boost. I got that crown. I figured it out. I got that perfect clear. The level design is so diabolically simple that when players figure out how to reach that door, or avoid that laser, or grab that crown, it's outrageously satisfying, and drove me headlong into the next level.

The crazy thing about BOXBOY! as viewed from a 2015 perspective by someone old enough to buy the original Game Boy is that there is nothing fancy about the game. It's a box with legs, climbing platforms, making boxes, in black and white. Simple lines and geometric shapes. For those of us who grew up with the original Game Boy, it's like a return home. And the story told in the interludes between levels is adorable without any need for voiceovers or even words.

If you're a puzzle fan, you must get BOXBOY! Even if you're not the biggest puzzle fan, but you're a fan of a good challenge, BOXBOY! is for you. Simply put, BOXBOY! rocks. Whether or not you're wearing socks is irrelevant.


Code provided by publisher. Exclusive for Nintendo 3DS and New 3DS.


Box art - BOXBOY!
Simple, yet challenging design.
Thoroughly addictive.
Solving the game's puzzles is immensely satisfying, and makes you crave for more.
Qbby is cute -- there, I said it -- and the story is adorable.
Black and white graphics and simple mechanics sing a love song to the original Game Boy.