There have been many strange stars of gaming from plumbers to blue hedgehogs but maybe none as strange as the character you play in Unbox, the new platformer from Prospect Games.
As the name suggests, you get to play as a box! Unbox is a 90s style 3D platformer about a future postal service where boxes deliver themselves. This would all be fine and dandy if it wasn’t for the Global Postal Service (GPS), run by Boss Wild and the Wild Cards, who want to take over the whole world’s postal service and retire our friendly boxes one way or another. To defeat them you’ll need to find and collect all the stamps hidden around the game world in a similar fashion to an old 90s platformer like Banjo Kazooie.
The world Unbox creates is a vast sandbox of different areas lovingly created with many neat little touches; mountains with eyes, loads of NPC boxes with different personalities and has a Saturday Morning kids cartoon feel to the whole story, though we’re talking the younger end of the market, here. It’s worth mentioning that most of the puzzles are based on getting to a point and finding an object with many of them being fetch-quest style objectives for certain characters. This is fine considering the fact that the platforms you need to traverse are well thought out and always worth getting to for the view alone.
To get around this world, you can bounce along and jump, but the standout move is to “Unbox”, to jump in mid-air, each time shedding a cardboard layer but also shrinking at the same time. You can do this a maximum of six times with full health and some areas require you to master this trick to get to them. The rest of the controls are pretty user friendly, though sometimes a little loose for my liking, but they’re certainly easy to pick up with a small tutorial in the first level.
The only criticism here is that the game is perhaps a little too easy at times, dialed down to a level that younger members of the family should be able to easily play without getting too stuck. That’s great if you want to play as a family but not so good if you’re looking for more of a challenge yourself.
Multiplayer provides a little more longevity with several modes which feel a little like they come from a Mario game. There are plain races, a mode where you need to collect items before other players and some levels where you need to grab weapons and fight other players, though it usually boils down to who has the best weapon first.
Unbox is a bright and breezy platformer which seems to take a lot of its inspiration from games like Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie while providing something unique at the same time. It may be a little easy and could do with a more robust multiplayer, but as an indie game it’s actually pretty fun and well worth picking up.