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BoxBoxBoy! review

I loved the first BoxBoy! The line art! The friendly chunks of platform puzzling! The hero who could sprout cubes from his body to overcome hurdles! The exclamation mark! BoxBoxBoy! is an easy sell, then, and that’s before you get to its big idea.

And as big ideas go, it’s wonderfully fit for purpose: game-changing and yet endearingly modest. In BoxBoy! you could generate cubes for use in levels – in order to cover switches, say, or reach lofty platforms. In BoxBoxBoy! you can generate two sets of cubes at a time. Place one set to the left, and then place another set to the right. Ideal no-fuss sequelising.

It is quietly transformative, and yet it allows for a design that offers a great deal of continuity. BoxBoxBoy! looks just like its predecessor, with its simple, friendly geometrical visuals that might otherwise live in the back of a school exercise book, only coming to life with a brisk flicking of the pages. Structurally, it’s very familiar too, as you move through groups of themed puzzles, use Play Coins to unlock hints when you get stuck, collect crowns if you’re really acing a level, and cash in medals at the shop, where you can buy comics, music, and outfits for your chunky little avatar to wear. And – how’s this for confidence? – even once you’re in the levels themselves, you’ll see a lot of the same mechanics being used this time around: traveling platforms, spikes, drops, doors with multiple switches, plus and minus points that need connecting.

And yet, two groups of blocks! It changes everything! Suddenly you have to think about the correct order to do things in. Suddenly, you have to think about sequences and timing. Simple example: a traveling platform terminating in a locked door. The switch for the door is on a platform overhead, so you build a bunch of blocks and lob them up there to take care of that. But there’s another problem: a deadly laser firing down onto the traveling platform itself, that will kill you before you reach the door. One group of blocks are holding that switch down, but now you can create another, and hold them overhead to keep you safe from the laser. Perfect!