Best Platform Game
Best Local Co-Op Game
Most Consistent Aesthetic
By this point in a franchise like Boxboy!, fatigue starts to set in. No matter how charming the premise or engaging the puzzles, anything so simple and straightforward is bound to wear out its welcome at least a bit and deliver diminishing returns to the player.
Boxboy! + Boxgirl! doesn’t have that problem.
Which is notable, frankly, for a number of reasons, the first of which is that the series has proven it isn’t immune to such pressures. The third 3DS entry, Goodbye, Boxboy!, was enjoyable on its own but definitely felt like the team was straining to come up with new ideas and using the cut concepts from earlier games.
Boxboy! + Boxgirl! doesn’t feel the weight of that fatigue, and it’s hard to say why. The new co-op functionality isn’t the reason; it’s an enjoyable mode, but it’s not like it’s recycling old ideas and using that novelty to cover up the reuse. It’s not because of some renewed cohesion; it’s still a collection of disparate levels with some separate smaller modes stacked atop. It’s been a bit of time since the last game, but given the process of moving to a higher-res platform, it’s doubtful that there was much time to rest between development of the two games.
It’s not Qudy. And we love Qudy.
Then what is it? It’s perhaps the most likely reason that the team at HAL saw the move to the Switch as a showcase for Boxboy! and did everything it could to put its best foot forward, perhaps holding ideas from the previous game to this one and perhaps pooling resources and enthusiasm into this at the expense of something else.
The one thing that’s clear: Boxboy! + Boxgirl! is absolutely worth your time on a system with such a deluge of constant releases that it needs to be. It’s well-paced, and each of the three campaigns manages satisfying exploration of its puzzle ideas without overstaying its welcome. It’s intact in the transition to an HD platform, maintaining its aesthetic while iterating on it just slightly enough to stay distinct. It conveys everything it needs players to understand to solve its puzzles without a word, a harder and harder achievement with more and more ideas in the mix.
If you haven’t played it yet, add checking these boxes to your to-do list.