Ever miss the good old days when games didn't try so hard to be edgy? Back when it was all about fun? Prospect Games does. And so, they've decided to create Unbox, a fresh new 90s style 3D platformer in the vein of Spyro the Dragon, Banjo Kazooie and Super Mario 64. They've managed to capture the 90s feel in Unbox no doubt, but maybe they captured it a little too well.
The game is available on PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Store. Also available on Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
The global postal service is in financial trouble. In a desperate attempt to stay in business, the GPS created self-delivering boxes. You play as Newbie, the latest and most advanced self-delivering box ever made. With your advanced technology, only you can save the GPS. This is the most believable and compelling story I've ever heard. Kidding aside, it's as good an excuse as any for a game about boxes.
For a cast of cardboard boxes, there's quite a bit of character among them. Throughout the game, you'll be doing errands for some of the quirkiest characters from the GPS. There's no doubt younger gamers will find unbox quite entertaining, but it's also surprisingly appealing even for the more mature gamers.
Unboxing can get you some serious air time, opening up a lot of avenues for platforming and exploration. There are several worlds, each with its own theme. The general objective is to collect enough stamps to challenge an area's boss before moving on to the next world. You can earn these stamps by completing side-quests or simply finding them scattered across the map. Side-quests and boss-fights creatively make use of the gameplay mechanics, but the charm of exploring the sandbox for collectibles and platforming wears off pretty soon.
Your box's hit detection is so narrow that you pretty much need pinpoint precision for picking up some of the smaller collectibles. Same goes for the area-of-effect in your ground slam, requiring you to almost be exactly on top of an erratic enemy to take them out.
Occasionally, you'll encounter missions that let you drive vehicles. Yes, you can drive vehicles in Unbox, and they surprisingly handle well. Some of the more combat oriented missions even have weapon pickups. The targeting system is surprisingly fine-tuned. You can automatically lock-on to enemies with the press of the button. When the reticle is red, it means there's an obstacle between you and your target. When it's green, then you're clear to fire. The only problem in combat is locating weapon pick ups, as they're not always clear to see. Thankfully most of the combat missions have them spread out well.
The entirety of the game modes are fun, but the game's charm doesn't save it from feeling repetitive by the time you reach the 2nd world. Perhaps the best part of Unbox lies in its multiplayer mode. The game ditches online multiplayer for a welcome throwback to split-screen. Up to four players can play any of the games five game modes in any of the ten available levels. From collecting the most tapes, racing to the finish line, and knocking your opponents into the water with fireworks, multiplayer is an incredibly fun mode to enjoy with friends.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
There's a lot of personality in Unbox. Each highlights a variety of backdrops from tropical islands to snowy mountain tops with matching tunes that fit right in with the game's overall appeal. I would never have thought that I could ever find a cardboard box adorable. You can dress up your box with all sorts of unlockable cosmetic items from the Swift Tailoring NPC. It's a good thing that Unbox's visual style is alluring because the graphics really isn't up to modern standards technically speaking.
The game could have seriously benefited from some improved lighting, anti-aliasing, and higher quality shadows. Apart from all this, I had to deal with a couple graphical glitches as well, like clipping through walls and the occasional jitters. Thankfully these don't happen all that often, and when it does, you can choose to respawn at your last checkpoint.
The platforming mechanics makes for some chaotic fun, especially when playing split-screen with friends. The graphics may not be up to snuff from a technical standpoint but it's enchanting visual style and exuberant soundtrack may be enough to divert you from its graphical shortcomings.
Unbox is a successful nod to the 3D platforming sandboxes of the 90s. If you're looking to take a break from the complexities of modern games, Unbox is a good choice, though there are games out there like Lego Marvel's Avengers that does it a smidge better. Unbox's concept is pretty promising though, perhaps a more fleshed out sequel would rank higher in the list.
|+ Nostalgic||– Repetitive|
|+ Amusing characters||– Subpar graphics|
|+ Vivid worlds||– Boorish controls|
|+ Entertaining local multiplayer||– Uncommon technical issues|