Rather than Bye-Bye Boxboy!, I said ‘hello!’ to BoxBoy for the first time when I got a chance to review this new 3DS eShop title this past week. The third game in the BoxBoy series may be its last, but like any HAL Laboratory game I have played, I found it addictive and fun and its made me curious to explore its prequels.
Being new to the series, I read a little about Qbby and his adventures in the series so far, turns out there is actually a story connecting the three games. It’s minimalist but sufficient, even charming, something you could say for Bye-Bye Boxboy! in general. You’re dropped right into the game upon launch and the presentation is technically very basic, but intentionally so. Gameplay is all about solving puzzles and getting Qbby, and eventually some smaller Qbby’s you have to escort, from point A to B. There is no pressure to beat a ticking clock fortunately, and you can restart on a screen as often and penalty-free as you like simply by pressing L+R at the same time, two design features I welcomed.I enjoy puzzle games like this, echochrome, Hue, The Bridge, but I don’t claim to be great at them. Bye-Bye Boxboy! gave me plenty of puzzles to noodle about as I worked my way through it. It’s not that the game has an overwhelming number of gameplay mechanics or requires twitch timing, it’s just that you have to get pretty creative with just a few basic mechanics.
As you can see from the screenshots, Qbby is simply a box with legs who can jump a short distance and also replicate himself. Initially you can only make two extra boxes, then up to five. More and more environmental/puzzle design elements come into play as you advance through some 180 stages, requiring you to deal with gravity, warping, escorting, and other challenges, but your core skills remain the same (and apparently the same from the previous two games, although I haven’t played those).
Qbby can only replicate boxes while staying attached to them, so your options aren’t overly crazy, but they’re diverse enough and the puzzles designed cleverly enough that there is an appreciable amount of variety in figuring out how to get across gaps, up to new heights, and passed hazards. Each stage has an additional challenge of snagging the crown pickup using only a certain number of boxes, too. This crown pickup is easy to spot, but, obviously, can be tricky to get to.
Bye-Bye Boxboy! is a succinct, value-packed title. It’s the bookend of a great puzzle series and it doesn’t try to be more than what it is — an addictive puzzler that’s accessible and not overly difficult. For only $5, it’s an excellent deal and can be enjoyed it short five minute spurts or for much longer at a time. No 3D support is included, so you can enjoy this just as well on a 2DS as a 3DS. If you’re into puzzlers, or this series already, this is probably the easiest recommendation I’ll make all year.