A boy, a girl, and their love of boxes
Box Boy’s first monochromatic puzzle solving adventure slipped under the radar for many 3DS owners back in 2015. Its sequel BoxBoxBoy! added a new character and was released the following year. Now Box Boy + Box Girl joins the Nintendo Switch lineup adding a two player cooperative campaign and more than 270 total levels. My first foray into Box Boy was with the original on the 3DS. I enjoyed the simplistic visuals and the overall puzzling nature of building blocks and completing levels.
Box Boy + Box Girl is a puzzle game at its core. The main goal is to get to the end of the small stages by jumping over gaps, creating steps, placing boxes on switches to open up doorways and more. Completing each stage by limiting the number of boxes you use and collecting the crowns strewn about the level will net you coins and medals. The monetary rewards can be used for aids which can add to the number of blocks you can make at one time, keep you safe from harmful electric currents, and much more. The medals can be traded in for cool costumes which allows you to outfit either Box Boy or Box Girl with hats, eyes, mouths, and clothing.
Box, Locked, and Loaded
Levels in Box Boy + Box Girl are small and linear in how you solve them. Solving them with the minimal number of boxes is the key to success and more medals though just completing a level can be difficult. You move Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy around the level with the left control stick and jump with B. Both characters can create boxes, though in some levels the number of boxes a character can create at any one time may differ. When you create boxes you can make a line, or step for your character to walk across on hop up. Boxes can be tossed with Y and reset with the X button. If you are playing as both Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy alone, you can cycle through each character using the shoulder buttons. Later in the game you learn other abilities, one favorite of mine is the ‘hook shot’ like ability which pulls you towards your starting block which adds a unique way of traversing the levels.
The game is broken up into a few worlds that have a theme or style to them. Early on for instance you are limited to a few boxes you can create and rely mostly on covering up spike pits or building steps to reach the end door. There’s another world that has you maneuvering around electric blocks that are an instant death to your boxed character. One world that I enjoyed a lot introduced button switches which could be activated by standing on them or by placing a block over them. The doors and switch area was filled with some of my favorite puzzles, especially in the two player mode.
Progression in Box Boy + Box Girl happens by finishing the level and passing through the doorway at the end. Once you complete all of the levels in a given world, the next world opens up. You do not need to get all the medals or crowns in a level to progress, though doing so will help you 100% the game and reward you with all of the costumes for your characters.
The biggest addition to Box Boy + Box Girl is the multiplayer co-operative mode which allows you and a friend, or in my case, my 9 year old daughter to work together to reach the goal. Working together to solve puzzles with Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy reminded both of us of recent co-op puzzle games like Degrees of Separation, Pode, Unravel Two, and Fossil Hunters.
Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy can be dressed up with various parts and nearly endless possibilities in Box Box + Box Girl. Some of our house favorites include the Sherlock Holmes-like hat and mustache combination or the hilarious cat ears and fish body motif. Since getting 100% on each level requires a commitment to beating each puzzle in the best way possible, as well as, getting the crowns within each stage, unlocking everything can be very difficult.
Just a simple Boy…and Girl…and Qudy
Box Boy + Box Girl uses the same simple line art and light pastel colors of the other games in the series, though I do feel like the animation and movement in this game feels a bit better and tighter when jumping and creating lines or steps of blocks. The simplistic nature of the visuals though may be the biggest inherent flaw of the game, as many people will write off the game as being too simple or kiddie and never discover this eShop gem.
Beatboxing ballad, boops and bobs.
Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy don’t really make much sounds and the game itself is light on the soundtrack. The music is fitting and 8-bit-like which is fine and fits with the aesthetics of the game. The blips and bops of the characters as you create blocks, jump, or victory tunes after a level complete overall fit well into the ‘box’ that is Box Boy + Box Girl on Nintendo Switch.
During my time with Box Boy + Box Girl I never encountered any bugs or glitches. The game ran smoothly in both handheld and docked modes which wasn’t surprising given the visually simplicity and smoothness of the Switch title.
Unbox fun with a friend
Box Boy + Box Girl is a fun platformer puzzle game with the added bonus of including a two-player cooperative layer to its already excellent game play. The game does reward you for your hard work in completing each level with a plethora of costumes and accessories for Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy.
- Cooperative mode with a friend
- 270 levels of puzzling
- Some very challenging crowns
- Working with a friend can sometimes be frustrating
- Puzzle variety sometimes get stale
- Some very challenging crowns