Box Align for the Nintendo Switch Review: Boxing Clever
I’m never one to shy away from a puzzle game. In fact the puzzle genre is one of my favourite. Especially as the puzzle genre is one of the few that can evolve in lots of interesting ways.
So when I was given the opportunity to review Box Align I just couldn’t resist.
To the untrained eye, Box Align looks just like any other “block sliding” game. I have to admit I thought the same at first glance. It’s not until you actually play it that you realise there’s a lot of rules and restrictions.
For one, the puzzles are all 3D. Because of this, you need to be aware of the blocks above and below. Box Align is essentially a “colour match” style puzzler. You must make at least a three of a kind to clear the blocks. As mentioned these matches can be made upwards too
In terms of content there isn’t much here. Despite it looking like a smartphone game, you won’t find the usual tropes here. There’s no underlying mechanics, store fronts, premium currencies or events. Box Align is a straight up puzzle game. There isn’t even a proper title screen! You are literally dropped into the puzzles.
Speaking of puzzles, there are 99 in total. While that may not sound a lot, they rapidly increase in difficulty. It wouldn’t be a lie to tell you that I’ve been stuck on a particular puzzle for several nights.
To make things even trickier there are additional rules to slow your progress. For example, aside from having to match at least three of the same colour. Each move you make has to be a winning move. What I mean by this, is when you move a block, that block must make a match. You can’t simply shuffle the blocks around like a Rubix Cube.
Failing to make a match results in failure. Herein lies my main gripe with the game. This game will not hold your hand. Aside from tutorials on how the game works and how each block behaves. There is no “hint” system here for if you get stuck. There isn’t even an “undo” or “step back” button.
With some puzzles being quite large, it can take a while to work through them. Especially when you consider each puzzle seemingly only has one real solution. Therefore to spend upwards of 15-20 minutes on a puzzle only to fail, possibly due to error or a misplaced block the whole puzzle is reset.
Now you have to manually remember the solution for the first part, just to get back to where you were. Having to do this over and over for the same puzzle got mildly frustrating. Which I felt is at odds with the otherwise “zen” approach the game has taken.
Sound design is as minimal as the graphics. You have a very relaxed backing soundtrack play throughout. Since this seems to be the only piece of music in the game it can get repetitive. Visuals, whilst simplistic are at least functional, clean and colourful.
You have the option to play with controllers or touch screen whilst in handheld mode. The game ran fine in both handheld and docked modes which is always a bonus.
If you can cope with the overly simple UI and lack of any real content or replayability outside of the 99 puzzles, then this game is a bargain. Particularly at £1.79/$1.99 on the respective eShop’s this is fantastic value. Box Align doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. In a world flooded with “mobile” games, or mobile styled games I find that admirable.
If you can step up to the needlessly punishing, almost “Roguelike” style trial and error nature to the puzzles then you’ll love this. For any others that have a temper problem or liable to “rage quit” you may want to skip this one.
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Review copy provided by QUByte Interactive Ltda