Art Style: BOXLIFE (DSiWare)

Game Review

Art Style: BOXLIFE Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Paul Schreiner

Thinking outside the box is strictly forbidden.

If there's one thing that can be said about Nintendo's Art Style series, it's that no two games are alike, and we wouldn't have it any other way. BOXLIFE is certainly another unique entry in the franchise: box 'em up and ship 'em out!

Greeted by a cute little theme song you will immediately notice - if you haven't from the title - that BOXLIFE is all about cubes and lots of sharp edges. Initially you will only have access to the R&D department, but there are fourteen stages in all which will have to be unlocked as you progress. You are presented with sheets of paper which have to be cut and rolled up in such a manner that at the end you're left with an exact amount of cubes and no left-over paper. There are ten sub-stages within each stage, which throw bigger and more complicated pieces of paper at you for you to overcome. Don't dawdle too long though: you only have a limited amount of time before you start losing points. If you're too slow you might not even be able to finish all of the paper sheets, which will create a noticeable dent in the end results.

It might seem all too easy at first, but soon you'll learn that mere paper cubes aren't a laughing matter, and scoring a perfect 100 is quite the task in the later stages. Why anyone would pour such avid research into the perfect cube will forever remain a mystery, but obsessive research has its advantages as you are promoted through said box mastery, which will in turn unlock the factory for you to tinker in.

While the factory will still have you making cubes, it plays out quite differently from R&D. In any given level you're allotted three minutes to make the most money (read: high score) you can through several means. Simply boxing up paper cubes one by one won't earn you much dough, but chaining precut boxes together will net you a nice bonus, meaning mucho dinero, amigo! That said, there is no way not to lose money in the process, as each parcel of paper wasted will ultimately count against your income. As you move the seemingly endless supply of paper downwards to make even more cutouts you're bound to be left with scraps only fit for shredding. At the same time bombs will fall from above - no, we're not exactly sure what strange company would intentionally try to obstruct its own manufacturing process either - and these bombs will take out the parcel it's sitting on and the four directly adjacent, all of which will be counted as waste. Fortunately, given enough time, you can clear bombs by boxing them up, which also provides you with a nice little bonus. In addition, you're able to earn (and lose) more cash as you play on the higher difficulty levels from a total of 8; watch out for increasingly frequent and shorter fused bombs. You can only gain access to them by being promoted in R&D, so it behooves you to do your best and gain those immaculate scores.

You accumulate wealth in the factory as you keep replaying the levels, and each new score - high score or not - will be added to your total income. As you reach pre-determined amounts you will be presented with new items for your humble abode as seen on the title screen - there are four sections that can be changed out via the D-pad and face buttons. It may not be much, but it still offers a nice little incentive to keep on going, as well as beating your own high score. For that purpose you can peruse your play session history via the income graphs for each level.

As with all of the Art Style games, BOXLIFE doesn't have a particularly fancy presentation, but, once again, it does work in its favor. Missing any real graphical splendor and offering very rudimentary sound effects, including a rather odd mix of animal noises, its music is always upbeat and quite enjoyable. The gameplay itself is rock-solid and the controls work exceptionally well, once you get used to where you can and can't cut - you can only cut from the outside or from precut sections. While it is possible to play the game by stylus alone it's recommended to play it in conjunction with the D-pad (buttons for lefties) which makes it easier and quicker to change from cutting and boxing to mending.


There's no doubt that Skip knows what they're doing when it comes to puzzle games. That much is clear from what we've seen. While BOXLIFE may not appeal to everyone, anyone who enjoys a good puzzle game won't be disappointed by this one. It provides plenty of challenge and longevity to make it a worthy investment, barring any paper cuts.

From the web

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User Comments (31)



Stuffgamer1 said:

This looks a bit too tough for me. Or at least it looks like the wrong kind of tough to me. I'll just go back to my "Professional" DLC Cuboid puzzles.



Corbs said:

I can get tough quickly. I found that once you memorize the shapes of the various boxes, you'll see them better inside the puzzles themselves. But I had trouble on the Factory. I did not use the paper very efficiently.

I'll say this, this is easily my favorite Art Style game to date.



Dazza said:

Nice review Paul, I'll be sure to pick this up when it comes to Europe.



theblackdragon said:

"... it's recommended to play it in conjunction with the D-pad (buttons for lefties) which makes it easier and quicker to change from cutting and boxing to mending."

wait, what? i did not know this was possible. thanks for the tip!




I'll probably download this when it comes to the EU even though I'm not too sure about whether it'll appeal to me. Its only 500 points and an Art Style.

All the Art Styles have been 8s and 9s haven't they? My favourite so far is probably has ben Pictopict



terry908 said:

I like the game, but i would want more levels instead of 14 only.... the factory mode is just like endlessly updating the title screen.



DaVeMaN99 said:

Bah why aren't they making any more Art Styles for Wii?
I don't have a DSi, and so far Wii has 3 while DS has 4. (I think)



Bahamut_ZERO said:

@bboy: Oh no, Paul wrote the review. You didn't think Corbie gave this game something other than a 7

I'll pick this up eventually, but MFC and MvDK are my DSi priorities.



Grumble said:

I got this one a few days after it was released and I love it... I have never played anything like it before or since. Great imaginative and thought provoking puzzler! ;-D A+



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Bahamut ZERO: Not on this site, I'd wager. I think he's a pretty new member around here. That said, welcome, ballistikboy!

EDIT: Yep, I was right. I just clicked his name to see his profile. He joined 10 days ago.



Corbs said:

Here's how I rank them so far.
At least those that have been released in the US.




Slapshot said:

REALLY.... even after reading the review Im still not sure about this one. Better than Pictobits? Im not a big puzzle fan but love Pictobits......maybe I will download this one. Ill see what comes out next week first.



mr_benzedrene said:

Hey guys. Just got an account... mainly to say I really love this game! = ) The only other AS game I've played is Aquia, but I've gotta say: I like this one alot more. = P



Stuffgamer1 said:

Yeah, Aquia is the worst Art Style I've played thus far, and most people seem to agree it's pretty weak in the series.




DSiWare wise: 1. Pictopict, 2. Kubos, 3. Boxlife....I actually thought Aquite was pretty good once you got used to it and I really like Code. Nemrem was the real dud of the entire Arts Style series. Having said that, I would never say it was a disaster. I'd rate it at 6/10. Boxlife is a solid 8/10. Very pleased with it



9teen90eight said:

I really liked aquia, don't know why eople think its weak. The music was awesome, especially for level 1



djor said:

I would rate them them like this:


Those are the only ones that I have, and although AQUIA is last, I still like it very much. I don't know why ZENGAGE is getting such a bad reputation. It's great! DECODE looks like it would be one of the worst, though I can't say that because I've never played it. It just doesn't appeal to me. I'm skeptical about getting KUBOS, but I likely will buy it and enjoy it, as well.



Sir_Nova said:

I like them as ordered here, but these are just the ones I have:
1. BASE 10

I love all of them , and I'll get BOXLIFE as soon as I can get my dad off Pop+!!



Sir_Nova said:

Okay, I got BOXLIFE and I'd have to say...it pwnz. Though I haven't beaten it, I'd have to say it's my favorite Art Style game. The reason I don't like PiCTOBiTS is not because I don't like it, but rather because it doesn't seem like it was made by Art Style! I mean, there's no PUZZLE in it, it's just incredibly fast paced thinking.



Moochr said:

This game is hard, and factory mode is pointless. The creators did NOT think "outside of the box."

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