Posted by Lee Meyer
Lock the box and throw away the key
With a huge assortment of puzzle titles on the eShop, PouncingKitten's Boxzle doesn't do nearly enough to set itself apart from the rest of the litter. With three variations on the "sliding box" mechanic the potential for clever and satisfying puzzles is there, but poor visuals and sound, generic presentation and immediately frustrating gameplay leave Boxzle with little to offer in the midst of the countless other puzzlers available for the 3DS.
Boxzle presents the player with an image superimposed and shuffled randomly into squares that make up a box. Depending on the mode, the player must either slide each individual square or slide lines of squares until the image is successfully put back into place; a third mode combines both methods. Each puzzle can be solved in four difficulty settings/sizes, from small to "insane." There are no on-screen instructions, and while it didn't take us long to figure out what we were supposed to do, going in without knowing of which buttons controlled which actions added to the frustration.
The bottom screen shows a flat version of the side of the box the player is currently working on, as well as the time spent on the current puzzle and the amount of moves taken. Using the bottom screen to complete a puzzle on the top screen results in a disconnect to the experience that also takes away what little immersion the game offers.
A game based entirely on putting pictures together lives or dies on the presentation, and Boxzle fails in this regard. The images are a disappointingly low resolution, and it's incredibly hard to distinguish one square from another thanks to the blurriness and soft quality of the already-generic flower/nature images that make up the bulk of the collection. We "accidentally" solved several puzzles without even knowing we were close to the solution thanks to the blurry nature of the images, especially on the higher difficulty settings. While it was somewhat amusing to blow through several larger puzzles so quickly, stumbling upon the answer was very unsatisfying. The audio, meanwhile, consists of one low-budget song looping throughout, which quickly becomes grating. The 3D effect does nothing to add to the experience besides making it even less visually appealing.
That's really all there is to Boxzle. Players will likely tire of Boxzle long before getting through all 120 puzzles (which is a bit misleading, since each image is solved on four different sizes). There's no incentive to go back and get better times or use less moves, and most players will get frustrated or bored long before completing the the "Insane" difficulty.
Boxzle had the potential to be a fun little puzzler, but the lack of variety, poor presentation and frustrating gameplay make this a game to skip. With alternatives like the Picross series, colourful new concepts like Tappingo and tried-and-true big names like Pokemon Link: Battle!, there are plenty of better options to scratch that puzzler itch.