Nintendo has been on something of a roll with surprise announcements lately, and one of them was the localisation of the third and final game in the BoxBoy trilogy, BYE-BYE BOXBOY! If you’ve already played the first two games, then this should come as no surprise — BYE-BYE BOXBOY is excellent.
If you haven’t played another BOXBOY before, don’t worry; you don’t really need to. The tale is told through silent vignettes, similar to those found in some of Nintendo’s iconic early games. BOXBOY is on a quest to vanquish the black smoke and save several worlds in the process; to accomplish his goal he will need to solve puzzles using his ability to spawn new blocks to clear obstacles, push buttons and guide his friends to safety.
It’s a game that hearkens back to the NES days, albeit with a bit of HAL Laboratory's more modern flourishes. There are no lengthy tutorials or cutscenes loaded with expositional dialog, just pure puzzle-platforming goodness. The puzzles range from simple stuff like throwing a block into a hole, to the more complex, involving using every tool in your arsenal to get through. On the whole, they’re not very challenging and make for a good game to relax with. The crowns you can collect in each stage through efficient completion add to the challenge, but ultimately they’re not all that daunting themselves.
Each planet will bestow upon BOXBOY a powerup that can only be used in that planet’s worlds, as the challenges are often themed around them. There’s some really fun stuff in there, like blocks that can explode or warp BOXBOY to their location. To create blocks, meanwhile, you just hold the Y button and push the d-pad in the direction you’d like to spawn them. When they first spawn they’re attached to your body, but you can choose to drop them by pushing down or throw them by pushing Y one more time. Each stage offers a different limit on the number of blocks you can spawn at once, and to add to it there’s also a number of boxes you’re allowed to spawn before the level’s crowns disappear, rendering you unable to collect them. We had little difficulty getting the crowns, in the end, especially when you consider the fact that you can push the L and R buttons at any time to restart from your last checkpoint.
If you’re more of a challenge seeker, there are bonus worlds that unlock after you beat the game that will provide a steeper challenge. Speaking of unlockables, there’s also a shop on BOXBOY’s ship from which you can purchase additional challenges, costumes, music and comics.
BYE-BYE BOXBOY!’s main story shouldn’t take you too long to complete. There are 8 worlds split across four planets, not counting the two challenge worlds that appear on the final planet after the credits roll. Even the most inexperienced of players are only in for a few hours of playtime, but what’s there is enjoyable. Unfortunately, once you’re done, you’re not likely to return. There’s little to encourage multiple playthroughs, as the costumes and comics don’t offer any material benefit in-game, though we did enjoy scanning our Kirby amiibo and playing as a square version of the pink puffball.
BYE-BYE BOXBOY! is a fitting farewell to our favourite monochromatic cuboid. Clever, but not too challenging puzzles, a decent if not toe-tapping soundtrack and an adventure that ends before it becomes tiresome make for a winning formula, especially considering the low asking price for a HAL Laboratory title. If you’re itching for something to do on your 3DS and want the most bang for your buck, you could do far worse.