(DSiWare)

Box Pusher (DSiWare)

Game Review

Box Pusher Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

You certainly can't claim false advertising

So far, GameOn has made its name on DSiWare with simple games executed well. Box Pusher does nothing to buck that trend, offering a gaming experience that manages to be both vast and shallow, but what this game lacks in personality it easily makes up for with its strong and clever central conceit.

Box Pusher, for those of you who haven't gathered from the title, is a game about pushing boxes. Technically there is more than one character who engages in pushing boxes so it should probably be called Box Pushers, but let's not pick nits.

Each level has you pushing boxes from their starting points to target areas, and here's where the game gets interesting: the boxes can end up in any of several target areas, meaning you're likely to need a lot of trial and error before you find out exactly what needs to be done in any given stage to get them there. This could have been woefully confusing, but instead the game is just clever enough to keep you guessing, and never cruel enough to frustrate you needlessly.

At the end of each level you will be ranked from one to five stars, which is based on the number of steps you took to complete the level, not the amount of time that has elapsed. This emphasises brain work over speed, and it's a great fit for players whose minds are more nimble than their fingers. There is also a rewind mechanism, similar to the one found in Pullblox, which lets you retrace your steps and try out different methods of solving the puzzle. This is a welcome feature, believe us...it got a lot of use!

You might be wondering a bit why we haven't talked about the game's story, but that's because it doesn't have one. GameOn, true to the name of their company, doesn't waste time justifying the bizarre compulsion of their titular box pushers...they just want to get to the fun.

This, unfortunately, is where the game seems to miss a trick. A plot may not be necessary, per se, but some sort of connection to their characters, or knowledge of their motivations, would have made the game a bit more engaging. As it is, your characters remain nameless, and they might as well be cursors. In fact, the game's manual dismissively refers to them as "pawns". Think of how Mario would feel if he was referred to in such a way!

The lack of personality behind the gameplay fortunately stays put, and doesn't trickle down to the visual presentation or the music. Visually, the game is impressively varied. The large number of levels span several different tile sets, and none of them are unclear or wear our their welcome. For every five stages you complete you'll unlock another batch of five, and just when you're getting tired of the visuals there's a brand new tile set on the horizon.

Musically, the game is superb. The background tracks are always pleasant and are periodically gorgeous, with soothing, meandering tunes to keep you company all through the game. Whatever our concerns about the limitations of the gameplay, we genuinely couldn't have asked for a better soundtrack.

The real question for prospective gamers is how much patience they will have for a game that revolves entirely around pushing boxes, without any special items or enemies to keep them on their toes or to radically alter gameplay. We don't see this as a problem — though we do feel compelled to point it out — but if anybody is let down by this game, it's likely not because they disliked it, but rather because it became dull.

A multiplayer feature aims to keep things fresh, with a level editor allowing you to challenge your friends to ever more devious box pushing puzzles, but, again, with an absence of game-changing items, the levels are likely going to feel pretty similar after a while, however cruel your intentions.

Conclusion

It's a bit limited in scope, but Box Pusher is definitely fun. A generous amount of levels, a great soundtrack and an intuitive level editor all come together to elevate this one from the crowd. Our only real caution is that the excitement of shoving boxes around is likely to wear off well before you've made it to the end of the game. For those looking for quick, clever puzzles on the go, you could certainly do much worse.

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User Comments (21)

Superducky

#1

Superducky said:

Unexpectedly high score for a game that revolves solely around the pushing of boxes. Interesting.

accc

#2

accc said:

It's just Sokoban. There are (literally) millions of Sokoban puzzles that you can play for free on just about any system or web browser. No need to spend money on this.

Stuffgamer1

#3

Stuffgamer1 said:

The modern Boxxle. Had that game as a kid, and it was okay. Funny that the game's premise lives on all these years later. Surprising that Chicken got a game to review that doesn't completely suck, too. ;)

Mowzle

#4

Mowzle said:

Thanks for the nice review CB.
I think I'll go find me some boxes to shift :P

HanuKwanzMasBif

#5

HanuKwanzMasBif said:

Wow. I'm really surprised. I mean, it's a game that solely consists of pushing boxes, and Chicken Brutus is reviewing it, but it actually got a good score.
500 points is too much, though.

Knuckles

#7

Knuckles said:

No complaining about your article Chicken Brutus, but the headline led me to think it was a bad game. Great review, by the way how does it feel to write a review about a "good" game for a change?

bonesy91

#8

bonesy91 said:

Hmm so now we have a "Pull block game" and A "Push block game".... Guess I'll wait for the "Action adventure block game" :P lol but still, not bad, might check it out down the road.

chronicler

#9

chronicler said:

I can actually get something of similar quality on my Kindle for free, so I'll pass. But I'm glad that the game is supposedly good for such a simple concept.

paburrows

#13

paburrows said:

I remember loving Boxxle as a kid and loved it, it looks that Boxxle is actually better.

JoeysGirl

#15

JoeysGirl said:

I would have bought this if it had been 200 points. Oh well. Pass. :( Looks nice tho.

Undead_terror

#16

Undead_terror said:

i dont want to be complaining much like the rest of you but its a little to pricey,it is like sokoban(never got it)which is 200 and this is 500,now this game got lots more to it then sokoban such as graphics,levels,editor and so on,but i dont think people want to go pushing digital boxes for 500 or 5.00$ plus tax.what would be nice is that they reduce the price of dsiware on the 3ds or hell,even give the crap titles for free something like ios would do

Fuzzy

#17

Fuzzy said:

These types of games are pretty fun for quick bursts, but they could have been a bit more imaginative with the theme.

Tomatoboxer

#20

Tomatoboxer said:

The music was done by a person named Kai Walter. He's worked on a lot of games, and I'd say this is some of his best work.
(Also, this is my first post on the site. Good to be here!)

Dreadjaws

#21

Dreadjaws said:

Well, since this is Sokoban, and there are hundreds of free versions out there, I don't think I'll be getting it any soon.

I do like Sokoban, but so far the only incentive for this one is the portability.

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