By Henry Badilla / February 8th, 2018
|Title||Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure|
|Release Date||November 21, 2017|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC|
We live in a time where you can buy almost anything online and have it delivered to your home in a couple of hours. With Amazon making progress in deliveries by drone it’s interesting to think what would be the next step in delivery technology. According to Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure the next step is sentient boxes that will deliver themselves. And if this game is anything to go by, we will go back to picking things at the store by ourselves.
So we have a 3D platforming game inspired by games like Banjo Kazooie and Super Mario 64. The story is that the Global Post Office (GPO) is going bankrupt so they have started developing boxes that can deliver themselves. That’s where our protagonist, called Newbie the Box, comes into play. You will have to prove that the technology is ready for mass production by working on different trials while at the same time you have to fight against the Wild Cards, a group of rebel boxes that are against the GPO.
The game consists of 3 worlds that you can navigate at your leisure. Each world has a number of stamps that can be earned either by doing missions or found in the world by solving puzzles. A specific number of these is required to unlock the boss battle and advance to the next world. As you can expect there are other collectibles to be found like golden tapes, trapped boxes and secret diaries. These are not required for the main story but finding all will unlock different costumes for Newbie, so you may want to find them all.
Mechanically the game is quite simple. You can do a simple jump, or a high jump called unboxing. You are technically a matryoshka doll made of 7 boxes, so you can use the high jump up to 6 times in a row. If an enemy damages you, you lose a box, and if you have no boxes left you will respawn at the last checkpoint. This mechanic is nice and works well, but unfortunately, the biggest problem with the game comes from the mobility.
Since you’re a box, you don’t have legs or arms, meaning that you have to roll through the stages. And just in case you haven’t noticed, boxes are not particularly easy to roll. Which will translate to one of the worst platformers I have ever played. Even moving in a straight line is hard since you will be rolling in all directions. When you jump you usually hit a corner of the box with the floor which will make all jumps unpredictable. And the box carries momentum so it’s pretty easy to simply miss platforms because you’re moving too fast and there’s no way to stop.
But that’s not the only problem, the camera is awful. If you’re too close to a wall or corner it will move around making it almost impossible to know your exact location. If you’re under a small platform it will switch between a zoomed in camera and zoomed out camera constantly. And since the maps are 3D with a lot of sharp edges it’s easy to get stuck by simply moving around into rocks or cracks. Which justifies the fact that there’s a button dedicated to resetting your position.
Some quests will require you to drive a car to collect things. This is the worst driving I’ve seen in a game. You have to use the left analog to accelerate or reverse by pressing up or down respectively, while the left and right of the right analog will steer the car. As it happens with the regular movement, any edge of a rock will turn your car over and make it extremely hard to even drive a straight line.
There are three bosses in the game, all which are extremely easy, but since you will be fighting with the controller half the time they may present a challenge. They follow the classic formula of dodging a couple of attacks and then do a counter-attack but neither the design or combat is anything new or interesting.
Graphically the game looks fine. There are two worlds based on tropical islands and one is a snowy mountain. The graphics look good and the color palette is colorful enough to feel vibrant. There are some visual issues when the camera is zoomed out that can make certain things look blurry but nothing serious. You unlock different hats and accessories to customize Newbie but these don’t have any impact on the gameplay. The music is one of the best parts of this game, offering very tropical and upbeat music, definitely the highlight of the game.
To wrap this one up, Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is out for $30 on the Switch. And while it took me around 8 hours to beat the main game, I would not recommend this game to anyone. If you’re looking for a platformer there are definitely better options out there. The issues with the controls make this a very frustrating experience that made me want to throw my controller out of the window a couple of times. If you have a Youtube channel that consists of playing frustrating games, then this may be for you.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
3D platformerMerge Gamesnintendo switchProspect GamesUnbox: Newbie's Adventure