Set in a beautiful papercraft world, Pile Up! Box by Box is a cute platforming adventure filled with puzzles and exploration. Its only problem is that it’s over far too soon.
Completely free of combat and any real danger, Pile Up! Box by Box is marketed squarely as a family-friendly game. It’s the sort of thing that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike – and the fact that it supports up to four-player local co-op means the whole family can enjoy it together. Its violence-free sensibilities doesn’t mean that Pile Up! is boring, however; far from it. Its bright, colourful worlds are a pleasure to explore, and its wealth of puzzles mean that it’s engaging from start to finish, whatever your age.
Right from jumping into the game’s hub world, you’ll see that fun is the order of the day. This isn’t a game about taking things seriously; it’s all about having fun and playing around in your surroundings. As a box, you can run and jump, though by interacting with other boxes, you can expand your abilities. A jet pack box allows you to reach new heights, for example, while a frog-like box with a sticky tongue will allow you to grab out-of-reach objects or cross certain gaps.
Many of Pile Up! Box by Box‘s puzzles simply revolve around traversing the environment. You’ll need figure out how to climb a tall ledge, reach a new platform or activate a switch to open a door. Often, you’ll need to build your own staircase by finding boxes in the area. Other times the solution might be something a little more creative. If you’re playing in multiplayer, you’ll have it a little easier as you’ll have up to four boxes – each player character – at your disposal that can be stacked and used to climb. Teamwork is key, though, and if players don’t co-operate, then cardboard carnage could ensue.
Each of Pile Up! Box by Box‘s levels are wonderfully unique, with their own theme and goal to complete. One, which takes place in a cave behind a cinema – cleverly named ‘Citizen Cave’ – tasks you with powering up the six bulbs required to restart the cinema’s projector. Another has you recovering a frog mama’s four babies. New mechanics are added in each level, too, so the proceedings never get boring or too repetitive.
In fact, the main problem with Pile Up! Box by Box is that there’s just not enough of it. I completed the game’s main levels in less than three hours. Just when you’re getting into the swing of it, it’s over. There’s reason to go back, at least – each level is bursting with collectibles, and picking up some of those presents a challenge in itself. So, it’s worth playing through levels more than once to try and grab everything. And if you’re playing with friends, there are a number of minigames – like football and tic-tac-toe – that you can jump into and extend the fun.
Considering its asking price of £13.49/$14.99 though, Pile Up! Box by Box‘s brevity is understandable. For the price, there’s the right amount of content here, but the concept leaves you wanting more. Hopefully new levels will be made available as DLC at some point; there’s definitely enough potential here to be expanded upon, and more box-based shenanigans would go down a treat.
No matter your age, there’s plenty of fun to be had in Pile Up! Box by Box. Its papercraft world is beautiful, and exploring each of its levels proves to be an entertaining endeavour filled with enjoyable puzzles. It’s just a shame that it’s all over too quickly. But if being left wanting more is the only real problem, then that’s a pretty good sign of a great game.
Pile Up! Box by Box Review: GameSpew’s Score