Succinct and beautifully designed, Boxes: Lost Fragments is the game for you if your brain absolutely loves a puzzle to sink into. There are tons of them here, one interlinking into another, as you try to open the game’s titular boxes – each one with an important relic waiting to be revealed.
If you’ve played The Room or any of its sequels, then Boxes’ inspirations will be very clear to see. Is it so similar that it becomes derivative? Perhaps. But Boxes: Lost Fragments still presents its own take on the puzzle genre and even if the motions you go through feel a little too familiar, its puzzles are its own and offer a pleasing challenge to all who take them on.
Know what you’re doing, and Boxes will only take two or three hours to get through. For most people, though, you can expect to spend around five hours with the game as you puzzle through its clever, mechanical boxes. Often, not knowing what to do next might be a simple case of simply not knowing where to click on screen. There are some fiendish switches hidden on the odd underside, for example. You’ll often need to click just about everywhere to ensure you’ve not missed anything, and it can feel like pot luck.
Thankfully, there is a hint system built-in that, when activated, will show you where you need to click next. It won’t help solve puzzles, but for the moments where you’re not sure where you need to look next, it can be very helpful.
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When you’re in the throes of working through one of Boxes: Lost Fragments’ finest puzzles, watching how one switch activates another section of the box, which in turn leads to another, then another, it feels wonderful. You’ll need to complete block-sliding puzzles, light puzzles and other types of mental workouts and, really, none of them by themselves are too difficult. Once you’re on the path of opening up a puzzle, you’ve done the hardest part.
There are five “chapters” of Boxes to complete, all of which have four individual box puzzles to solve. Solve each of those, and you’ll be given a relic, which can be used somewhere in that chapter’s main environment. Solve that overarching puzzle to open the way to the next chapter. Boxes: Lost Fragments really is wall-to-wall puzzles, and if you love testing out your brain, you’re going to love it.
Perhaps the thing we love most about Boxes is just how sumptuous it looks. The boxes here have been designed with a huge amount of care, and seeing them come to life as sides open up and locks flip open is a real joy. The sound effects of each part, too, have been expertly chosen. It all comes together for a beautiful experience that absolutely sucks you in.
Our only real reservation about Boxes: Lost Fragments is how close it is to The Room. But should we really chastise it for taking heavy inspiration from a classic puzzle game? Whatever the answer, we can’t deny that this is a beautiful, clever puzzle game that’s provided us with a few hours of engaging gameplay. The puzzles here are excellent, and it’s a visual treat.