BYE-BYE BOXBOY! (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Lex Firth 07.05.2017 2

Review for BYE-BYE BOXBOY! on Nintendo 3DS

It's been just two years since the original launch of HAL Laboratory's BOXBOY!, but the surprise smash puzzler has already become an eShop essential. Its surprisingly deep puzzling gameplay, wrapped up in a gorgeously minimalistic art style, has won over fans worldwide, and it's safe to say adorable rectangular protagonist Qbby (that's "cube-ee") has become one of the Nintendo family, even receiving his own amiibo in the process. Just as soon as he swept into the 3DS' library, his story appears to be coming to an end, but is BYE-BYE BOXBOY! a suitable last hurrah for the black-and-white brainteaser?

Despite this being Qbby's third outing, very little has changed since his first incarnation in 2015. It's for good reason, however - aesthetically, the first game oozed style, with its simplistic monochrome look (paired with a similarly conservative chiptune soundtrack) providing a memorably unique experience. It's light on story and completely free of dialogue, and the action begins almost immediately - and it's action that BOXBOY! and BOXBOXBOY! veterans will be familiar with.

The franchise's central mechanic - the fact that Qbby can spew boxes forth from his body to use as platforms, stopgaps, and so forth - remains fully intact, and for the first few stages it seems as if BYE-BYE BOXBOY! could well be a disappointing rehash of the design of its predecessors, with an opening tutorial world almost perfectly echoing that of the first two instalments. It's in the following worlds, however, that it really comes into its own and marks this third entry as a real highlight.

This comes in the form of a set of new characters (if a group of differently-coloured squares could even be called that): the Qbabies ("cube-babies"). These are smaller versions of Qbby that not only inject a bit of colour into the BOXBOY! world (gone are the black and white stages of the first two games, replaced with red, yellow and blue-themed planets), but also each give Qbby new abilities that switch up the formula massively. A particular highlight is the second power-up: a bomb-themed block that allows the player to destroy parts of the environment to build tunnels, create footholds and cause platforms to fall into place. The worlds themed around this mechanic are some of the most inventive, even mixing up the standard side-scrolling fare for a couple of tunnel-based levels that ask Qbby to burrow downwards rather than just walking to the right.

Screenshot for BYE-BYE BOXBOY! on Nintendo 3DS

It's times where the central gameplay is played with so heavily like those levels that BYE-BYE BOXBOY! really shines. Coming off the back of BOXBOXBOY!, a game that provided an acceptable sequel but didn't really refresh the original game, this entry is a real breath of fresh air, with a genuine attempt made to flesh out the series' world and literally colour in Qbby's surroundings.

Another new feature is the use of amiibo - specifically, those from HAL Laboratory's Kirby series. Scanning Kirby, Waddle Dee, Meta Knight or King Dedede will unlock a special themed costume for each character, and while it's not exactly game-changing, it's yet another example of the love and care that's gone into the game and the franchise as a whole. The costumes themselves are adorable, but it's a shame that Qbby's own amiibo seems to have been left behind in Japan; the Game Boy-style monochromatic visual filter the figurine offered in the version of the game released in its homeland is available as standard here, but a small in-game mention of the amiibo may give hope for a future release.

Fans of BOXBOY! will already know whether or not they want to pick up this game, and it's equally accessible to newcomers, too, with a host of tutorials. For those who have followed Qbby's adventures for the last two years, it's a no-brainer: BYE-BYE BOXBOY! provides a fitting end to the series, with the familiarity of the gameplay complementing perfectly its newer facets.

Screenshot for BYE-BYE BOXBOY! on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

If this really is the end of BOXBOY!, then it's an excellent high to go out on. Qbby's puzzling adventures in BYE-BYE BOXBOY! make for just as much of an addictive, brain-tickling masterpiece as they did in 2015. The amount of new material in the game is laudable, and it's all employed successfully: this is a finale worth checking out, be it by newcomers or veterans, alike.

Developer

HAL Laboratory

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I still need to play BOXBOXBOY!. I loved the original, one of the few newer Nintendo games I have on my 3DS that I've played rather obsessively.  It's nice to see the series holds up.

I hope the rumour of a trilogy retail release come to fruition, since I've missed out on all of these. I'd not even heard of it, strangely enough, until this review!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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