Unbox: Newbie's Adventure (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Flynnie 07.12.2017

Review for Unbox: Newbie

Following its initial PC release, Unbox: Newbie's Adventure arrives on the Nintendo Switch at a time when 3D platformers are making their comeback. Not only has the indie scene seen games like Yooka-Laylee, Snake Pass, A Hat in Time and Poi make their appearance this year, but there has been a timely return of Crash Bandicoot and Sonic, and a certain porky Nintendo mascot has also thrown his cap back into the ring. Prospect Games has delivered Unbox: Newbie's Adventure in somewhat of a renaissance period for the genre, but can it cut the mustard and stand out from the rest?

The premise of Unbox: Newbie's Adventure is fairly simple. The Global Postal Service (GPS) is struggling due to a large number of parcels going missing, and drastic measures are required to save the floundering business. Sure enough, GPS finds a way. The postal magnate uses a mysterious technology to create self-delivering cardboard boxes to help save its business, and put thousands of post workers into redundancy. Boss Wild serves as the main antagonist as he tries to conquer the world, and it is up to your customisable avatar (default name: Newbie) to save the day. Newbie is "born" and greeted by three other boxes who announce you as the prodigy that GPS has been waiting for, and so begins the adventure to fix the postal service and put GPS back in the black.

Screenshot for Unbox: Newbie's Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Ever wanted to roll around as an inanimate object in a 3D platformer? Ever wondered if rolling around as a cube could be difficult? Well, here's your chance to find out. Agility, immense speed and careful platforming are all required to complete the numerous amount of tasks across the four worlds. Strangely, the platforming elements feel reminiscent to that of Metroid Prime, as Newbie has the ability to jump pretty high and land on platforms from afar. Aiding this is Newbie's ability to "unbox," which gives the user an additional jump (like Metroid Prime's double jump). This can be done up to six times, but every time this is done it reduces Newbie's health gauge, which can be easily replenished by picking up life boxes, finding checkpoints, or respawning at any point in time.

The game does not implement a "life system," either (which seems to be a trend in 2017), so this allows the user to experiment and take risks with their platforming adventure… and it is needed. Unlike the glorious tight platforming in Metroid Prime, the quirky floaty mechanics of moving a cube-shaped box in Newbie's Adventure means that landing on small platforms can be quite finicky. Traversal isn't just limited to rolling around as there is a diverse selection of vehicles to jump into, although these sections also control quite questionably. Furthermore, the camera is far from flawless, with views obscured from time to time, and clipping occurring relatively frequently.

Screenshot for Unbox: Newbie's Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Each world has a number of collectables that need to be collected before progressing to the next, the most important being Stamps. Stamps are awarded when completing various tasks for the NPCs dotted around the world, or they can be found out in the wild in hard to reach places. The NPCs will set similar tasks throughout the game, ranging from fetch quests, scaling the highest point on the map, or racing around the map. Some of these tasks aren't really challenging and allows the player to take them at their own pace, and as dying has no consequences, you can keep retrying until the task is complete; however, some of the timed tasks are infuriatingly testing.

It's not all plain sailing, though. There are many gangs of enemies in the way called "Wild Cards," who will prevent you from completing your tasks with ease. Other than Stamps, each world has a various number of other collectables scattered across its land, including 200 Golden Tapes and trapped NPCs (Zippies) who need to be set free. Both serve as a pleasant distraction from the main game and allows the player to casually explore the relatively large hub worlds.

Screenshot for Unbox: Newbie's Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Progressing through the story allows the player to unlock a variety of options to tailor and accessorise your box, although this is purely for cosmetic purposes as none of the upgrades change the mechanics of the game. The customisation aspect is most needed when playing through the multiplayer mode in which four players can play on the same screen at once. The sprawling environments are downsized for 11 multiplayer maps, which features five distinct game modes: Collect (collect golden tapes), Boxing (shoot other players/deathmatch), Oddbox (hold an item for as long as possible), Thief (steal coins from other players) and Delivery (race). Multiplayer can serve as a semi-decent match against some friends locally and is a welcome addition to the game.

Graphically, Unbox: Newbie's Adventure displays murky and blurry textures that do not look like the trailer on the Nintendo eShop (this is because the video is taken from the PC version of the game). The Nintendo Switch version unfortunately doesn't have such striking visuals, and this is quite surprising knowing what other developers have been able to squeeze out of the Switch in its early months. Initial load times can be quite a surprise as they can last for quite some time, although once the environment is loaded there are no further load screens, which is somewhat of a relief. The audio is hit and miss, with a mixture of some tracks that can get repetitive at times and others that fit with the game's aesthetic.

Screenshot for Unbox: Newbie's Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Unbox: Newbie's Adventure does have appealing factors, such as a breadth of challenges and large sprawling hubs; however, the game is somewhat let down by poor visuals coupled with frustrating platforming sections that can often go wrong by no fault of your own. Unbox has released in a year where mascot platformers have returned with a vengeance, and unfortunately cannot stand toe to toe with them.

Developer

Prospect Games

Publisher

Merge Games

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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