I'll be honest, when I first agreed to try out Bye-Bye Box Boy!, I didn't think much beyond, "cool, another game to play on my 3DS". It was after I finally started up the game I realize what I got myself into: an addictive puzzle-platformer that's as challenging as it is rewarding.
Check out the trailer below:
Bye-Bye Box Boy! is the third and final game (hence the "bye-bye" in the title) in the Box Boy series and doesn't require you to be familiar with its predecessors to pick up and play. The opening stages will teach you the basics and light tutorials later in the game make learning new skills a breeze rather than a chore.
You Play As...A Box
Bye-Bye Box Boy! has you in control of a walking box named Qbby (pronounced "cube-y" because, box puns) that can make more boxes appear to create new platforms to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. The game is broken down into different worlds and stages, each with the ultimate goal of reaching the door at the end.
In order to reach a stage's end, you'll have to make use of the boxes you create as platforms. Each stage will give you specific number of boxes you can chain together by pressing and holding "y" and using the d-pad or joystick to control the direction or pattern these new boxes take.
See a pitfall? Use boxes to build a bridge. Is a ledge too high? Use a chain of boxes to and pull yourself up or use a special rocket box to fly up. Different stages will feature any mix of obstacles to overcome such as moving platforms, spike traps, lasers, and of course pitfalls and it'll be your job to figure out how to get past them all.
The game's simple art style has a certain charm to it. Most of the game's characters and environments are monochrome, with bold black lines outlining the game's objects. There's a limited use of actual color, but when used, you know you're interacting with something unique such as boxes with special functionality or the Qbabies. Also, Qbby's walk animation is just adorable and helps to provide a friendly atmosphere to what can at times be grueling puzzles.
Thinking Outside The Box
Each of Bye-Bye Box Boy!'s stages has three things: a limit to the number of boxes you can chain together, a set number of boxes you can freely use before receiving a penalty, and collecting crowns.
The limit of boxes you can chain together may affect the usual plan of making a bridge to reach the opposite side, but it inspires creativity. You're free to experiment how you'll finish the stage within these means, and the game actively encourages you to do so.
Sticking within the limit of allotted boxes will net you more coins at a stage's end, but so will getting crowns. These are the only objects to be found in any given stage. Find them all, don't fall for any traps, and don't exceed the allowed number of boxes and you'll receive a perfect, acquiring you the most amount of coins.
If your aim is to get all perfects, then the retry option is your best friend here. You can experiment to find all the routes, retry a stage, and apply that knowledge about how to clear the stage and claim an easy perfect since there's no penalty for using the retry option.
Some stages will require you to not just get yourself to the end of a stage but also a Qbaby. In these stages, the game becomes an escort mission which will change up how you play as you'll have to now accommodate how to get can both Qbby and the Qbaby across.
Should you ever feel at your wit's end because a puzzle stumps you, there's always the hint option. The cost is one coin and that hint will basically tell you how to get past the obstacle at hand. If purchased, that hint stays with you forever. It's helpful, especially if you need to get off your 3DS right away but don't want to do so right in the middle of a stage.
Mobile Friendly With Some Extras
The mobile and handheld gaming world is filled with gamers looking for a quick distraction that they can boot up in a couple of seconds and be put down at a moments notice. Bye-Bye Box Boy! caters to this by having short stages that can each be completed in a matter of minutes. Once a stage is completed, the game will auto-save allowing you to pick right where you left off. With quick load times and no menus to navigate when you load the game, you're free to continue on your way immediately.
Outside the main game you, can spend the coins you earn to buy short comics featuring Qbby and other characters from the BoxBoy universe. You can also buy clothes to dress up Qbby, and partake in special challenge stages that with unique conditions, like not being allowed to separate from boxes.
The game also supports Amiibos. Kirby amiibos will unlock Kirby-inspired costumes for Qbby, adding more variety, and color to the game.
In the end, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this puzzle platformer. Bye-Bye Box Boy! was a fun game to add to my library that made me stop and think about the next move I was going to make.
You can find Bye-Bye Box Boy! on the Nintendo eShop for $4.99. There's a free demo available now, so why not give it a go?