An ode to 90s platformers, Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is a fun little romp featuring a delivery box as its main star. We played it for Xbox One – here are our impressions.
The game, developed by relatively small developer Prospect Games and previously available on Steam just titled “Unbox”, received an updated and physical retail release for consoles in July. Of course it’s also available in digital form, and PC users got the updated version as well – now known under the full title “Unbox – Newbie’s Adventure”.
Newbie, not surprisingly, is the game’s main character. He is, as the title suggests, a box. A self-delivering cardboard box, actually – as the plot of the game revolves around the Global Postal Service and their struggle to stay afloat despite competition from Wild Cards, a competing postal service that you’ll regularly bump heads (or boxes) with during your adventure.
Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is a fairly formulaic platform in most senses, which isn’t surprising considering the fondness that its creators clearly have for the 90s console platformers that came before it in 3D. The most unique mechanics both have to do with the fact that Newbie is, in fact, a box. Movement for a box isn’t fluid – Newbie has to constantly flip over in order to move. It isn’t quite the tile-based movement that can be seen in puzzle games like Cuboid, but it definitely is something that takes a little getting used to.
The other mechanic worth mentioning is “unboxing”, which is essentially a double-jump mechanic where Newbie jumps out of his outer shell for additional lift. This can be repeated up to six times, depending on how many “unbox charges” you have – which of course comes in handy when trying to overcome obstacles and puzzles. They are also handy to hang on to before facing off against one of the game’s boss characters, as they’re good for getting out of trouble as well.
The game features a lot of collectibles, the main ones being stamps that you need in order to progress. They can be either found or earned through challenges that are given to you, which are generally fun and fairly diverse – ranging from puzzles to speed run challenges to combat scenarios.
Besides the single player portion of the game, which is the main attraction here, the game also has a few local multiplayer mini-games available to play. Although these aren’t worth purchasing the game for, they’re a nice way to extend the game’s lasting appeal somewhat.
Should you get it for the single player portion then? It’s not as good as the recent retro-heavy entries in the Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet & Clank franchises, or Yooka-Laylee. It’s a solid by-the-numbers platformer though, which should appeal mostly to the younger crowd due to its relatively simple game mechanics and controls. It’s cheaper than the aforementioned games as well, so a decent choice if you’re looking for that retro platforming fix on a budget.