Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure (Xbox One Review)
Have you ever dreamed of playing a game as a self-delivering cardboard box? Of course you have! I mean, who hasn’t? Well, then you’re in luck, because that’s the exact premise behind Unbox: Newbies Adventure from Prospect Games.
Unbox is a colorful, energetic 3D platformer where you control Newbie, the newest box created by the Global Postal Service, or GPS. GPS realised that having a human deliver boxes was completely unnecessary if you could find a way for the boxes to deliver themselves, though they never got the formula quite right. Until now!
As Newbie, you’ll quickly learn how to roll, stomp, jump and unbox your way through the world. It’s actually a very fun, challenging and incredibly rewarding movement system, as momentum is very important to your little cubic friend. You can roll yourself up to incredible speeds and fly great distances through the air, an endeavour aided by the crucial art of Unboxing. This is essentially double-jumping, but you can do so up to 6 times before you run out of charges. They’re easily renewed, so don’t worry about going nuts with it.
The ‘ammo’ for unboxing comes in the form or little green health packs, just one of the collectibles you find dotted around the game’s three open worlds. There’s also Golden Tape, with 200 to find in each world, and Stamps, which function as this game’s equivalent to Super Mario’s Stars.
You collect Stamps by completing tasks for various characters (also self-delivering boxes) dotted around the worlds. Some of them are races, some of them are platforming sections, others still are collectathons. There’s not a world of variety to them, but it’s not the same task over and over again, so it avoids becoming tedious.
Another style of challenge comes in the form of combat which, in a game about sentient boxes, is about as unusual as it sounds. Most combat comes in the form of you trying to maneuver Newbie into the air above his enemies, rogue boxes called the Wild Cards, and slamming down on them. There’s also some ranged weaponry, like a firework launcher. Thankfully, this has an automatic lock-on system so aiming isn’t an issue.
The worlds of Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure are large and vibrant, with a huge amount of exploring to do before you’ll be able to find all of their secrets. In the midst of all this, though, Newbie is battling the Wild Cards, former GPS delivery boxes who spent too long delivering out in to the wilderness and turned bad. Collecting a certain amount of Stamps in each level will let you face down their Boss, which leads to some interesting boss fights.
A fast-paced platformer sounds like a great place for some shenanigans filled multiplayer action. Unbox does support multiplayer modes, but sadly I was never able to get them to work. I sat down with a couple of friends and got ready for some hilarity but we were completely unable to start the multiplayer games, nor were we able to exit; we had to exit the game and relaunch it each time we tried.
Which is a real shame because I bet the multiplayer experience would have been a lot of fun, because the game itself is. It’s not necessarily groundbreaking in any regard but figuring out the knack to controlling Newbie at high speeds is really rewarding. Some of the challenges lie on the ‘childish’ side of easy, but not every game needs to be Dark Souls, right?