BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! Is a Fun Game to Play With Kids

Games Features BoxBoy
BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! Is a Fun Game to Play With Kids

With the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has combined their family focused strategy with a strong commitment to indie titles, resulting in a top notch game library that is home to a wide variety of games appealing to an even wider range of tastes, preferences and age groups. Nowhere is this more evident than with the release of puzzle platformer BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!, a digital title from HAL Laboratory, the studio also responsible for much of the Kirby series and Super Smash Bros. The fourth entry in the BoxBoy series, this new iteration sees the addition of BoxGirl, turning the game into a two player experience that opens up new cooperative gameplay and, of course new puzzles. Does this fresh gameplay factor substantially change the formula, or is just another piece of shovelware for the digital era?

Gameplay for BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! is very simple and, if you’ve played the series, hasn’t changed much. The player can spawn a box from BoxBoy’s body and use it as a platform to reach ledges, bridge gaps and thwart barriers. Depending upon the challenges laid out in each level, BoxBoy (or BoxGirl) can create more than one box and configure it into the pattern necessary to reach their goal. The caveat, however, is that for each level you get more points and stage bonuses if you complete it without using too many boxes, adding new elements for strategic consideration by ensuring you never get too carried away with simply stacking the boxes without much thought to efficiency. The score tallied at the end of each stage also increases based on how few boxes you used, adding some incentive to think a little harder about how each puzzle is solved and not immediately go for the easiest answer. It’s a dynamic that is especially appealing if you’re playing with a child, whose attention spans can wander pretty quickly in a game if they feel they’re not actually contributing. While they figure out the easier and smaller solutions to a puzzle, the older person can figure out ways to achieve it with fewer boxes and maneuvers. In that sense the gameplay is a bit balanced between age groups despite being very basic at heart.

BoxBoy! BoxGirl! is probably a bit too easy for adults, but the difficulty does increase to the point that no matter what your age, you’ll still have to stop and think about some of the puzzles. Combined with the two-player cooperative mode, which requires a lot of communication and critical thinking, this game is great for playing with kids, particularly with one person taking the lead and the other providing insight and feedback towards possible solutions, providing an opportunity to teach collaboration and teamwork. The clean black and white visual style is also a bonus for families, as it is very cute without being confusing or overstimulating, which can be helpful if your kids are younger and still learning to read or get easily overwhelmed by too many bright colors and loud sounds. Ultimately, while I might not have purchased BoxBoy! BoxGirl! out of pure organic curiosity, it’s still a fun little game to play with my niece. I recommend giving it a shot, even if it’s a little below your punching weight.

Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.

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