ReviewsReview: Pile Up! Box by Box

Review: Pile Up! Box by Box

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The cooperative gaming market is massive, and many families are screaming out for more games to play together. Luckily, the options are growing at an exponential rate with some fantastic options such as Moving Out, Overcooked, and now Pile Up! Box by Box.

Developed by Seed by Seed and published by HandyGames, it’s a cooperative puzzle adventure title. You’ll enjoy a solo or multiplayer experience involving many boxes and zero violence. It’s an uber family-friendly experience that’s great fun, but one that is cut short far too soon.

Pair up and solve the puzzles.

Pile Up! Box by Box offers a lot for younger players.

Whenever I hear the phrase family-friendly and puzzle muttered in the same breathe a shudder goes down my spine. I picture many arguments, fallouts, and an incomplete game. Fortunately, however, Pile Up! Box by Box offers a lot for younger players. With its accessible approach to problems and a gentle learning curve, younger and inexperienced gamers will love every minute.

The wonderfully simple game mechanics allow you to enjoy every moment solo or with up to three other players. Your game begins in a central hub. From here, you collect keys by completing levels and use these to unlock new stages. You’ll enjoy a bizarre mixture of levels, each with a unique style and goal. The eclectic blend of stages was fascinating, and I particularly enjoyed the frog rescue and cave cinema level. The first asks you to hunt down four coloured frogs by leaping gaps, triggering switches, and unlocking portals. The latter demands that you activate six switches to fix a broken cinema projector. They were all a little silly, but I admired them all the same.

Though the levels were brilliant to explore, and the unique and unusual level designs were excellent to experience, there simply weren’t enough of them for my liking. We had just got used to the mechanics and had perfected our teamwork when the end credits began rolling…..it was such a shame as we desperately wanted more. The lasting feeling was of disappointment as we wanted the action to roll on to further worlds. Yet, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel and the developers plan to resolve this with future DLC? One can only hope!

Take part in the many arcade games.

Boxes, springs, and collectables.

The premise of Pile Up! Box by Box is remarkably simple! You control an oddly cute cube that must move and jump around an array of stages. You will pick up other boxes to increase your size, or stack them to form staircases to reach higher points. You’ll be introduced to springs to leap higher, and a frog-like cube that flicks out its tongue to bridge gaps and collect objects. If you are a solo player, you’ll struggle more than those in a team (as long as you work together.) When you are alone, you must find every box to overcome the obstacles, and this requires some planning. However, in a team, you can use each other as makeshift stairs, or gather the resources to do so.

I loved how this idea forced you to work together. Even the inexperienced players in the team were sold on the idea. This worked particularly well when ample collectables were available to gather. This classic 3D adventure mechanic was well thought out and added plenty of replay value. To get the most out of the game, you’ll have to collect hundreds of golden cubes and hoops. These items allow you to access secret areas, unlock cosmetics and find in-game arcade machines. These elements added little to the action but were fun to find and gather, nonetheless.

Pile Up! Box by Box is a cute title.

I adored the cute art style incorporated within Pile Up! Box by Box. Its wonderful pastel tones and cardboard-like imagery were lovely to look at. This strange style added to the bizarre levels you explore, and I never got bored with what I saw. Yet, I found the lack of a free-flowing camera a bit frustrating and this made exploration tricky. It would have been helpful to see the world from different angles, but this never happened. Sadly, you’ll find yourself falling into chasms, missing platforms, and mucking up repeatedly.

The cutesy gameplay was enhanced with the upbeat audio. The fun sounds and music softened the blow of repeated failure, and as a team, you’ll laugh at the constant errors you make. The music matched each level you explore and the change in sounds ensured that the action never became tedious.

Can you extinguish the fire?

Easy controls add to the user-friendly approach.

Whenever a game is aimed towards a younger audience, you’d hope the controls will be simple. Fortunately, Pile Up! Box by Box has an extremely basic setup that’s easy to master. With a thorough tutorial, every player will know exactly what to do in no time.

If more content was added, this would vastly improve the longevity. Sadly, the replay value is impacted by the lack of stages. The collectables and arcade machines will draw you back in, but this will hold your interest for a short amount of time. Additional DLC will resolve this issue, so I hope the developers add some whacky levels to explore.

Pile Up! Box by Box is great, but it leaves you wanting more!

It’s admirable that the developers have created such a family focussed title, but the lack of stages lets it down. It looks great, has interesting audio, and the stage design is fascinating, however, sadly, there just wasn’t enough of it. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! It’s a short but enjoyable title that’ll keep your whole family entertained. Work together, solve the puzzles, and pile those boxes high. 

SUMMARY

Pile Up! Box by Box is a fun-filled solo and cooperative puzzle title. Explore the colourful world, pick up the crates, and traverse each land. With many collectables to find, accessible gameplay, and arcade games to play, this is fantastic for all the family.

+ A cute colourful cardboard art style.
+ Upbeat audio.
+ User-friendly gameplay.
+ Family orientated action.
- Not enough content.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]
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