Perspective is an interesting thing. In the real world we tend to view things as three dimensional. Objects are real. They have depth. They have texture. We can touch and feel them. We're also used to the idea of a two dimensional world. Paintings. Literature. All of these things are flat, and all of these things are familiar. But what about the dimensions we so rarely explore? What about the fourth dimension? In Sophie Houlden's recently released mind-bending puzzler BoxGame, you're going to have to think about thinks in a perspective that will rock you right out of your comfort zone, and we love it.
offers up the traditional goals and pitfalls of an action puzzle game, but it does so with a twist. The object of each level is to lead a character to an exit door while avoiding hazards and navigating the terrain. But when we said there was a twist, we meant it quite literally. Your character in Boxgame won't be exploring a linear environment. As he jumps from one platform to another, the world will twist around him. What was once the floor is now the wall. What was a deadly chasm below you is now a hole in the ceiling above. Boxgame is a puzzle game all about rotating perspective.
While the gameplay in Boxgame couldn't be simpler to learn – the controls are as simple as moving and jumping — the puzzles are mind-bendingly good. You'll really be forced to think outside the box so to speak, in order to help your little man reach his goal. The first few levels will get you used to this idea of a rotating world, but just as soon as you've begun to get comfortable the game begins to throw new challenges at you. The doors become locked and you'll need to gather a key. Colored barriers occur that can only be passed through if you've been painted a color that matches. The game quickly becomes less about navigating the terrain to one location and more about hitting a variety of puzzle elements to help you reach the door.
Boxgame reminds me an awful lot of the PlayStation game Echochrome. But while Echochrome used this spinning world mechanic to create Escher-style confusion, Boxgame offers something that is far more straight-forward. Echochrome was constantly filled with moments of frustration at being unable to tackle the tasks you know you needed to accomplish. That never really happens with Boxgame. Sure some of the jumps are hard to complete, but there's nothing in the gameplay mechanics that will ever make you feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall. The puzzles offer up a great level of challenge about halfway through, but the gameplay never feels confusing or impossible to tackle.
The only major complaint we had was with a small twist in gameplay about halfway through. Around the ninth puzzle we discovered a gameplay mechanic that had been there all along, but didn't know about it until we absolutely needed it. What's more, we stumbled across it by accident. Having your little man jump and pressing a different direction can get him on to a different axis without having to fall to change directions. What was even weirder was that this mechanic didn't work every time. It seemed as though he needed enough room to make a big jump to switch directions. It was a great mechanic, but became pretty frustrating when we realized we couldn't use it whenever we felt we should.
Puzzle games that take place in the fourth dimension aren't nearly as commonplace as they should be. Having to think in four dimensions really gets your brain firing in ways it never has before, and we love every second of it. Boxgame offers up some very simple controls and some terrifically challenging puzzles. Definitely a great time for gamers that like to think outside the box.