Boxhead the Nightmare is a twitch heavy action game with lots of unlockables

Boxhead the Nightmare goes out to the people that think Facebook games only involve tending farms and waging mafia wars. It’s a pure twitch action game that requires you to have decent reflexes and control over the keyboard. It does a good job of incorporating both shooting and a persistent upgrade system to make a pretty compelling game.

Boxhead the Nightmare plays in the same vein as the old top down shooters from the Nintendo days. Games like Commands and Ikari Warriors. It’s a case of kill or be killed, as wave after wave of bad guys come rushing at you trying to break into your base. You’ll have time between waves to reload and upgrade if you can, and to place some exploding barrels and mines around to help fend off the horde.

Boxhead the Nightmare

The baddies spawn in ever increasing numbers and eventually you will be overrun, so like the arcade games of old it’s not a matter of winning but a matter of fending off failure for as long as you can. You’ll control Boxhead using the arrow keys and point and shoot with the mouse. Though, it would have been nice if you could set the movement to the WASD keys as well.

The game’s bread and butter come from the unlock and upgrade system. To put it plainly there are a bunch of each to keep you in that carrot on a stick mode. You’ll be able to unlock new levels, characters, and weaponry. Most have specific requirements like “reach wave six of level X”, though a few actually say “Mystery Unlock,” which I thought was a bit of a cop out.

Boxhead the Nightmare

The upgrades for the weapons involve things like accuracy and rate of fire and can be made available for purchase after set amounts of in-game time. So you may upgrade the M16 to a larger clip and after 40 minutes of play time the next level of upgrade becomes available to buy. This definitely encouraged me to play just a little more, though it didn’t take me long to figure out that I could just leave one bad guy on screen and just run around to run up that game clock.

The two main issues I have with the game are the unlockables and the control. Basically if you’re on a computer that has anything except a mouse hooked up to it than you’re going to want to pass. The game has support for non-mouse controls but they just don’t work well enough to make the game enjoyable. You’re really meant to look around with a mouse.It’s not quite a deal breaker, but worth mentioning to people playing on their laptops.

The other issue deals with how the game parcels out the unlockables. Like most Facebook games there are two types of currency: that which is earned in-game (called Boins) and that which you can buy with real world money (called Bollars). Like most other games you can satisfy certain in-game requirements to open new content or just buy it with the real world money.

Boxhead the Nightmare

I have zero problem with this but the requirements to unlock stuff are very high, to the point that if you want to experience most of the content in any reasonable amount of time you’re just going to have to spend that real world money on it. A lot of the items even have numerous things you need to hit. For instance, to unlock the mini-gun you need to kill 15,000 bad guys, play for 10 hours, and post 10 things to your wall. This feels excessive and might be overselling the staying power of the game a bit.

It’s rare to see such an action heavy game on Facebook. While I was put off a bit by the high barriers to unlock more content, the stuff that seems feasible certainly keeps the game interesting. As long as your at a computer that has a mouse and not a trackpad, I’d say Boxhead the Nightmare is definitely worth a play (or five, or 10).