You know that moment. That one endearing moment that a game, a book or a movie poster has to make a first impression. Some companies pay millions to marketing execs to help them present their product in an eye catching and unique way. Some companies even go so far as to change their entire product from the ground up to make it more marketable.
At Prospect Games, I’m not sure they think in those terms.
“Hey, shall we make a game about cardboard boxes that can move and jump and stuff?”
“Will it look awesome?”
“You bet your sweet buns it will.”
Look, I don’t actually have access to the minutes of that particular meeting, but I’m betting that’s pretty much the gist of it. These are a bunch of guys who have built something they are passionate about, that is unique, colourful and a bloody joy to play. And best of all…
It looks so goddamn beautiful, I think my eyes might fall out.
Unbox is a game that instantly grabs your attention, there was no way we could walk past it at EGX without our legs involuntarily stopping and our jaws working soundlessly while we tried to work out what our eyeballs were doing. And the stupid thing here is: It’s a game about cardboard boxes. It doesn’t make sense for it to look this good. It doesn’t make sense for it to play this well, or to be so much fun as you wantonly blast your friends into oblivion with a box-launcher or a firework.
But it does. So screw you, sense.
The single player experience in unbox is an open-world (well, island) free roamer that smacks of Mario 64 (even down to the brilliant music that accompanies the gameplay) and has missions, collectables and a whole bunch of exploring to do. The island looks immaculate, and other than a few signs of the abject poverty some of these boxes live in (I don’t know if cardboard boxes mind living in corrugated metal huts?) the whole thing merges nicely from beach and palm-tree scenes, to construction sites, roads, villiages and mountains. There’s plenty to see and do, although in the version we played, not a lot was finished, but there were NPC placeholders to show us the scope of what they are aiming for. But you know what, that’s absolutely fine…
Because it hadn’t even been greenlit yet.
Yea, you heard us. It’s not available in early access, beta, alpha. Nothing. And it still looks and plays this well.
Well played, Prospect. Well played.
Since EGX, Unbox has been greenlit on Steam (in fact, this happened yesterday. Well done to everyone who backed and supported this project!
But while the single player is a gorgeous free-roaming experience that does not disappoint, the four-player split screen is where this game really shines. With multiple game modes (races, deathmatch and others) and a bona fide couch gaming focus (they aren’t adding online, but focusing exclusively on couch gaming, which really appealed to us), the gameplay is fast paced, chaotic and tricky. With the ability to fart a smaller box out of the underside of your box (they call this: Unboxing. I call it: Cardfarting) you can double, triple or quadrongople jump, until you run out of smaller boxes and have to head back down to earth to pick up some more, the gameplay adds a “easy to pick up, hard to master” element which is important to add longevity.
Let’s add to this that the team at Prospect Games are such genuinely nice guys, it’s hard not to love Unbox. So love it. We do.
Unbox is being created by Prospect Games and has just been greenlit on Steam. Congratulations on winning the RP2 Best Indie Game of EGX 2015.