Although it isn't the first multiplayer 3D platformer that has you control a cardboard box, Pile Up! Box by Box is still a rather cool game.
Back in 2017, I reviewed a very fun 3D platformer called Unbox: Newbie's Adventure that has you play as a cardboard box. Although Pile Up! Box by Box fits that description perfectly, it's actually a very different game as instead of roaming a large 3D world while completing missions, this has you complete puzzle-filled levels. Plus, its visual aesthetic is similar to games like Yoshi's Crafted World and Tearaway Unfolded because there's a cohesive theme where nearly everything is made of cardboard. It's a lovely thing to behold.
The gameplay within Pile Up! Box by Box involves gliding your box around while jumping and using other boxes for leverage. You can pick up any dormant box and if you're playing with friends, you can pick them up to give them a boost, too! That's right; Pile Up! Box by Box can be played with up to 4 simultaneous players and I enjoyed it most while playing with my constant chum. On top of jumping around and throwing boxes, you'll also encounter many gimmicks such as lizard boxes that extend their tongue and springboard boxes that'll make you jump much higher. Putting these components together to solve the puzzles makes for quite a rewarding formula.
With all of that in mind, Pile Up! Box by Box doesn't feature any combat as it's solely focused on puzzles and platforming. This means that there really isn't much challenge aside from figuring out how to reach tricky collectibles. There's also an exploration component which will make collecting every single pick-up fun for any completionist. Speaking of which, an aspect that makes backtracking streamlined is that any previously-solved puzzles remain solved so you can explore stages leisurely without having to keep redoing the same things.
Although Pile Up! Box by Box is fun, it's also very short with only a handful of levels to complete. Of course, replaying stages to collect everything does extend the time you'll spend with the campaign but not everyone will enjoy exploring every nook and cranny. Now that I'm discussing negative aspects, aiming is also problematic and sometimes, you'll feel like quitting for simply not being able to throw a box to where you want it to go or after you screw up a puzzle by accidentally knocking a box down a ledge. It can be quite haphazard.
Oh, and I almost forgot; Pile Up! Box by Box includes a few arcade mini-games that are unlocked after finding them and you can also purchase additional costumes with earned currency. To be frank, the mini-games are cute but not all that fun but the costumes are delightful. Of course, I wish you could fully customize your box like you can in the other box-themed 3D platformer but I digress.
It's not the best multiplayer 3D platformer that has you play as a cardboard box out there but Pile Up! Box by Box is still a solid game for friends who want to cooperate while enjoying an adorable and laidback puzzle-filled adventure together.
- + Easy breezy 3D puzzle platforming that's even more fun with a friend or 3
- + Cute and colourful cardboard world
- + Backtracking is actually enjoyable
- - Overall lack of challenge won't appeal to everyone, especially solo gamers
- - Doesn't take long to complete
- - Aiming can be needlessly annoying