Art Style: Boxlife is yet another DSiWare contribution from the mad puzzle geniuses at Skip. Like most of their other games on the service, it brings some fresh new ideas to an often tired genre, while sprucing them up with a healthy dose of style and charm. Basically, Boxlife (Hacolife in Japan) is a puzzle game about cutting and folding cardboard shapes into boxes. You play as a box worker in a box factory. Sounds boring, right? That's the joke! Somewhat like No More Heroes and Super Paper Mario, the game works as subversive commentary on life in general and game playing in specific. Perform menial tasks more efficiently, and your boxy character will rise to the 'next level' in the box-cutting world, thereby earning nicer clothes, a new title, and more superficial adornments for his virtual house. It's all quite clever and humorous.
As for the actual gameplay, most of it centers around time-based pattern recognition. R&D Mode will introduce you to the basic six-square shapes that can be folded into a box, tasking you to cut predefined shapes into boxes without wasting any squares. It starts quite simply, but ramps up in the later levels, where the puzzles can consist of several different shapes. The cutting and folding action is very elegantly handled on the system's touch-screen. You might occasionally make a cutting error, since the lines are rather small, but the stitching tool allows you to fix your mistakes.
Factory Mode allows you to use your box-cutting skillz in a more freeform, creative manner, with a slowly scrolling assembly line of cardboard that you must continually cut and fold, eliminating bombs by boxing them up (and, theoretically, sending them to customers) before the explode and earning combos by making several boxes in rapid succession. Any wasted or exploded pieces of cardboard are deducted from your score. This mode is engaging and fun, but it gets quite frantic and difficult in the advanced stages.
If you're up for the challenge, though, Boxlife is a fresh, funny take on the puzzle genre that is well worth playing. (And the music is great, too.)
Well, it isn't a story so much as a framing device. But it's super-cute, seeing your little box man on the stage select screen go from rags to stylish menswear. And the music is very amusing, as well (in addition to being catchy).
I never finished Boxlife, I think I got to level 7/10 or something... I started it in an airport, which also meant I was ridiculously tired, and then didn't play it again afterwards, because after a gap I feel need to start over, because I'd forgotten the cutting patterns. I'd forgotten about this, I should try it again. I do want to see the little dude get all his stuff.
I always think of Ralph for that factory mode though. "Take me to the Box Factory!" (that's what he says in Simpsons Road Rage when he's your customer!)
I can't wait until DSiWare on 3DS! I wonder... are all DSiWare games going to be available day one, or are they going to space them out? Day one makes the most sense, but then again, that would cannibalize sales to people like me who never had the chance to get any of these games.
Day One, because they've gotta maintain compatibility for the people who are moving their stuff over.
If Nintendo is smart, they'll do a "Best of DSiWare" thing. You know, instead of relying on US.
@heliumsky You'll probably never see the little dude get all his stuff. But you can make it to the end of R&D Mode for sure. Every time I play after a hiatus, I have to start at the low levels of Factory Mode, just to re-familiarize myself with the patterns. It's not quite like riding a bike.