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Art Style: Boxlife (Nintendo DSiWare) Review
Review by 
8.5/10 from one rating
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.)

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 Great  8.5 / 10
05/13/11, 19:22   Edited:  05/15/11, 17:04
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Excellent! This looks like another great puzzle game I will want to try out once 3DS gets DSiWare. Oh, there are so many DSiWare games I will want to get, I wonder where I will begin...

That's pretty cool there's actually, like, a story about a box factory dude. It's Skip, so I can expect that kind of wackiness!

Posted by 
 on: 05/15/11, 00:37
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).

Posted by 
 on: 05/15/11, 16:26
I like the Art Style games, but something about folding boxes seems extremely tedious to me. Still, it's Skip/Art Style. After I check out Zengage and Precipice, I might give this one a shot.

Posted by 
 on: 05/15/11, 17:40
General question for those familiar with the Art Style games:

I have always liked the Art Style WiiWare games but am not too familiar with the DSi offerings. Are most of them pretty good, are there any I should avoid or don't hold up as well as the others?

Posted by 
 on: 05/15/11, 23:39   Edited:  05/16/11, 00:28
I think Aquia is the weakest entry in the Art Style series, and PictoBits is the best. All the others are pretty good (though, if you don't like numbers you'll hate Base 10).

Posted by 
 on: 05/16/11, 00:15
I'd also avoid Aquia. Zengage and Intersect are love it or hate it (I haven't played them). The rest of 'em are pretty safe. My favorites are Precipice, Pictobits, and Boxlife.

But the joke is that it's tedious. The actual game is very charming, though, and the puzzle element is very unique. It's all about recognizing patterns in shapes.

(Which is more fun that it sounds. Like, Imagine cutting paper evenly into Tetris shapes.)

Posted by 
 on: 05/16/11, 02:31
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!)

Posted by 
 on: 05/18/11, 09:15   Edited:  05/18/11, 09:16
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.

Posted by 
 on: 05/18/11, 09:23
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.

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.

Posted by 
 on: 05/18/11, 17:16
Anand said:
It's not quite like riding a bike.
Haha, I agree with that. I do the same thing. You can definitely be out of practice.

Posted by 
 on: 05/18/11, 19:08
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