“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” – Samuel Butler
Boxville is an adventure puzzle game about speechless cans living in a city of boxes and drawing doodles on cardboard to tell the stories. The game was made in Ukraine by Triomatica Games with the intention for it to be not only a game but also an animated film that you can watch as you play.
Developer: Triomatica Games
Released: 30th September 2022
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Boxville is primarily a point-and-click game, combining inventory-based and logic puzzles to great effect. It has 3 chapters, each made up of a linear series of conundrums that need to be solved in order to progress. Inventory puzzles include things such as using collected items to help a grumpy old can and his sofa back into his house or to provide good luck to a young can playing the slot machines. More logic-focused tasks include things such as a sudoku-like puzzle and a game of connect five.
The puzzles can get a little tricky and while the solutions are not immediately obvious they always make sense and are satisfying to figure out. There is none of the arbitrary combining of items of excessive wandering back and forth that can sometimes be found in games of this genre.
Boxville is set in a world made of cardboard boxes and the delightful characters are cans and tins of various kinds, all with distinct looks as well as their own stories. The game begins with the blue can protagonist, at home with his tiny dog tin. All is well, they are playing catch when suddenly an earthquake occurs and his canine friend is lost. The blue can must find a way to venture forth, find and rescue the little tin.
Alongside this overarching narrative are the stories of the characters met on the way, they all have a recent experience to recount. The combined narratives are tied together by their content and the gameplay creating a satisfying and comprehensive narrative experience that is really quite touching in the end. There is no written language in the game and the characters communicate by drawing comic book style illustrations on scraps of cardboard, making its emotive nature even more impressive.
Boxville features wonderful hand-drawn artwork full of detail. The grimy cardboard environments are depicted in muted colour palettes with lots of texture giving a painterly effect. The speckled texture in particular gives things a dusty feel that fits the feel and themes of the game. The adorable animations are a stand-out part of the experience, blending seamlessly into the gameplay they are a joy to watch. Whilst the animations are sometimes slightly extended they never feel like cutscenes due to the smooth transition; it is clear to see why it is being pegged as a game crossed with an animated film.
The music in-game is relaxing, for the most part, it features pianos and slightly ethereal droning. Each track sits nicely in the background adding to the atmosphere of each scene without feeling intrusive. There are also some delightful sound effects that really add character to the game along with an extra layer of cuteness.
Boxville will take around 3 – 4 hours to complete and is a fantastic example of a point-and-click game. The unique art style and cute animations are a highlight of the game and really help bring the characters and their stories to life. The puzzles are nicely paced and satisfying with a good amount of challenge and variety. Clever narrative design ties all these things together to create a seamless experience and tell a charming and emotive tale. If you are a fan of point-and-click puzzle games, this is one not to miss!
If you like this, you might also enjoy some other point-and-click games:
Witchhazel Woods – Charmingly Eerie Point-and-Click Adventure – Shindig: A Wholesome New Point-and-Click Adventure – Lord Winklebottom Investigates – A Twist on the Classic Murder Mystery!