Family friendly co-op games always make for a good time in my household. Whether it be an Overcooked, Moving Out, Mario Party, etc there is usually fun to be had when one of these come along. The latest one to catch my eye was Pile Up! Box By Box from developer Seed by Seed and publisher HandyGames. It’s a game where one to four players take control of cardboard boxes in a cardboard world and while I wouldn’t call it a must-play there is fun to be had.
Pile Up! won’t stress you or the other players playing out like an Overcooked would. The game’s controls are easy for anyone to pick up and the overall gameplay is pretty laid back and not punishing at all. It’s all about navigating the several open-ended cardboard worlds in the game and figuring out the puzzles. You start off in a hub world and from here you can unlock and enter four other worlds. The goal in each one varies and can involve having to find items or friends in the level and to do that you’ll have to figure out puzzles most of which can be solved in more than one way. This can involve having to move boxes onto switches, stacking boxes in order to reach a high ledge, etc. As you progress, you’ll unlock new box types that allow you to do new things like a frog box which can use its tongue to retrieve items or a spring box that can be used to bounce higher. For the most part I had no problems with the gameplay but at times the jumping and aiming did feel off and unresponsive which did prove to be annoying when it happened.
Each level is perfectly playable solo but to be honest the game won’t be as fun that way. I played solo for a bit as well as with two other local players and multiplayer is the way to go to have the most fun with this. Because of that it’s a bit of a shame that there is no online multiplayer support especially given that we’re still in a pandemic. As you are navigating each level you should keep your eye out for collectible small cubes. There are several hundred in each level and collecting them will let you unlock new cosmetic items to customize your playable box. The levels aren’t small so if you’re out to collect each one you’ll really have to look around.
While I did enjoy the game there isn’t a lot of it here as I rolled credits pretty fast. There are some mini-games you can unlock and play but this requires you to have other local players to play against. They range from football to tic-tac-toe and can provide a bit more fun out of this package but you’ll need friends to enjoy it. The colorful visuals are one of the most enjoyable things about the game as the cardboard worlds and characters should please anyone who is a fan of say something like Paper Mario. The music is also upbeat and enjoyable and never annoyed me. Trophy hunters will find 38 trophies to collect including a Platinum trophy. For the most part it’s an easy list but there is a speedrun trophy that could prove to be a Platinum blocker for a lot of people.
Pile Up! Box by Box is a colorful, fun puzzle platformer for the family but there just isn’t enough of it to last. Figuring out different ways to solve each world’s puzzles is enjoyable, there are tons of collectibles to hunt down, and there is some fun mini-games. The downside is that you’ll need local players to enjoy this to the fullest even if the core game is playable solo. If you’re looking to play as some cardboard boxes and solve some puzzles with the family it can be worth a look.
*Pile Up! Box By Box is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 4 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.