For all the adrenaline to be found in iPhone titles like Gangstar or Asphalt 5, it’s good to have a change of pace with unique puzzlers like the stellar Auditorium or Enigmo 2. Games such as these require more thought than reflex, more intellect than instinct. Boxed In 2 is the latest app store offering that caters to the gamer who obsesses over timeless, well-designed quagmire.
Independent developer Dennis Mengelt plays things safe with a sequel that repackages and polishes much of what made the first game so appealing. From a top-down perspective, players control a lonely robot as he works his way through level after level of claustrophobic inducing rooms. The object: escape from each level by maneuvering a series of boxes that stand in the way of the exit. To add to the confusion, special tiles need to be activated or unlocked in order to proceed.
Intelligence: With each new level, Boxed In 2 plays like a progress game of chess. Thought is required before action; a wrong move at any stage could be spell redo. (Note: other games like FPSs take intelligence, too, but they’re never as reflective as a puzzler.) Luckily, the game still carries both reset and undo buttons. This helps, but nothing replaces the ability to think ahead.
Controls: This time out, the player chooses which control setting he prefers: the swipe approach or the optional D-pad. Even though both configurations work with an equal amount of ease, it’s good to see independent developers being conscious of players’ preferences.
Audio: The biggest improvement this time around is in the game’s soundtrack. Unlike the silent original, Boxed In 2 greets players with a lurking electronic groove and an occasional robotic voice. This helps keep the player involved, making them less conscious of the time they’re wasting.
Crossover appeal: Since the game doesn’t require lightning reflexes or dexterous thumbs, anyone old enough to understand the concept can enjoy the puzzles within. Because there are no time limits or character lives to be concerned with, the only thing a gamer has to worry about is his own sanity. Hint: don’t pull out your hair; solutions can be found online.
Redux: Is it right to criticize a sequel for having too much of what made the original so great? Besides the previously mentioned improvements, this game is pretty much identical to its predecessor.
Reset button: When playing in D-pad mode, the down arrow and the reset button are set a bit too close to one another. On more than one occasion, this gamer had to start a level over because he accidently slid his thumb too far south. It’s a minor annoyance that takes some getting used to. There is an option to move the D-pad to the top of the screen, but this feels odd for some reason. An update that separates these two would be nice. Maybe the reset and undo buttons could be placed at the top of the screen when the D-pad fills the bottom and vice versa.
The first Boxed In enjoyed massive success; this time the fun comes with a few tweaks that add some nice ambiance. Mengelt is well on his way to fathering a solid franchise. Even though the first few levels of Boxed In 2 are repackaged from the first title, there’s plenty of new stuff here to enjoy.