Unbox: Newbie's Adventure Review

By Kelly Packard, 21 days ago
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a delivery box in the postal service? Most of us probably haven't, but that's the beauty of a video game, especially a children's game such as Unbox: Newbie's Adventure — the premise doesn't matter. A gamer will willingly dive into titles about goats, bread or dad dating so long as the game is good.


The scene is set as Newbie, the Global Postal Service's (GPS for short) latest design, arrives on the job. What is so special about Newbie is that he possesses the capability to deliver and unbox himself. Unboxing is a violent affair in Unbox. Instead of just unwrapping himself, when Newbie unboxes he gains momentum, propelling himself into the air with strong force. Unboxing allows him to jump great heights and is the major gameplay mechanic in Unbox. Of course if unboxing were unlimited things would be rather simple as you would simply unbox to your heart's content; Newbie can only unbox six times without replenishing at a mailbox or through pickups around the world.

Newbie must complete missions around the world to help out his postal employer, collecting stamps, taking on random tasks and beating bosses. There are three different worlds and Newbie must collect an increasing amount of stamps to face the boss of each area. Stamps are hidden throughout the world and can also be found by doing tasks for other boxes he meets along the way. The game is also heavy on collectibles, with trapped Zippies — helpless creatures that have been trapped by the Wild Cards, the bad guys of Unbox — and 200 Golden Tapes to be found in each world, which adds up to 800 between the three destination worlds and the hub home world.

The gameplay is hit or miss. Most of your play time falls on "challenges" (that are really just missions), which are given to you by other boxes around town. Some of these can be fun and the developer has tried to mix it up with varying tasks such as racing, collecting, defeating enemies and more. However, a lot of these aren't as enjoyable. Depending on the challenge, you might go from smiling at a fun race to frowning at one that doesn't play as well. The developer has also latched onto the mechanic of putting time limits on almost every mission, which kills the fun factor more often than not. These limits are inconsistent; often you'll finish with minutes left and other times they are much more of a struggle.

Box around townBox around town

Everything is also simplistic and keeping in mind this is a kids' game, it makes sense. However, Unbox is too simple: combat is nothing more than pressing one button, boss fights nearly play themselves and the tutorial never seems to end, with the game holding your hand throughout the entire experience. Helpful advice from a gibberish-speaking NPC is welcome the first time; once you've reminded a player of the same technique 20 times it's bordering on ridiculous. For example, the game will let you know how to change your cosmetics every single one of the dozens of times you earn a new piece of clothing. Another aspect of keeping the player on a short leash is the game's tendency to automatically reset you to the nearest checkpoint if you venture too far out of a mission zone. This is a pain if you notice a collectible off to the side and want to grab it during a challenge.

It's a short experience with only the three worlds to complete. There is also a hub world but it serves no purpose other than holding portals to the other locations, along with collectibles. Depending on how much you're exploring off the beaten path, it's no more than 5-7 hours from the start of the game to beating the final boss. Aside from the main missions, there isn't anything to do except collect things, namely the Golden Tapes and stamps. There are other Easter eggs that can be found around the world like alien diaries and mystery strangers you can chat with, but gamerscore hunters won't take notice of these since they're not required for any achievements. On the same note, unless you're going for the collectible-related achievements, the game doesn't give you much reason to attempt to find them all.

The presentation is also a bit disappointing. Compared to the screenshots that have been steadily released in the time leading up to Unbox's launch, the game looks drastically different in practice and those who have been following its progress may be disappointed with how it turned out, at least on Xbox. The graphics and textures look much less crisp and almost drab without a lot of detail in many of the environments. On the playability side, everything functions mainly as intended. Due to your boxy nature, you're liable to get stuck here and there, and the developers have had the forethought to add a reset button that will let you manually respawn yourself at the nearest checkpoint if you get yourself in trouble.

It's a box. What did you expect?It's a box. What did you expect?

If you'll be going for all the achievements in Unbox, it's straightforward. However, there is an unobtainable achievement of which completionists should take note: Box in a China Shop. The developer is hoping to address it, but nothing has been patched as of this writing. Aside from the unobtainable, there are only 14 achievements, all of which can be earned simply by beating the game and gathering all the Golden Tapes and stamps, with a few miscellaneous tasks mixed in. Despite there being hundreds of them, the collectibles aren't terrible to find and there is a helpful box you can speak with in-game who will show you hints of their locations should you happen to get stuck.

Summary

Young gamers are the target audience of Prospect Games' Unbox: Newbie's Adventure. There's nothing wrong with that, but there isn't much here to appeal to the older and more experienced gamer, something at which other kids' titles have succeeded. The developer holds your hand throughout the adventure, which is annoying unless by chance this is the first video game you've ever played, and Unbox's one-trick combat and easy tasks won't captivate an adult's attention for long. Unless you plan to collect all 800 Golden Tapes, it's also a brief experience, clocking in at roughly 5-7 hours. The graphics are lackluster with a noticeable difference between advertisements of the game and how it actually looks. Provided the developer fixes the broken achievement, the list of 15 achievements is straightforward and simple with not much to it, much like the game itself.
3 / 5
Positives
  • Your kids will like it (a lot more than you do)
  • Some fun mini games and tasks
Negatives
  • Too simple and easy with far too much hand holding
  • Lackluster presentation
  • Short with not a lot to do besides finding collectibles
  • Unobtainable achievement
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent seven hours working for the Global Postal Service in Unbox, collecting the Master Stamp on all available worlds and amassing a good amount of the collectibles. 11 out of 15 achievements were earned for 550 gamerscore. An Xbox One copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Kelly Packard
Written by Kelly Packard
In a few descriptors: college student, longtime gamer, writer and junk food enthusiast. I am currently contributing to TrueAchievements as a news writer and reviewer. Usually you can find me knee-deep in a multiplayer game while ignoring my growing backlog or on one forum or another discussing all things gaming.