Switch version tested
Review code provided
Box Align is a relaxing state of mind puzzler that is simplistic in design yet challenging enough to keep you engaged. The concept is simple, align some boxes (then it’s not just a clever name) to clear the screen. These boxes must be aligned with a minimum of three of matching colour in a straight row. Each level will present you with a configuration of boxes which you must move one at a time with the catch being that each move must result in an alignment that will clear a line of boxes until all are gone.
As you progress through the generous offering of 99 stages the configurations become more unique and complex providing a natural trial and error theme. Using the camera to take a good look from each angle is the key to planning your attempt. Luckily you can reset the level with a touch of the X button if you make a mistake or see an obvious error with your tactic.
The core boxes on offer feature seven various colours as well as five special boxes that are introduced at a steady pace throughout the game. Providing a couple of levels to get used to each new special before throwing it into the mix allows the whole experience to flow more naturally and if you find yourself forgetting how a specific box works you can revisit previous levels including said box’s introduction level for a refresher at any time.
Box Align is blissfully free of loading screens and cumbersome menu’s, once the game fires up it’s straight into the action, so to speak. The game does not apply countdowns, so you are free to take your time with each puzzle. As relaxing and steadily paced as the game is it won’t be long before you find yourself up against a few head-scratchers as the challenge kicks in and continues to escalate. I didn’t find these to be frustrating, but some certainly had me stumped for several tries as I attempted new methods and tried to remember the moves I had made previously. The engagement and type of focus required were refreshing and overcoming a particularly challenging level gave me a decent sense of achievement and satisfaction along with feeling much more focused after a short session of playing.
Presentation is minimalistic in all the right ways, in a game about lining up different coloured boxes there isn’t much to expect from the obvious, as such, this is a game that is designed and will appeal to a specific yet potentially smaller audience than your more traditional title, that being said, the work and execution put into Box Align is superb. Everything stands out perfectly with intuitive controls making the gameplay as smooth as the soft ambient music and sound effects that feature throughout. I must confess I did find myself turning the music off on occasion as I found it easier to focus without but that is a personal preference. Touchscreen controls are also optional and work very well, once again feeling intuitive and simplistic.
With a game that aims for engaging simplicity to provide a relaxing experience Box Align is everything it aims to be and perfect for its target audience. It’s nice to have something to engage your mind in the right way, help you chill out while still getting some gaming time in. Ordinarily, I would say a challenge mode would be a good inclusion but that would go against the whole purpose of what this title is trying to achieve although as mentioned previously, the difficulty does ramp up fairly quickly which may take some players by surprise. If you are of the mind to play something a bit more casual yet more cerebral for a change of pace, then Box Align stands out nicely as an alternative to the plethora of action-heavy roguelikes on the eShop. 99 levels, most of which have replay value over time and all for a bargain price, Box Align is a title that deserves a place in your collection.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Steam
Release Date: 11/04/2019
No. of Players: 1
Developer: Kasulo Game Studio
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
Download link: eShop