A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
In multiplayer mode, working with others requires effective communication and collaborative problem-solving. Tasks within each main level require players to help members of the community with tasks only the boxlings have skills to complete. Rewards for completing the tasks are small, so it's a good opportunity to show how characters' gratitude is enough to make solving each puzzle worth it.
Ease of Play
Puzzles do scale in difficulty depending on number of players but are still extremely accessible to younger and beginning gamers, even at the highest level. But there's still enough to the levels to keep more experienced audiences interested.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pile Up! Box by Box is a casual platformer currently available for Microsoft Windows, with further releases on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 scheduled for the summer of 2021. Between one and four players will enter the adorable world of Boxling Square and begin a series of levels full of colorful puzzles and collectibles, with the goal of completing puzzles and unlocking cute skins. It's accessible for younger and beginning gamers, but there's enough to do that older and more experienced players will still be entertained. There's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.
Is It Any Good?
This puzzle platformer offers an instant shot of simple, wholesome fun, but it's ruined by technical flaws and, aside from multiplayer matches, limited play. Pile Up! Box by Box offers a relaxing experience that delivers exactly what it advertises: a relaxing experience. While playing solo is just fine, players may find themselves wishing for teammates when attempting Pile Up! alone. That's because while puzzle difficulty is scaled depending on the number of players, solo mode isn't engaging enough to keep more experienced gamers interested in the long run. Additionally, it isn't possible to play any of the arcade mini-games with fewer than two players. Solo mode is a great choice for those younger audiences looking to dip their toes into the platformer genre. All the basic conventions are there, and it's much less likely that new players will get frustrated or stuck on any particular puzzle than they would in a different game. But experienced gamers looking only to play solo might not be enthralled with Pile Up! past a few hours.
Another issue: It's rather difficult to navigate the menu and invite others to play when using a keyboard and mouse. While it's perfectly fine that this is a game designed to be used with a console-style controller, it's an odd choice to have the initial release be on Windows, especially when Steam's remote play, which allows players to join from their own devices rather than sharing the same screen, doesn't seem to work. As a multiplayer game, it's difficult to picture multiple adults gathering around a single PC, as well as going to the trouble to connect console-style controllers to their device, just to play this game -- especially when other casual co-op favorites won't ask them to leave the living room couch. Therefore, players might wish to wait for the console releases and add Pile Up! to their Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, or PS4 library as opposed to their computer.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.