Unbox: Newbie's Adventure

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Unbox: Newbie's Adventure Game Poster Image
Cute but generic platformer unpacks a few hours of fun.

Parents say

Not yet rated

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive messages

Collaboration, cooperation, friendship are central themes as Newbie meets, helps lots of new pals.

Positive role models & representations

Newbie works with other characters, but only to get something in return; other people can be seen as too needy, dependent to help themselves.

Ease of play

Simple controls, easy to learn.

Violence & scariness

As players roll, jump across platforms, they must avoid hazards (like saw blades, jets of flame, water). Some areas contain enemy boxes that attempt to crash into players; enemies are knocked out by a slam attack, resulting in "dizzy stars," rubber ducks floating above characters' heads.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Unbox: Newbie's Adventure is a downloadable 3D platform game. There's no real violence to speak of, outside of body slamming the ground near enemies, which produces "dizzy stars" or rubber duckies above their heads. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found. The game is easy to pick up, though there's a miniscule bit of awkwardness adapting to the fact that you control a box that "rolls" instead of runs around. 

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What's it about?

UNBOX: NEWBIE'S ADVENTURE casts you in the titular role as Newbie, a new box created by the failing Global Postal Service to hopefully save it. Although it was nearing bankruptcy, the company developed self-delivering, sentient cardboard boxes that can roll, jump, and "unbox" to their destinations as a way to become more efficient and profitable. The game gives you a few large worlds to explore and collect stamps in to keep your rivals, the Wild Cards, at bay. The Wild Cards are a team of sentient boxes who went rogue and believe the mail is better off with the Global Postal Service being replaced by their burgeoning company, the Greaser Postal Service. Whether that happens depends entirely on you.

Is it any good?

This modern take on the classic platformer genre can be summed up in a single word, which is "fine." Fine, as in, Unbox: Newbie's Adventure doesn't exactly rock the boat in terms of weaving in new ideas or exploring things that games haven't done before, but it doesn't set out to do that. No, Unbox seems intent on providing a standard, solid, couple-hour adventure giving players the opportunity to exercise their twitchy impulses in navigating and leaping over obstacles while also collecting various collectibles (stamps, golden masking tape) if they want. Kids are likely to be entertained, but are also just as likely to get bored by extended play sessions. While you are literally doing the same things over and over again in different locales, what drives this boredom more is just how generic the game is, all the way down to its repetitive music.

Still, if you dive in and stay submerged, you'll find challenging platforming action. The developers did a good job of creating worlds and levels to defy your ability to make jumps, do them quickly, and do it all with precision. There's some sloppiness in the inclusion of a "respawn" button, meaning if you get stuck and can't pry yourself out of unexpected corners, you can explode in a cloud of packing peanuts and re-emerge at an earlier checkpoint. You'll need to do that a lot, because your cube doesn't so much roll as flip itself side to side, meaning you'll get stuck in ways you wouldn't in other games. Combat, though infrequent, can be fairly imprecise for this same reason. Worst of all, glitches can rear their head unexpectedly and crash the game. As long as you're aware of these issues going in and are fine with them, you'll have a mostly enjoyable ride for a little while.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about compassion and empathy as it's implied or expected in video games. Although it's generous and kind of the protagonist to go around doing favors for characters, would you be so willing in your real life to help everyone who asks something of you? Should you? Where and why should you set boundaries to that kind of behavior? 

  • What do you notice about works of fiction (and nonfiction) that are created for younger audiences? How do you think younger people are underestimated in terms of their intelligence and curiosities both in real life and in the media you consume?

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Themes & Topics

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