Big fish, little fish, Girabox
Sadly, we are not about to gatecrash a 90s throwback rave but it was worth a shot. Today we are taking a look at minimalist puzzler Girabox, developed by Conradical Games and published by Drageus Games. The title is currently available to purchase digitally from the Nintendo eShop and offers a unique take on the genre with its back to basics approach while delivering deep gameplay. Girabox can be found on Steam and mobile devices for a similar price point, which is great to see.
Block Rockin’ Beats
Girabox is split across 6 themed packs, each with its own set of unique and challenging levels to complete. You will need to solve a total of 72 puzzles to finish the game, a decent amount of content for the budget price point of under $3/£3 – even on the Switch.
Instead of controlling the main character, a seemingly lifeless block, you control the world around it. The gameplay mechanic is blissfully straightforward, use the shoulder buttons to tilt the world from left to right as a means of progressing through each maze-like level towards the star-shaped goal. Besides hitting the reset to start over, that’s pretty much all there is to Girabox but that’s certainly not the end of our review.
You Spin Me Round
As you would expect, the initial set of levels are fairly easygoing and act as a means to ease you into how to play – without ever explicitly explaining things step-by-step. It won’t take long before you master what is required. All levels are unlocked from the start which is great, as when you inevitably get stuck, you can move on and try again at a later time. The difficulty ramps up with the introduction of moving blocks, one-way barriers and a heap of other mind-bending puzzles to solve. The pure child-like feeling of joy when nailing that one puzzle is second to none.
Each move is counted, displayed in the top corner of the screen, and totalled up at the end. It’s a great touch that adds replayability as you try to improve, as does the speedrun mode. The inclusion of online Leaderboards is also welcomed as it helps to gauge if your solution is in line with what other people have managed. It left me scratching my head on a few levels as I can’t see how anyone could have done it in fewer moves, something that keeps me awake at night still.
Visually Girabox is clear and crisp, with a nice textured effect wrapping uncluttered levels and keeping with the minimalist vibe. The overall presentation is not too dissimilar to Thomas Was Alone, Journey of the Broken Circle or Alteric. It works well on the Switch screen in handheld mode, and I can imagine looks great on a decent smartphone screen. I really enjoyed that each world pack was a different colour. The music plays an important part in rounding off the experience with a chilled-out soundtrack that blends into the background, never feeling intrusive.
Girabox is a fun puzzler that is suited to ‘on the go play’ or in short bursts. Everything is done well and to a high standard. The gameplay mechanic helps to set it apart from the countless number of puzzlers out there but having said that, there’s little we haven’t seen before in some shape or form. For the asking price, you are getting a unique puzzler with a decent amount of content that will entertain you throughout.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Mobile, Nintendo
Release Date: 27/11/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Arcade, Puzzle
Developer: Conradical Games
Publisher: Drageus Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop