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Pile Up! Box By Box Review

Pile Up! Box By Box Review

I have to look no further than last night, as of when I am writing this that is, to give you an idea of how much fun Pile Up! is to play. Sri and I booted up the game on stream to play the first hour or so and before we knew it, we were two hours in and having an absolute blast. To add to that, since we played the game, I have already asked Sri multiple times if he wants to play some more.

Pile Up! is a family-friendly 3D platformer designed to be played cooperatively. You, and whoever you have to play the game with, play as a cardboard box and can roam around the small overworld or dive right into one of the complex and themed levels to complete objectives, collect boxes, and search for tape and other secrets. The premise is simple enough, and if you've played other 3D platformers in the past you will have a good idea of how Pile Up! plays. However, there's a lot of charm packed into Pile Up!, which I'm not just saying for the joke, it is something I believe that makes the game so enjoyable.

Pile Up! Box By Box Co-op Gameplay

The gameplay itself is very simple to figure out. You can lift and move regular boxes as well as some that contain springs or other special features as you solve an area's puzzle in order to continue on to the next section. The number of boxes you'll find in each area does change based on how many people you have and therefore how many you will need in order to complete a puzzle. You can pick up your teammates on your box's head and help them jump to higher levels, or bounce on top of them to launch yourself up to the higher areas. One mechanic in the game that is extremely useful for the chaos of multiplayer is that you cannot move onto the next section unless every player moves onto the rolled-up cardboard that separates each area. This makes it so no one can whisk you away to the next screen before you've finished messing around. The game is designed to work extremely well as a couch co-op with each area taking up the entire screen allowing for everyone to explore where they need to without any use of split-screen.

This is where I want to mention my one real caveat with the game. I did have a good time playing the game solo on my Nintendo Switch while relaxing on the couch, but I had infinitely more fun playing the game cooperatively. The reason I point this out is that the biggest reservation I have to recommend the game to someone is if they have people to play it with. Pile Up! is exclusively couch co-op, meaning only one copy of the game is needed for up to four players to play but you all need to be together. This isn't to say that the game is awful when playing by yourself, if you like 3D platformers there is a lot to enjoy here, though it is something to consider before picking up the game.

Developer Seed by Seed fully commits to the game's aesthetic, crafting a world entirely composed of cardboard. From tiny cardboard crabs in the sand to movable square soccer ball boxes in mini-games, everything fits the cutesy and fun aesthetic of the game perfectly. As you play the game you will also collect coins which you can use to get skins in the shop. I was particularly fond of a bumblebee skin that we ran around collecting coins specifically so I could purchase and use it. It was worth it.
 
Pile Up! Box By Box Arcade Games

Before I conclude, I want to mention one problem that Sri and I encountered during our time with the game. Sri played the game on his Nintendo Switch Lite and for the stream, we played on my Nintendo Switch. I am not sure if the hardware was the root of the problem, but I wanted to give all the details. When Sri started the game up on his system and tried to load into the overworld for the first time, the game froze on a black loading screen. After a few minutes, he closed the game and figured he'd deal with it later. Then, when I started the game on stream and went to load into the overworld myself, I was hit with the same frozen loading screen. This issue, on both systems, was resolved with a restart of the game, but it is a problem that I wanted to share so if you do end up picking up the game, which I do recommend, you don't sit on the frozen screen for minutes on end thinking it will load the game soon. After just one restart, the game loaded quite quickly.

If you want a break from the 3D platformer gameplay, you don't even have to leave the game because there is an arcade in Pile Up! that gives you access to a variety of games such as the box soccer that you see above. These games don't stand well as standalone experiences, but as a bonus material inside this game, they add to the fun. Don't get me wrong, you still have to work for it because the arcades are hidden throughout the levels, but once you have them you can head over to the arcade in the overworld and play them anytime. 

So how does Pile Up! Box By Box stack up? Well, it's is an incredibly fun game that is best played with at least one other friend beside you. The 3D platforming and puzzles are sometimes challenging but are always able to be figured out with a bit of exploration and sometimes a bit of back peddling. This game is one I would highly recommend to someone looking for a fun couch co-op, and while I would also recommend it to someone just wanting a good 3D platformer, it is definitely best played with others. Pile Up! Box by Box is out now on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.  A review code on Nintendo Switch was provided by the publisher and the game was played on a Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite for this review.

Pile Up! Box By Box | 7 | Good

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