Pile Up! Box by Box review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: HandyGames
Developer: Seed By Seed
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: No

If cuteness were everything, Pile Up! Box by Box would be a GOTY contender. Everything about it is absolutely adorable, from the sentient boxes that you play as to the hand-crafted environments that bring to mind games like Tearaway and Yoshi?s Crafted World. It?s hard to play this game and not come away impressed by the amount of love that clearly went into making this world.

It?s too bad, then, that the same amount of love and care didn?t go into the gameplay.

It?s not that Pile Up! is a bad game. It bills itself as a family-friendly 3D platformer, and that?s basically what it delivers. If you?re looking for something to play with very young kids, the lack of enemies and unlimited lives — not to mention the co-op gameplay — probably make this an ideal choice.

For anyone else, though, it?s going to be a pretty dull experience. It?s hard to imagine anyone being challenged by the puzzles here, since they?re all pretty basic. There are no stakes, with no enemies and no clocks, so you can just wander slowly through each level — though there?s a limit to how much wandering you can do, since even if the levels are 3D, everything moves in a pretty linear fashion.

To be fair, there are occasional opportunities to explore if you really want to pick up extra coins, but I can?t see why you?d want to do that. Not only do the coins not serve any purpose, the platforming is kind of terrible — jumps are hit or miss, and the camera is offset just enough that it?s occasionally challenging to get a proper perspective of where you?re going. However, given how unhurried everything is, it?s not as if you need to pick between picking up some useless coins or rushing through this game?s four levels — there?s plenty of time for both, especially if you?re looking to stretch this game out as long as possible for some unfathomable reason.

Actually, that?s a tiny bit unfair — as I said, Pile Up! screams ?family-friendly?, so if you?re looking to pick up a game to play with some younger kids and want to stretch the experience out, you can certainly do so here.

For anyone else, though, Pile Up! is probably a game you can safely overlook. No matter how cute it may be, it?s not exactly fun to play, and at the end of the day, that?s the most important thing.

HandyGames provided us with a Pile Up! Box by Box Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-