Unboxing Review (PS5) | push square

Unboxing Review (PS5) |  push square
Unboxing Review (PS5) | push square 1

Unpacking’s title wonderfully and succinctly tells you what to expect. You inhabit the life of a young woman over the course of several years, living in her shoes solely by unpacking her worldly possessions. One year you could be decorating your college dorm, the next moving back home to live with your parents, and the next in a quaint home when you welcome a new child. Seeing which possessions stay with you every step of the way, and which items disappear, never to be seen again, makes for a surprisingly strong ambient storytelling experience. And the best of all? Playing Unpacking is really relaxing.

On a superficial level, the title is a puzzle game, but that doesn’t do the experience any favors. As you open boxes, there are very loosely defined places where you need to place certain objects. You can’t leave a toaster in the bathroom, for example, although there is a menu option to disable such restrictions, but beyond that, the game allows you to bend to your obsessive-compulsive heart’s desire.

Do you have to organize each book or item of clothing by color to pass the level? No, but it sure is satisfying to do so. The game provides these large empty rooms and then pushes you out of the nest, allowing you to populate them however you see fit. Most of the game’s eight levels are relatively simple, providing only a few rooms to juggle, adding to the calm atmosphere. Boxed items rarely belong in different rooms than where you’re unpacking, making the challenge even easier. The only level that really feels complex is the end, as you’re given an entire multi-story house to populate.

Music contributes to this relaxing atmosphere, with a whimsical chiptune/acoustic guitar soundtrack that floats perfectly in the background of the experience without drawing attention to itself. The delightful pixel art style works in sync with the sound, providing a bright and vibrant realm to inhabit and lose yourself in.

The game accomplishes absolutely everything it sets out to accomplish, with the exception perhaps of the controls. While the cursor system works adequately on a controller, the title is definitely better suited to a mouse and keyboard. Also, placing items behind other items or trying to get them into corners will very often not cooperate. But these are minor obstacles on the way to enjoying such an exceptionally wonderful game.

Unboxing Review (PS5) | push square 1

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