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Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Review: Box Maze (Steam)

Sometimes I wish I had the ability to hold back on my bombardment of criticism for the sake of the developer. After all, Box Maze here is the development debut of “ABI7ITY”, and I’m sure there’s a possibility he can make some quality entertainment in the future. Anybody could if he or she can puts their mind to it and keeps at it. When those years come around, people can look back on their older creations and proceed to wonder why they would have ever thought to make them the way they did. It’s happened with me and I bet it will happen with ABI7ITY as well. With that said, here’s my review of Box Maze.


Bleh…! This is certainly not what I’d call good art design. There’s so much inconsistency with the graphics in Box Maze it’s hard to make of it as a whole. Assets like the exit door and I assume the cupcakes are drawn as one would casually do so in MS Paint or other similar programs. Other graphics have more detail, but can be borrowed from different sources, therefore clashing with each other. This is most evident with the apples and squares. While all the squares move around the screen constantly, there’s no animation at all except for the protagonist’s “running” effect, the explosion when dying or colliding with fake tiles, and the admittedly calming rain and snow background effects. Despite those things, the levels are ugly-looking all around and seem to have been crafted within a few minutes each.


There’s a chiptune soundtrack in this game, but it consists of only one track and it plays throughout the duration of the entire adventure. It’s always a necessity to have multiple music files and sound effects to help make the action a bit more lively (Well, not that the graphics are doing Box Maze any favors).


I’ll be frank; I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by any game with the word “Maze” in the title. The problem is: Box Maze just isn’t fun at all. The game is a series of basic platforming around tasteless level designs that lack any sort of evident inspiration. They are just there, and are stretched out the way they are to pad out the game length. The majority of the levels are arguably not even mazes since they are way too linear to be classified as such. Each level contains the same types of evil squares and sometimes moving platforms; they get old rather quickly. Box Maze sadly provides no variety as progress is made. Each stage brings up a sense of deja vu from the last. Even the boss stages play out like regular levels, except the player has to keep moving to avoid being hit by projectiles aimed at him or her.


What puzzles me is why ABI7ITY would decide to bring his first game to Steam of all places. There are plenty of bad games for sure, but Steam is also the home of the heavy hitters. It’s best to come into the Steam marketplace with all your might at hand and creation tools set for developing a cool game or many. In Box Maze‘s case, it seems more like something that belongs on Gamejolt without a price tag on it. First games are best kept not in the market, but somewhere that shows the creator is open to feedback and willing to improve his or her talents for projects in the future. Meaning I don’t recommend Box Maze at all as the Steam game it is. What I do recommend is that this developer learns from its mistakes.

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