Remember when your parents wanted you to perform totally unreasonable demands (like keeping quiet in the car or cleaning your room), so they tried to trick you into thinking it would be fun by calling it a game? I'm sure I'm not the only one who ever played "The Quiet Game" or "The Pick Up Toys Game" or "The See How Many Blades of Grass You Can Cut With Your Teeth Game".
Anyway, let me assure you right now: BOXGAME does not in any way involve heavy lifting. I know it sounds like a trick your buddy might pull on you when they are moving and want your help, but it's nothing of the sort.
No, the source of Boxgame's name is obvious once you realize that it's basically a platformer wrapped around a box (or several). Use the [arrow] keys to guide your nameless, faceless hero to the exit, grabbing a key along the way if you need it. When you reach the edge of a face, the level rotates, bringing the new face to the front. What makes Boxgame tricky is the fact that gravity is always down. This would, of course, be perfectly normal for a 2D platformer, but makes all the difference in 3D. Now, the gravity on any given face can be different, depending on just how you got there. Don't quite understand? Load up level 9 and jump towards the corner for a quick demonstration.
This gravitational oddity bears some resemblance to games like Shift, where you can rotate the entire screen. The effect is a bit more subtle in Boxgame, and slightly harder to grasp, but gamemaker Sophie Houlden (who incidentally made Linear RPG) makes it easy, with a gentle difficulty curve to get you used to all this rotating business. The first three levels are basically tutorials, but then things start to get tricky. Elements like spikes, color-specific platforms, and arrows that redefine gravity are gradually introduced, and the levels grow larger and more complex. To help you get your bearings on the later levels, you can zoom out by holding down [space] and rotate the view with the [arrow] keys. As of the time of writing there are 15 levels, but more are being added, so check back often!
Analysis: Clearly, the meaty goodness of Boxgame lies in its unique concept and level design. Houlden makes good use of a few simple devices to strike a good balance between puzzle-solving and platforming skill, both of which are needed in heavy doses in the later levels. Most levels also use space in a quite elegant way, with very little excess. The visual and audio aspects of the game are only as sophisticated as they need to be, and no more.
Boxgame also excels at an often underappreciated aspect of games: usability. Entering the options page provides you with a palette of customizable controls, including colors to suit any type of colorblindness, adjustable mouse sensitivity, and 5 quality levels. In addition, there are multiple ways to rotate the level for a better view (holding [shift] or [space] and using the [arrow] keys, or just dragging the mouse), a choice between constant or sudden camera rotation (press [tab]), and the option to walk instead of run (hold [S]). The only area with less than stellar usability is the level menu navigation — it's sometimes hard to select a level with the constant shifting around.
But nobody plays games just because they're usable. They play them because they're fun! And no matter how you look at it, Boxgame is fun to play. Don't forget your teddy bear!