Whether you’re talking about movies, video games, or really anything with the number "2" behind it, expectations are always higher for a sequel. As consumers, we sometimes offer conflicting suggestions. If we liked the original, we want more of that, but make it much better than the first one because who would just want more of the same thing? Such is the paradox that Boxed In 2 faces.
The original Boxed In was one of the first real games I downloaded on an iPhone, and I loved it almost immediately. You control a robot that has to push boxes onto specific points on a grid, thus enabling the robot to exit the level, with more than 50 levels on offer.
It can be mentally exhausting in part because you are not allowed to pull the boxes. You can push them from any side, but if they’re stuck against a wall, you don’t get to pull them back out. Each level becomes a quasi-chess match as you plan out your moves three steps in advance to see if you can move the blocks in the right place and also not block yourself from making future moves you’ll need for success.
I may be a sucker for simply constructed puzzle games, but I stand by Boxed In being one of the best on the iPhone. That’s why Boxed In 2 is so frustrating. Essentially, I should love Boxed In 2; it is exactly the same game. The only difference is that the color schemes of the backgrounds have changed from blue to green. Sure, the 50 puzzles from the original have been replaced by 50 new box layouts, but so many of the early layouts offer a the faint echo of déjà vu that you begin to wonder which game you’re playing.
And then there’s the conundrum mentioned above. Shouldn’t Boxed In 2 deliver some sort of new gameplay mechanic or new thrill that makes it more essential than its predecessor? I feel like it should, but it does not.
You’re able to hit a button to revert back to your previous move, and there’s a button to reset the level to its starting position, but those were both found in the original Boxed In, as well. I’m very glad developer Dennis Mengelt didn’t include a hint button, but I need something else here.
They’re both 99 cents in the iTunes App Store, so you can’t go wrong with either, but it’s hard to recommend this to fans of the first unless you really felt the urge to move more boxes again.