Unpacking from Witch Beam and Humble Games is a charming puzzle game in which you’ll be unpacking boxes. Find out why this is a unique experience in our Unpacking review!
Unpacking is a zen puzzle game from Witch Beam about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Part block-fitting puzzle, part home decoration, you are invited to create a satisfying living space while learning clues about the life you’re unpacking.
Unpacking is a very unique experience in which you’ll follow someone’s life from 1997 as she moves into a new room. After this, you’ll unpack boxes as she goes to university, moves with her boyfriend, and more. The gameplay is pretty simple: pick a box from one of the rooms you have to unpack (the residences become progressively bigger as she advances in her life), and place said item. I liked how placing the items was very intuitive, and you can place items everywhere on the residences. As you have finished unpacking the last box of any residence, the game will add a red overlay to each item that isn’t properly placed – it is usually quite easy to determine the correct location of the items that were misplaced.
There is a lot to love in this unique experience, and one of the most impressive one for me was how the whole game tells a story without any dialogue. The different objects and locations visited will let you understand at your own pace how her life goes. Another thing I liked is that as you progress from your first bedroom to an apartment, you’ll notice that some elements are weirdly placed in the boxes. A toaster in the box going into the bedroom? A toothbrush in the bedroom box? I later realized that this does make a lot of sense from the perspective of someone moving to a bigger residence, and this added to the immersion. The game begins easy enough, but as you open and unpack boxes, you’ll realize just how much stuff there is in each move! Once a box is emptied, clicking on it one last time does a very satisfying animation as it vanishes.
On the presentation side, Unpacking is flawless. I loved discovering new places as the main character moved on with her life, and the background soundtrack was charming and relaxing. Also worth noting that Unpacked has a huge library of sound effects and the game has as many as 14.000 audio files for this! Dropping an object over a surface will give you a different sound effect than dropping the same object over a different surface. There are even different sound effects for how an object lands on the same surface! The PlayStation 5 version also uses the DualSense speaker for the sound effect, which was great. Speaking of which, there’s an option to either output the sound effects to the TV and/or the DualSense. My suggestion is to have it only on the DualSense since this helps with immersion.
On the accessibility side, I was pleased to see that the game offers a few options to help you play the game. You can increase the icon size, change colors, and even activate an Easy Mode that allows you to place items anywhere, completely bypassing the puzzle element of the game, a good option for when you can’t quite figure out where this last item should be placed.
On the trophies side, all trophies are initially hidden and are composed of 10 Bronze trophies, 9 Silver Trophies, and 6 Gold trophies. The game would prove challenging to achieve the Platinum without a guide since you would not know what to do for the half of the trophies that are not story-related. The game is Cross-Buy between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions, so you can get two new Platinum trophies for your time, and it should take you less than 3-4 hours to achieve or about half of that if you’re following a guide.
I honestly liked playing Unpacking since it is such a unique experience. I enjoyed how the game tells a story without any words, and unpacking items over and over again in a new setting was fun. I thought that the gameplay became somewhat repetitive towards the end when you have a lot of rooms to fill, but luckily you can turn the puzzle mode off and just enjoy unpacking boxes. Add two Platinum trophies, and you are looking at a game that is very easy to recommend.
This Unpacking review is based on a PlayStation copy provided by Humble Games.