Developer: Witch Beam
Publisher: Humble Games
Release Date: 01 November 2021
Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Game Pass
RRP: $28.95 AUS
Unpacking is a zen puzzle game 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 cute, relaxing, 2-D pixel-art puzzle game where the player discovers the story as they unpack belongings each time the invisible main character moves house. As someone who likes uniformity and actually sometimes enjoys putting things away neatly (except my mountain of washing tbh) this game really appealed to me!
From trying to fit your belongings into the bachelor pad of the guy you’ve just moved in with, to discovering a walking cane and pain pills and realising the main character suffered from an injury that forced her to move back into her childhood home, this game is cute and cozy and even gets a little emotional at times! There are nice little touches like identifiable fridge magnets you keep seeing, the growing and evolving collection of gaming consoles, and as time goes on your beloved stuffed toy gets visibly older. There is also an option to do things that ‘lazy’ way, ie just slapping clothes in the cupboard or on hangers where they fit, or you could be totally picky about it an line everything up neatly. The game doesn’t penalise you if you are a bit more sloppy, so long as t\objects go in the right places.
The soundtrack is totally relaxing and fits the cozy, low-stress vibes of the game by delivering a lo-fi atmosphere that pairs perfectly with the zen of unpacking trinkets or neatly folded underwear over and over again. It consists of kind of a retro almost 8-bit sound and lots of guitar (and ukulele!) that gives it a kind of timeless feel, even though the dates are clearly articulated on each level.
The graphics are likewise totally cute and pixelated, nothing in high resolution. I believe this is to deliver a kind of cartoony look to the game and make it easier for the player to step into the mindset and mind of the invisible main character.
It’s a quick game that took me only 2 sittings to complete. I generally don’t like to spend hours and hours on a game since I easily get bored while playing if it’s too challenging or not challenging enough (and believe me, I am forever in search of the perfect sweet spot!). Overall it’s just really satisfying finding a place for everything, including the things that get packed into the wrong boxes.
It’s sold on Steam for around $28 but I wouldn’t pay that much for this relatively small amount of content and I recommend you wait until it goes on sale. I believe it is also available on the Switch however I’m not sure a point and click puzzle is as easy to navigate on a console. I played it as part of the Xbox Game Pass on my PC. There are extra elements I didn’t explore like setting your room up for the perfect picture and using filters.
All video games are purchased by myself or gifted from a friend.