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Unboxing on Xbox Game Pass makes traveling fun

Source: Sara Gitkos / Windows Central

One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is that it opens up a whole world of opportunities for developers and gamers. The idea behind Game Pass was presented with a simple premise: find your new favorite game by exploring different genres and games that you might not otherwise choose. This was the case for me with Unpacking.

Unpacking is a charming game with a fairly basic idea: unpack the boxes and put things away to move forward. It’s a mix of simulation gameplay and puzzle solving, and it’s not very complicated. However, it’s much more than the title or premise suggests. You don’t just empty boxes; you unpack a life, and this theme hits harder than expected.

What is unboxing?

Unpacking the apartment kitchenSource: Sara Gitkos / Windows Central

Everyone has to unpack boxes in a new place at some point in their lives. Whether it’s for a bedroom, an office, or a new home, it’s a chore most people don’t want to deal with. So why play a game that focuses exclusively on one chore?

What’s so intriguing about unboxing is that it takes a horrible chore and turns it into a relaxing and moving experience. Between the heartfelt story and the desire to keep things neat and tidy, there’s a lot to do, even if it only lasts 4.5 hours. Players move from stage to stage, unboxing bigger boxes in bigger places to the beat of some fun pixel tunes in a soothing atmosphere.

There’s something so great about organizing things on a digital shelf, but the narrative that unfolds with each item you take from box to box is both subtle and so clear. Although no words are spoken during gameplay, each stage perfectly captures a specific mood, character, and feeling. The game does a great job of feeling familiar; from setting up your own bedroom to moving into your first home, anyone who goes through these stages can find something to connect with.

It also shows that what you own and take with you, wherever you go, can be a window into your life.

Unboxing graphics and gameplay

Start of the unpacking roomUnpacking the finished partSource: Sara Gitkos / Windows Central

The unboxing has a very charming aesthetic. Its pixel graphics, coupled with a great soundtrack, give the game a unique look and nostalgic feel even though it’s only set in 1997. The music is soothing, but it fits the tone of each scene perfectly. Without spoiling too much, it conveys various emotions as you unpack a new part of the main character’s life. The music does a great job of feeling familiar, but it’s completely original. A combination of synth beats, acoustic guitar, and classic old-school 8-bit styling make for easy listening. Although the graphics are not ultra-realistic, this type of game does not really need them. Instead, the old-school aesthetic is colorful and adorable. Plus, the sound effects are smooth, simple clicks, so no annoying noises every time you pick something up.

The gameplay itself is simple. You literally unpack the boxes with a click and are free to place the items almost anywhere within the available rooms. As the game progresses, just like life, you have a lot more luggage to unpack and more coins to put it on.

And boy, is the gameplay smooth. Clicking and dragging is intuitive, and you don’t have to worry about dropping an item or placing it in the wrong place. If you do, it’s just as easy to maneuver things to your liking. You don’t just throw books on shelves either; you hang clothes, find places for your games, set up workstations, and make sense of the chaos in the boxes. Once you’re done with a box, it folds up.

Every time you open a box, it’s like an unexpected gift. You never know what you’ll find, and where it all goes is up to you. It’s also exciting to see which elements make the journey from start to finish. Each piece tells a story, acting as clues to what the main character is up to at each stage of her life, and it’s fun to learn more about her as you unbox it all.

Unpacking the layout of the houseUnpacking the apartment bedroomSource: Sara Gitkos / Windows Central

Although you can place multiple objects in different places, specific items can have an assigned place. The game simplifies this process, however. Any items moved are easy to see and the room will light up red on the floor plan and main screen if you need to fix something. Regardless of minor restrictions, it’s up to you to make every living space your home. And to capture those moments, you can also take screenshots of your work at any time.

Each level is different, a new puzzle is waiting to be completed. Sometimes you have to use what little space you have, while others are more open and require you to find the right space for all your waste. However, within these intricacies the narrative unfolds. Believe me, I never thought I would care so much about a stuffed pig, and yet here I am. And just like life, it is full of ups and downs, personal discoveries and perseverance.

Is the unboxing worth picking up?

Unpacking the college dormSource: Sara Gitkos / Windows Central

Unboxing costs $20 on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or PC. That might seem like a steep price for such a short game, but right now you can get it with your Xbox Game Pass subscription.

I was originally going to bypass this one as I don’t always have disposable income to deposit on a game that I might not enjoy. $20 isn’t that much, but it’s still a lot to throw away. However, since it’s on Game Pass, I decided to give it a whirl, and I’m so glad I did. Much like Rain on Your Parade and Donut County, it’s a little game that’s quickly become one of my favorites. And when it leaves Game Pass, I’ll gladly deposit the money to keep it in my library.

Unboxing is a simple and relaxing game with a relatable story. I loved it so much that I started playing again right after I finished it. It’s not exactly bloody, overly hilarious or over the top, but it’s very real. There is no overdramatization; just the trials and tribulations of moving through life. And finding something to relate to is refreshing. We all create memories and sometimes those memories are the things we take with us.

Unboxing gives you so much freedom to get organized, and strangely enough, it’s so much fun and satisfying to empty each box. If that’s your jam or you’re looking to slow things down a bit, this is a great choice.

Move on !

Unpack render

Unpacking

A place for everything

Unloading boxes has never been so cold. Unpacking is a charming pixel-style game where you unpack different moments in a character’s life. Stack books, mugs and find a place for all your knick-knacks in this casual puzzle game.

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