Where's the Box?
Review written by
September 30th, 2014
I really wasn't sure what to expect coming into Shut the Box. The Wii U has a great track record with indie titles though, so I kept an open mind. The screens I was greeted with on the eShop gave me hope for a puzzle title that could keep me entertained for weeks to come. Upon booting up the game I was welcomed to my experience with a drab looking title screen and no response from any of the face buttons on the GamePad. In this instance, I felt my faith in the title begin to diminish, and suddenly I wasn't so excited to hit that start button.
Once you start the game, you'll come to a screen with twenty seven tiles in three rows and a button to roll your dice. After rolling your dice you must select a tile with either the corresponding number or two or more numbers that add up to that number. At first you can only select tiles from the first row, but after removing a tile, you are able to select the one immediately behind it. This process continues until either you cannot make any moves with the remaining tiles or all tiles have been removed from the play field. In either case, you will see a pop up asking if you wish to start a new game. This brings up one of my biggest issues with the game, and that is the finite amount of points available.
You may be asking yourself, how is this a problem? Well, since you earn points from each tile you match, you can never score more than one hundred thirty-five points. This means that you can never beat your high score once you played a perfect game. This issue hurts the game's longevity because, due to the random nature of the dice, it is completely possible to play a perfect game within minutes.
Shut the Box uses the GamePad's touch screen for all of its inputs. This feels like a real missed opportunity since the game seems like it could have easily had support for the Classic Controller or the Wii Remote by simply adding a cursor. Additional controller support could have potentially added multiplayer, which could have helped the game's longevity and replay value. Developer RCMADIAX could have had an entertaining party game if they had only added this one feature.
The game features a total of three screens and what's here isn't all that impressive. We have seen far better looking titles on the eShop, not to mention other titles on mobile platforms, making this even more of a disappointment. The visuals take a hit on the GamePad, which is what you'll be playing the game on due to its control scheme. This makes the graphics a little more blurry since the GamePad screen has a lower resolution than a TV. This isn't a game breaker, but, as the game is relegated to the GamePad it feels like the visuals should have been optimized for the smaller screen.
Even with all of my other complaints about Shut the Box, I have to say that the audio presentation is easily the worst part of this entire package. The game features only one song that is only about twenty seconds long. This means you'll be hearing that same twenty seconds of uninteresting music the entire time you play. The sound effects are even worse, featuring only a sound for rolling the dice and a couple of beeps. Shut the Box has sound design that is absolutely abysmal. This is one I recommend you play with the sound off, if you play it at all.
I came into this review asking myself if I should cut this game a break. It's a budget indie title on the Wii U's eShop and costs only a dollar. Honestly, your dollar would be better spent on a soda. Shut the Box offers absolutely nothing to anyone. It doesn't deserve your attention nor does it deserve to be on the eShop. It's a title that brings down the entire value of the eShop simply by being there.
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