Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022

An important part of the gameplay of many puzzles is the movement of objects. It can be words, like in Baba Is You, or boxes, like in Bonfire Peaks, but the essence of all these games is about the same. So Patrick’s Parabox belongs to the same category – it also offers interesting mechanics and, like the best representatives of the genre, over and over again throws up unusual ways to use it.

In and out

At first, the game does not reveal its main secret and pretends to be another puzzle. In the role of a square with eyes, we move across the field and push the squares without eyes in different directions. The task is to place the figures on the specified positions, marked with white frames, and then stand on the field prepared for the main character. Then the level will be considered completed, and the player will either be immediately teleported to the next puzzle, or sent to the world map.

The first distinguishing feature of Patrick’s Parabox appears already at the fourth level, when among the squares there are sort of labyrinth squares with patterns carved inside them. If such a figure is pressed against the wall, then when you try to push it, the character will get inside the labyrinth – unless, of course, there is an entrance from the selected side. In the same way, you can put other squares in there, and then push them out from the other side.

Let’s go deeper.

Lone developer Patrick Traynor has obviously played a lot of puzzle games, so he manages to explain every mechanic without comment, just like in some The Witness. It simply puts the player in a situation from which there is only one way out – for example, it locks the user in a narrow “gut”, where it is possible to move only in one or two directions. At the same time, he built an amazing difficulty curve – when you get into a new world, first you go through a couple of elementary levels, and then you face increasingly difficult challenges.

Patrick's Parabox: Overview

Each world has its own theme – until you start to pass, you will not know which one.

Pretty soon, the mechanics of penetrating into other squares is developing – more and more often it turns out that inside the labyrinth squares there is exactly the same level as outside it. And inside, the same square with eyes runs back and forth, only many times smaller. Here the game is even more exciting – it’s hard to remember in which puzzles the idea of ​​\u200b\u200brecursion was implemented in this way. You begin to follow not only the overall picture, but also what is happening inside the square, calculating the next moves and thinking where to enter and where to exit to win.

For all categories

One of the main advantages of Patrick’s Parabox is the size of the levels. There are rare situations here when there are too many objects, the map is too big, and you sit and suffer, sorting through dozens of options – Baba Is You sometimes suffered from this. Small locations allow you to solve puzzles from the end, although this method does not always work, especially when you start shoving some squares into others, and those into thirds. But in such cases, experiments begin, and you can either restart the entire level with one click, or cancel the last actions one by one – mistakes are not punished in any way.

Patrick's Parabox: Overview

The management is explained, but the mechanics are not.

In addition, the game does not require you to complete each level – in order to access the next world, you need to complete only a small part of the available puzzles. Some puzzles can be conditionally called story puzzles (there is no plot here, of course) – they are not the most difficult and are arranged in the order in which they should be completed. And some levels hint at a slightly higher difficulty with a red frame around their icons – it’s hard to call them impossible, but it will take longer to think about solving puzzles.

Both the first category and the second sometimes offer wonderful, catchy puzzles. For example, the labyrinth level, consisting of identical squares glued together, is passed quite quickly, but leaves a bright impression. Or a level where, like in Tetris, a glass is filled with a dozen squares and you have to push them from the bottom to build the maze correctly. There are plenty of other, more unusual surprises – it’s better to see everything for yourself. It’s not for nothing that the game won the Best Design category at the 2020 Independent Games Festival.

From small to large.

Patrick’s Parabox doesn’t delight in the way that Baba Is You and The Witness did, so it doesn’t get an “Our Choice” badge or the highest score, but it can definitely be called commendable. A great idea, a great implementation, enough variety and original use of unusual mechanics – the recipe for a successful puzzle. Not everyone manages to follow these rules, but Patrick Trainor succeeded – even if the game looks plain from the outside, it will be impossible to break away from it after passing the first five levels.

Pros: original gameplay mechanics that are used in a variety of ways; several hundred levels; excellent difficulty curve – there is never a feeling that the next level is noticeably more difficult than the previous one; simple but enjoyable soundtrack.

Cons: admires not as much as the masterpiece representatives of the genre.

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