Creator: Bart Bonte
Price: Free! (ad-supported, optional in-app purchases)
Content Rating: All Ages
Update 5/23: An online version with 30 levels has been released!
You can’t be a puzzle game fan and not love Bart Bonte. Or at least, you shouldn’t, because for over a decade he’s been putting out consistently high-quality and quirky free games that challenge and delight players of any age. His most recent is What’s inside the Box?, available free for your Android or iOS device, and at 100 levels, you’ll be tapping your way through layer after layer for a while! For a small fee, you can permanently disable ads and unlock a function that allows you to skip levels, all while supporting the developer! If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, try the free online version with 30 levels, but something different is inside each one!
The design is simple; figure out how to advance from one level to the next by tapping on the box to interact with it. Each stage is its own puzzle, and some are more straightforward than others. The game quickly goes from merely asking you to tap a button, to requiring you to figure out what it wants from you at all. Most of them are fairly quick once you figure out what, exactly, you’re meant to be doing, making What’s inside the Box? one of those fun little “a-ha!” games that make you feel clever instead of frustrated. Several puzzle types crop up repeatedly, albeit in altered ways, and some mechanics are fiddlier than others.
Still, What’s inside the Box? has a comparatively simple presentation when held up alongside most of Mr Bonte’s other body of work, and the lack of a more whimsical design, or even the funky musical soundtracks fans have come to expect, makes the game feel a lot more utilitarian than you’d expect. The result is a fun little mind-teaser you’ll enjoy while you play, but one that doesn’t necessarily grip you. Despite that, Bart Bonte proves he’s very good at doing a lot with very little, and What’s inside the Box? is quite a nice little package indeed. The hints, which you can either access after watching a short ad each time or whenever you like if you’ve paid to remove ads from the app, do a nice job of slowly getting more and more direct, though some puzzles can simply be brute-forced. What’s inside the Box? is worth picking up and giving a shake… who knows what will fall out?