Unpacking: Review


This game was reviewed on Playstation 5.

Reviewed by: Amanda Martin

This is a nice little game, perfectly capturing the satisfaction of unpacking boxes and decorating your new space. It also showcases the ability to create a narrative without having active dialogue or characters on screen. It follows the story of a person beginning in their younger life, unpacking toys and stuffed animals in their room. Through subtle story telling, you see the progress of them moving through life; moving in with another person, and eventually expanding the family.

The levels themselves are a pleasure to play through. They each contain a different amount of rooms, that all have boxes in them that need to be unpacked. And if you have any experience of moving house, not every item in those particular boxes belongs in that room. Thankfully, you can scroll through the rooms at the touch of a button, to find the perfect spot. Each room has plenty of playable space in it, even allowing you to leave items sitting on the floor until you can find the right spot for it. Or if you change your mind and decide to swap items around. And then change them back again...

A nice little touch of this game is that you unpack familiar items throughout the levels, from stuffed animals to games consoles and controllers. This helps to give a sense that you're following a singular story, rather than unpacking stuff belonging to completely different people every time. It also subtly shows the choices people have to make when they move homes, deciding what items they truly need, and which can be left behind, especially in the case of downsizing. I always felt a small sense of joy when I unpacked that little red bus and placed it proudly on a shelf.

Whilst there is some leniency in where you can place items, some have to be placed in certain areas within certain rooms. Once all the boxes have been emptied and discarded, incorrectly placed items will begin to flash red. They will continue to flash red until the have found their forever home, after which you receive a good star for your efforts, and a nice little photo which goes into your album. This album also acts as your chapter select, just in case you want to return to interact with certain items that unlock trophies. It's also handy if your OCD kicks in and you see something that isn't sitting just right.

The music used helps to punctuate the relaxed atmosphere that this game offers. There's no mad rush to complete a time trial, and there's nothing scored or ranked. It's all very chilled out, simply unpacking boxes on a rainy day. It's also a great way to spend an actual rainy day, as the whole thing can be completed in a matter of hours. It's also a single player experience, which gives the player a bit more control over the room, and stops any arguments on where the ukulele should go, and where the D20 should be displayed.

The level design is amazing, giving you access to everything that would be available in a real room. You can place items under your bed to give more room in the wardrobe for shoes and bags. There are two different types of hangers for shirts and trousers. Plants and ornaments can be dotted around on shelves and display cabinets, adding decoration to your rooms. Books can be organised on a different shelf from DVDs. There are many different opportunities to add your own sense of style into the rooms, and maybe even take inspiration from your real life home.

There are maybe a few tweaks that could be put in place to help smooth out the experience slightly. A feature that tells you exactly what you're trying to place would be helpful, as the design of the game makes it unclear at times. What I first thought to be a fridge magnet was actually a cookie cutter. Also a hint system could be utilised, showing you what room a specific item should be placed in, or if it should be placed on a countertop or in a cupboard. I did find myself stuck at times, just placing a particular item randomly until it worked.

A cosy little experience that will make you feel guilty if you still have unpacking to do in real life! 9/10

Reviewed by: Amanda Martin