Unpacking First Impressions

Format: PC via Steam

Unpacking. A young girl's room with lots of action figures, books, stuffed animals, and a diary.

My rendition of the first level

Every year I’m always excited for PAX and this year was no exception. With the PAX Online format, I’m pleased to be able to share with you my first impressions of several games, including Unpacking. Unpacking is a casual puzzle game following the wordless story of one character as she makes moves throughout her life. See what items stay, change, and fall by the wayside as the character moves through life.

Unpacking. A bedroom with empty bunkbed and 3 large boxes

When starting a level players have no idea what boxes contain

The Unpacking demo covers the first two moves of the unnamed female character. The first appears to be moving into a new childhood room, around the age of a preteen. The second move looks like a tiny single bedroom apartment, perhaps during college / university. The final game aims to have eight moves total. As the moves get bigger, players can switch back-and-forth between rooms with arrows on the sides of the screen.

Unpacking. Unpacking a boot from a box in the kitchen

Finding an unmatched boot in a kitchen box

Switching back-and-forth between rooms is often necessary, since just like in real moving, objects often come out of the wrong box. But if the player wants, there’s nothing to stop the player from putting all their shoes on the kitchen counter and their pots and pans in their bed. At least not initially. After placing all the objects, some items will highlight and the player will be forced to move them. From what I experienced in the demo, I couldn’t tell what decided the items that had to be moved or where they had to be moved to.

Unpacking. A tiny kitchenette with mismatched dishes and a cluttered counter

Despite my mess in the kitchen, the game didn’t have me move anything

From the Unpacking demo, the story so far shows a young girl that likes drawing, reading, and stuffed animals growing into a young adult. Her drawing becomes more professional, most of her stuffed animals disappear, and her wardrobe becomes less feminine. I’m curious to see how her moving reflects others coming into and out of her life.

Unpacking. Small bathroom with a cluttered sink

The bathroom supplies suggest she lives alone at this point

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Expectation

Overall, I enjoyed the creative story-telling of Unpacking. It didn’t feel too much like a puzzle to me, although I often had to go back to move things around so I could place new items where I wanted. I’m curious how long the final game will be since the initial two levels took me less than 25 minutes. I imagine as the stuff being moved and the space being moved into grows, the levels will increase in length.

Have you found anything you’re excited about at PAX Online?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Categories: Desktop games, Video game reviews

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