BOX BOY is probably one of HAL Laboratory’s most underrated games. It’s not got the adorable pink blob named Kirby and it’s easy to overlook when you have a company with as impressive a catalog of games as HAL does, but this title is genuinely one of the more simplistic yet charming puzzle series to come out over the last few years. After three games on the Nintendo 3DS, especially with the final game being titled ‘Bye Bye Box Boy!’, it did genuinely seem that we had seen the end of this series, before the release earlier this year of Box Boy and Box Girl on Nintendo Switch. On top of that, the Box Boy series has now made the jump to mobile devices, although the journey it has taken to get there is far from normal and comes with a little help from UNIQLO.
Nintendo has, of course, been dipping their toes more and more into the mobile market in recent years with games like Dragalia Lost and Fire Emblem Heroes, finding relatively strong levels of success with each project on mobile platforms. While HAL is an independent company not technically owned by Nintendo, the two companies have worked together to bring Box Boy to mobile platforms in the same way that they worked together on the console and handheld entries with Nintendo acting as a publisher. The reason its release on mobile is so unusual, however, is that, utilizing Nintendo’s close relationship with UNIQLO, instead of releasing the game as its own application, the Box Boy mobile game is exclusively available to play through the UNIQLO mobile app.
The game is accessible through the accounts page of the Japanese UNIQLO app and allows players to play an HTML5 version of the game within the application itself. Unlike other versions of the game, you don’t directly control Qbby, instead, creating a set of blocks that Qbby will then place and, if possible, automatically use to walk themselves to the goal. This does make for a rather different but still interesting experience and one that, after trying it rather briefly to write this article, rather enjoyed.
One of the purposes of such an endeavor is to push the introduction of Qbby into the UTme service offered by UNIQLO. This service works similar to a website like Redbubble, allowing people to create their own shirts or jumpers using their own designs or using a variety of officially licensed characters, of which Qbby is just the latest available to use. The service also allows you to buy designs created by others, and a variety of ‘official’ designs are also available to purchase.
I think Qbby is cute, even though their design is basic. The mobile game on offer here is a rather clever way to introduce people to the character as well as promote this new offer from the company. If you want to try Box Boy for yourself, you’ll need to download the UNIQLO mobile app, while you can access the UTme service (exclusively in Japan) here.