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ColecoVision Boxxle Review - Best Homebrew Game Yet?


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While Ive only just gotten back into collecting ColecoVision games about 8 months ago, Ive been aggressively collecting all the homebrew carts and by now I think Ive managed to get ahold of almost all of them all, and I have to say that Boxxle either tops the list of games Ive collected, or it at least enters a small group of perfect 10 homebrew games Ive played so far.

Everything about Boxxle is just perfect. The packaging, the cartridge, the game itself, everything goes above and beyond what I would expect from a homebrew release and looks and feels every bit like a commercially released game.

Wait, Boxxle??? REALLY?!?!? Yes, really. Ok, while the game itself on the surface may look simple, and there aren't a lot of graphics to it, what it includes has been extremely well done and wonderfully polished. Boxxle was first introduced as the Japanese puzzle game Soukoban and has been available on many different platforms over the years. But Boxxle was the version introduced on the original B&W Game Boy in 1989, and then followed up later with Boxxle II. The ColecoVision version is a coded from the ground up conversion of both of those games by Mystery Man.

Yes, the artwork in the game is simple, but it looks GREAT! Your main character has wonderful detail in it, the colors really pop, and the animation looks fantastic. The boxes that you move around also look great. The music fits the game perfectly, its fun, exciting, and when you finish a level it really draws into into want to keep playing more. And the levels are not easy. Even some of the levels earlier on in the game will take a few tries to figure out. Its a good thing this cart saves your progress because there are over 200 levels included! Even though the game is challenging, its really super fun!

Oh, yeah, thats another thing. Not only is the game great, but the packaging is some of the best Ive seen including all original artwork inspired from the original release, a full-color manual, an controller overlay, and the Activision style cart with a spot in the back to store your overlay. Pixelboy tells me this game uses the PCB to its full potential and not only saves your progress in the game, but Boxxle also includes a full level editor where you can create your own challenging puzzles!

I spent a lot of time in my early days in the games business when taking Game Counseling calls at a small Nintendo Licensee in SoCal (remember when game counseling was a thing???) and I played Boxxle on my Game Boy in between those calls. This game is not only a great throwback to an awesome Game Boy title but 26 years later a MUST HAVE if you're a ColecoVision fan.

I really have to stop and remind myself This is a HOMEBREW title?!?!? Huge kudos to Mystery Man, Luc, and all of Team Pixelboy involved for putting together an all-around high quality game. If you have not picked up the game yet, I would email Luc right now and make sure you get one before they sell out!

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Boxxle. It is perfect in every way. So lets move on to some photos & video of the game!

Video:



boxxle_box.jpg
Lets take a look at the overall packaging. The box, the overlay, the manual, the cartridge, it all just looks so professional.

boxxle_cart.jpg
Im a huge fan of the Activision style cart. While it doesn't replace the nostalgia of the original Coleco cart, there is something sleek and cool about this cart design.

boxxle_cart_back.jpg
And yes, your overlay will fit nicely in the back! =)

manual1.jpg manual2.jpg manual3.jpg
The full color manuals are always a nice touch. When I think of homebrew I think of an unlabeled cart in a clam-shell box and if there is a manual, its a B&W xeroxed copy. But just look at all that is included with this game, and many of the other homebrews out there. I wish we had another terminology for these games, because they are every bit as professional as games you walk into a retail store and purchase.

Onto the game itself.

boxxle1.jpg
Yup, two choices play the game or create levels. Lets play the game

 

opening cut scene.jpg

The game starts out with a cute opening cut scene...

boxxle2.jpg
First level of the game is pretty easy and the objective is simple. Move the boxes onto the dots. And why are you doing this? Because you need money to impress this totally hot chick, or something like that. I mean, isn't that why we pretty much do anything in life? To win over the girls of our dreams and get some sex out of the deal? There isn't anything Im more motivated by myself! So if some girls came along and was all Want to roll around in bed for while? Move these boxes for a few hours and you're in! of course Im game for that! Ill move around and many boxes and you want me to!

Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes the game

boxxle3.jpg
Level two gets a little more difficult. You have to think about where to move the boxes and you don't want to get stuck. You can always press the button and click retry if you make the wrong move. The amount of moves you take and your best time to complete a level is also recorded onto the cart and you can always try to beat your own scores again later.

boxxle4.jpg
Yay for me! Level complete! And look at how many moves this one took me! I told you it was all about the sex! =)

boxxle5.jpg
Some of the bigger levels are zoomed out so you can get an overall view of what you need to do. This one looks simple, but it took me quite a few tries. Watch the video and you'll see me screw it up quite bit!

boxxle6.jpg
Go me! It was only like my 6th or 7th try! lol (The girl is still impressed if it takes you a number of tries, right?)

boxxle7.jpg
As I said above, while the artwork in the game is simple, it looks great! Your character, the boxes, the walls all have good detail, the colors pop, and overall the game is very inviting and looks and feels fun. This is gaming proof that you don't need overly complex graphics to be awesome.

boxxle8.jpg
Heres the score card where you can see each of the levels you've played and your current moves and time. The cart saves your scores and once you've played a certain level, you can come back to it anytime if you want to try to beat your score again.

boxxle9.jpg
You can scroll through each level to get a visual of which one it was and your best scores. Each warehouse contains ten different levels and as you progress through the game, there are a lot of warehouses!

boxxle10.jpg
YAY! I just beat my old time! Now this new data will be saved on the cart!

 

level10.jpg

Finally! Beat the first 10 levels and completed my first "Warehouse!"

 

ending_cutscene1.jpgending_cutscene2.jpg

After each ten levels you get a cute little cut scene that continues the story of the game.

boxxle11.jpg
Lets take a look at the level editor now!

boxxle12.jpg
Yup, we want to create!

boxxle13.jpg
Creating a level is really super easy! (Watch the video and you can see me make one!) Of course you can go as complex or easy as you want, and then test it out to see how well it works.

boxxle14.jpg
The editor is easy and intuitive to use. You just choose was element you want, and stamp it onto the background.

boxxle15.jpg
When you play your levels, it also keeps track of your best scores as well.

boxxle16.jpg
Another feature I love about the level editor is that if you're not the overly creative type, you can copy a pre-existing level from the game and use that as a base to create a new level.

boxxle17.jpg
Now I took the first level of the game and expanded upon it a bit.

boxxle18.jpg
Hooray! I completed my own re-working of one of the original game levels!

The number of features included in this cart is just impressive. Im not sure how long this title has been in development, but it feels like a lot of labor and love when it into, its well polished with a great amount of testing, and everything just feels good about it. The controls work great, the sound FX, music, etc. I just cannot say enough good things about it. Actually, if I did have anything negative, and this isn't really even a negative about the game because it's for personal reasons, is that apparently the cart cannot be dumped due to the PCB configuration. I like being able to play ColecoVision games on my laptop while sitting in bed or using the SD based multi-cart so I don't have to keep opening the original box, but this is a very very minor complaint and if it means I have to pop in the original game to play, so be it! Oh, darn Im being asked to play my ColecoVision! :)

Boxxle is absolutely a 10/10 and I cannot recommend it enough! More information can be found here: http://www.teampixelboy.com/boxxle.php and you should email Luc right now and request a copy!

 

EDIT: Here is a new video of Boxxle playing through the first ten levels of the game including the cut scenes at the beginning and at the end of the first completed Warehouse!

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You forgot the mention the intermissions played after beating each group of 10 levels. ;)Also, what's with spelling "homebrew" as "home-brew"? :P

See! There is still so much packed into the game that one review can't cover it all! And I'm not sure about the spelling. I'm pretty sure spell checker corrected it! Oops!

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Great Review , and visibly very great game.

 

But as i'm french i would have a complaint.

 

Seing the video , it is pity that there is no more variety in the graphism. I think it would be great to have different "landscape". Like Forest (where wall would tree and boxes Rock) , Snow world (with snowman , ice cube , and big ball of snow) , Space ...etc..etc

 

Except that, as always with Teampixel boy production and Mystery Man, the quality is very impressive.

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But as i'm french i would have a complaint.

 

Seing the video , it is pity that there is no more variety in the graphism. I think it would be great to have different "landscape". Like Forest (where wall would tree and boxes Rock) , Snow world (with snowman , ice cube , and big ball of snow) , Space ...etc..etc

Actually, if you play with the game long enough, you'll see that I've already addressed your complaint... At least a little bit... ;)

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I'm really happy you're writing reviews for homebrew games. It is very hard to decide on a Colecovision homebrew game with very few user review, images and movie clips. I now have to spoil myself some more and buy this game.

 

Thanks! I really like doing them. There seems to be a lot of hard work that sometimes goes mostly unnoticed, so I felt this was a great way to say "Thank you" to some of my favorite homebrews.

 

Question: While I know I'm just getting back into collecting, and a lot of the older homebrews are newer to me, would anyone like it if I did some reviews for older games, or is that just a waste of time because they've already been talked about?

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Question: While I know I'm just getting back into collecting, and a lot of the older homebrews are newer to me, would anyone like it if I did some reviews for older games, or is that just a waste of time because they've already been talked about?

Well, a lot of the homebrews released on ColecoVision these last few years have been MSX ports, SG-1000 ports, or ADAM Super Games converted to cartridge format. If someone wants to know if a particular port is worth buying, they can just track down the ROM of the original game (from the MSX, SG-1000, etc.) and try it under emulation. Then they can make up their own mind about the game, and thus an online review of the ColecoVision version becomes somewhat redundant.

 

If you want to do reviews of ColecoVision homebrews released over the past few years, my suggestion would be to focus on games that aren't ports from other machines, or on games that are available on other machines but where coded from scratch on the ColecoVision (Module Man and Boxxle are good examples of this).

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Well, a lot of the homebrews released on ColecoVision these last few years have been MSX ports, SG-1000 ports, or ADAM Super Games converted to cartridge format. If someone wants to know if a particular port is worth buying, they can just track down the ROM of the original game (from the MSX, SG-1000, etc.) and try it under emulation. Then they can make up their own mind about the game, and thus an online review of the ColecoVision version becomes somewhat redundant.

This is great feedback. There are some games that are ports that I feel are worth mentioning, like Circus Charlie or Goonies for example, but maybe what I can do is create a "top ten" post for them or something so that it's not one post dedicated to a single game, but at least gives people an idea of which ones are worth checking out?

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This is great feedback. There are some games that are ports that I feel are worth mentioning, like Circus Charlie or Goonies for example, but maybe what I can do is create a "top ten" post for them or something so that it's not one post dedicated to a single game, but at least gives people an idea of which ones are worth checking out?

:thumbsup:

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Quest for the Golden Chalice would be a very worthy title for a review. It is a tremendous port of Adventure that was coded from scratch by, once again, Mystery Man and released by Team Pixelboy.

 

This one is actually on my list to do. I love the game and I think I love the "idea" of it even more. Being a huge 2600 Adventure fan myself, the fact that someone came up with the idea to re-create the game for ColecoVision "shot by shot" so to speak is just wonderful!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I updated my review above. I wanted to add a few screen shots from the opening cut scene and the first one you see at the end of level ten. I also included a new video that shows off the first ten levels in the game:

 

Thanks for reading!

opening cut scene.jpg

ending_cutscene1.jpg

ending_cutscene2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've never seen a ColecoVision cart with a load screen before until I popped in Boxxle. :cool:

Just completed my first warehouse.. love the little cut scenes and little touches, like when he falls asleep when you leave the game sit for a bit.

Daniel did a phenomenal job over in the sound department too.. as usual. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

 

 

I think what impressed me most though is the Rock-Solid, Silky-Smooth, Buttery, Responsive Controls, which makes doing time attacks possible, once you get fluid at solving puzzles.. almost like speed running. I'm currently trying to optimize my routes, keeping moves to a minimum and speed high. I used a Famicom controller (w/NES Dpad in it) and it corners like an Intellivision game would with the disk, it blew my mind. I hope all homebrewers take a note from this game, this is how all controls should be! :-D

Edited by SiLic0ne t0aD85
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