I would describe BW (Box World 3D) as a genuine, earnest puzzle game with a highly wasted potential of being more than a completed prototype abandoned somewhere along the way. I wouldn't recommend this game to players for the lack of further push of the basic concept BW developed in both game mechanism and levels. However, as BW stands right now as a game, it's definitely enjoyable despite the very short playtime and rough edges. For that, i have to give a recommendation despite the critiques i have, so please try it! 👍
A simple concept executed with no clutter, like many other great and awesome puzzle games. The gameplay is as basic as it needs to be: push boxes to points into the designated space to to advance to the next level. It's a tried concept, so it need not bother itself with coming up anything fanciful, complicated or experimental, compared to say NodeCore or Loria. Pragmatic minimalist gameplay, one might say. A nice tip that should be seen while playing this game would be a quick notification to press Inventory to see a menu with the restart button.
Whilst the developer expertly created BW with the basis of any good puzzle game, it fails to capture any other essence than to showcase what would be a prototype of a game. There are no added mechanisms to coalesce with the existing rules - only a single level interaction and nothing else. Move one space in the 3D plane and that is all you accomplish in BW. I think this critique is best illustrated by comparing it with other games in a similar space: A Good Snowman is Hard to Build and Baba Is You. In both games, pushing objects around in places is a major part of their mechanics. But to reduce them to simply "box-pushing puzzle games" would be disingenous to the enormous detail that went through polishing and building the combinatory mechanisms that separates both games from each other and from everyone else. Let's go back to BW and see if there's a unique interaction between element- and... there's nada. That is a frustrating, damning shame.
This section is distinct from gameplay for reasons that should be understood from the critique.
In any good puzzle games with levels, this is the part that makes it or breaks it. And boy does BW sucks at the levels, which feeds back into the feeling that this is a completed prototype but not a developed game. All of the 7 levels was a breeze. Would take less than 5 minutes if there's instant movement. I think the initial difficulty is justified for introductory levels. I understand these levels are a concious design choice to allow the player to play around with the mechanics before the harder levels (level 7 being only the notable one). This begs the question however, where are the challenging levels?
This is the second main criticism I have regarding BW, and this is a flaw not addressed as easily as simply popping out your favourite text editor and implement a new mechanism. To code elements of a puzzle is much easier than to design a satifying puzzle. Currently, in my opinion, only level 7 had a hint of being enjoyable to solve as it introduced the challenge of obstructing parts of the map. Where does a puzzle designer go from here? I cannot give any authoritative advices here, as it will become heavily opinionated than concrete. But, if i were to give a suggestion, it would be to design a few levels that requires the player to rethink the order of their actions.
Level creator is accessed by enabling creative. This should be explained somewhere in-game, contentDB description or in README. Anyways, the level creator is quite aggravating to use due to the fact that you are unable to play/test the levels you've just created easily. To do this, you have to exit the game and follow the instructions in the README (check out the GitLab source or your own copy) which requires using your favourite method of copying and editing files. I'm unsure if this is due to the technical limitations of Minetest or if its an incomplete feature, but this is quite disappointing as i really wanted to create levels to play and share. Additionally, BW doesn't make itself clear how to use the level creator too. Thankfully, i'm quite familiar with the tools but for players new to Minetest as a whole, it will cause issues for them and adds another layer of disappointment.
The visuals are charming on their own and the artstyle i enjoy very much. Adding more flare and responsiveness via the visual when interacting would be a pleasant change, but remains completely as an issue of polishing the game with very low priority (of which we have more pressing matters like gameplay).
There is none. From my perspective, audio is just as prioritised as the visual, which is to say audio and music has very low priority in the scale of things. My suggestion would base on the same principles: more flare and responsiveness. But i would also like to suggest some kind of ambiance to avoid the awkward "quiet realisation" and immerse the player in the puzzle solving.
As said in Hugues Ross' review, the little jump when moving around is a bit jarring. Fixing this would be a nice polish and helps those who can't handle jerky movement in 3D spaces very well.
Irrlicht could not load mesh, file format seem unsupported: boxworld_empty_model.obj. I'm pretty sure this is because i'm using Minetest-5.5.0-dev (and its' a bit outdated from master). Thankfully, everything works fine despite the error. Not a critique but just a bit of caution(?).