Unpack put everything in its place review
Games

Unpack – put everything in its place. review

played on the personal computer

When talking about games, it’s often common to praise “environmental stories”. when a work tells small stories or parts of a general story not through direct text (spoken by the characters or written in “found” documents) but through elements of the environment. Or, for example, not through What the hit NPC tells you and through what he looks like. Through the interactivity of the gameplay, you independently piece the story together from indirect “evidence”. Unpacking is when storytelling is elevated to the absolute by the setting.

The player puts himself in the image of a gradually maturing girl (no, you can’t choose a gender or other characters here – the game is completely linear) and rearranges his things again and again: in her room in the parents’ house , in several rooms on the college campus (after all, there is also a kitchen with a bathroom there), in the apartment that the heroine rents together with friends … and so on – we can do without spoilers. Our whole task is to open the box, arrange the items from it on the site, fold the box, open the next box – until the boxes are empty and all things are in their places. If they have at least stood in a suitable place, then this period of life is over, we are moving towards the next year and place. Sometimes passages are repeated – yes, there is a narration, and very understandable.

Who didn't love Donnie in the late 2000s? ..

Who didn’t love Donnie in the late 2000s? ..

By the way, it is impossible to somehow scatter things and limit yourself to the fact that you just pulled them out of the box. You need to find at least a roughly appropriate place for each item – otherwise it will be highlighted with no instructions on where to move it. Think for yourself what kind of device it is – either a toaster oven or a tape recorder. When the unboxing begins in 2004, there will be some strange things here, some of which will baffle buzzers.

If you can’t see what the wand is – either a cosmetic accessory or an interior decoration – you can use the zoom. But anyway, we’re talking about a creation based on pixel art graphics, albeit rich in detail, so increasing the size of the pixels doesn’t help much – I just had to randomly place objects in different places in space several times, hoping that he now stops flickering! However, there were few such situations – unpacking is basically a very logical and understandable puzzle that does not try to set the player difficult tasks. She just calls to enjoy the transformation of the chaos of unsorted boxes into the order of a cozy home (or uncomfortable – there is such a thing here, if only one).

Pay attention to the icon in the form of a film camera to the left of the photo of the room - you can see the entire unpacking process on the

Pay attention to the icon in the form of a film camera to the left of the photo of the room – you can see the entire unpacking process on the “level” in fast forward

Unpacking’s zen potential seems a bit overrated to me – I largely expected the game to repeat the practice of the memorable Little Inferno, also games about “dingism”, only there the objects did not have to be arranged, but burned, again under the cozy crackling of a living cauldron. The meditative calm of this process can relieve almost any stress and put you in a state of light trance. Turning chaos into order while unpacking is still a less than relaxing process.

As I settled down with my wife to unpack, I expected a good evening together:

Let’s put this vase in the window, shall we? A tape recorder can be placed on this stand.

— No, maybe the vase on the bedside table would look even better?

By my calculations it should have been some kind of psychotherapeutic study of trauma from a recent repair. But no, the spouse’s frustration at the hated cleaning process (yes, sympathize with me!) outweighed the satisfaction at the sight of things being put into place. I’ve played alone before. So be careful – the sedative effect is not guaranteed.

A modern game simply cannot exist without a photo mode.

A modern game simply cannot exist without a photo mode.

The most beautiful thing about unpacking, however, is not the process of unpacking and arranging, but precisely this “narrative through the environment”, the gradual transformation of both the heroine and the time. How things appear and disappear, some interests being replaced by others, how she grows up, how she searches for herself professionally and personally. How she does it – and it helps her, sorry for the spoilers, a key supporting character, a pink pig. Also the cathartic episode at the very end will be connected with it. Yes, this is a game about unpacking things, albeit with a little but catharsis.

You can (and should) move between rooms - not all things are packed properly, some have to be lugged to other rooms

You can (and should) move between rooms – not all things are packed properly, some have to be lugged to other rooms

True, the presence of our alter ego in the game is not limited exclusively to things – at the end of each stage we move into a photo album, where we wait for photos of rooms with things arranged by us, carefully signed. However, they add quite a bit to what we’ve already learned from looking at consoles, figures, and utensils. We can also let off steam in photo mode from a certain moment by finding a polaroid in the heroine’s room.

***

What do our things say about us? A titan of spirit who rejects “materialism” will say that nothing – a person’s whole meaning lies in his thoughts, actions and fantasies. Some victims of consumer society, on the other hand, will say that it’s the things that make a person meaningful. The truth, of course, you know where. So we are not destined to fully recognize the heroine of Unpacking – just look through the prism of figurines and boxes with “tables” how her simple, but still not quite ordinary life path unfolds. And even influence it a little – the order in which books are on the shelves, a toothbrush in a glass or on a sink, and the place that stuffed animals occupy in our lives say a little more about us than we realize be able.

Benefits:

  • the process of putting things in place brings a certain satisfaction;
  • unobtrusive but curious storytelling through the environment;
  • pleasant music.

Defects:

  • Not everyone will notice the relaxing effects of brushing.

 

graphic Poor but very decent pixel art with well detailed detail – but I was at least missing some work with the light.
sound The soundtrack for the game was written by the game music legend Jeff Van Dyk – and he was a success; Music gives the game a touch of light nostalgia while maintaining an upbeat vibe. Separately, I will highlight the last song in the credits.
single player game We unpack things in different places and lay them out on shelves, lockers, or wherever necessary – the number of rooms either increases or decreases, additional complications appear (like other people’s things that either can be moved or not). With a little stretch, this process can be called a jigsaw puzzle.
collective game Not provided.
general impression Narrative through the environment in its extreme form – we recognize the heroine, understand her and find intersections with her, attach things to her. And it turns out to be very interesting to do so!

 

Rating: 8.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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