Unpacking Game Review: It’s A Moving Narrative!

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| May 11, 2022

Have you ever moved before? Do you enjoy puzzle games like Tetris or even home decoration games like The Sims? Well, Unpacking is the perfect example of a game that can turn any mundane task and turn it into an immersive and enjoyable experience. Developed by Witch Beam and published by Humble Games, Unpacking is a multi-award winning, zen gaming experience that takes us through various chapters of a woman’s life by… you guessed it, unpacking!

Over the course of eight house moves, you develop a close connection with a character that you’ll never meet and a story you’ll never be told, and that is one of the greatest things about Unpacking. The items that we unpack passively tell us the story with no need for voice acting, cutscenes, or narrative prompts. The game is played exactly how you would unpack in real-life. You pick a box, you grab an item, and find it a home.

Simple as that. 

Although the game gives you the freedom to place things as you see fit, you can’t just throw things on the floor or put a ukulele in the bathroom! The game will flag items it deems incorrectly placed in a red outline and allow you to complete the level when these items have been placed in a more suitable position. Although once the game is completed you can change a setting to allow you to place items wherever you wish, which is a nice reward. 

With no timers to beat or high scores to topple, the game encourages you to take your time and to enjoy the experience of growing up with this character. Learn about all the items that they choose to keep with them from move to move and why they have so many D&D miniatures and duck plushies! 

It was so much fun to start in 1997 as items became more nostalgic to me as someone who was born in this era. From massive computer monitors to sleek laptops, from the Gameboy to the 3DS, and everything in between, technology has evolved throughout the years and it was a nice experience for players who may have cherished these items to take this trip down memory lane. For me, finding the Tamagotchi and Gamecube made me feel extremely nostalgic and be able to relate to the character so much more!

Unpacking players keep mixing up a GameCube with a kitchen appliance… Feel old yet?

Despite the use of pixelated graphics, the shading works within the limits of the art style to give the whole game that cute artsy vibe. With the environment changing with each new box and numerous items to place, each level feels like a new playground, ranging from university dormitories to family homes.

Unpacking has an astounding 14,000 sound effects that replicate the everyday sounds of real-life objects being placed into the world. They’re done so well, that you don’t even notice they’re there and this just shows that every detail of this adorable indie was carefully considered when the developers were crafting it. 

The light background music and easy controls make it a very satisfying and therapeutic gaming experience. I found myself quickly wrapped in it. Organizing my closet, arranging my books by size, and allowing myself to find the joy of unpacking all of these items, Marie Kondo style!

I was introduced to this game by my younger sister and we’ve spent hours comparing our interior design choices and talking about our favorite objects, and theories on the character and the potential relationships being portrayed, and hearing her thoughts and experiences made me want to play it again!

Unpacking may not be for everyone, but if you have Xbox Game Pass and can play it for free on both PC and Xbox so it’s well worth the download just to try it out! The game manages to take away all of the stress of moving and replace it with a pleasant gaming experience, providing a heartwarming story.

The game is available now on Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, and PC, but now PlayStation gamers are going to get the chance to experience it as well. Unpacking is moving into the PlayStation store on both PS4 and PS5, launching on May 10th.

Have you too been sucked into the absorbing world of unpacking boxes? Have I convinced you to give it a try? Let me know in the comments!

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5 comments on “Unpacking Game Review: It’s A Moving Narrative!”

  1. Between 2010 and 2019 we had 7 mailing addresses. We’ve been in our house for 3 years only just finished unpacking the garage last weekend. I am officially done with moving.

    1. That doesn’t sound fun at all. I have a spare room filled with stuff that I haven’t unpacked or found space for. At least you can switch Unpacking off and not have the anxiety of unpacked boxes staring at you 24/7. Thank goodness for good old fashioned escapism!

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