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Video Game / BoxBoy!

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BoxBoy! is a series of of Puzzle Platformer games created by HAL Laboratory.

The games follow Qbby, a square-shaped alien being with the power to create boxes out of his body, and his friends on a myriad of quests to save his planet and the universe as a whole from a mysterious black mist. Games in the series include:

  • The Nintendo 3DS trilogy
    • BoxBoy! (2015)
    • BoxBoxBoy!note  (2016)
    • Bye-Bye BoxBoy!note  (2017)
  • The Nintendo Switch games
    • BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! (2019)

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: In BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!, the shop sells power-ups that increase your box limit and other such bonuses, which you can use to help beat levels you're stuck on.
  • Bag of Spilling: Aside from the basic box-producing ability, Qbby's powers tend to not carry over between games, with Qbby regaining them and other new abilities as you progress. Some skills are never relearned, such as the ability to create multiple sets of boxes only being in the last few stages of BoxBoy! as well as the entirety of BoxBoxBoy!.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "A Tale for Two" in BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! has Qbby and Qucy sacrifice themselves to ensure Qbaby can escape safely, giving her Qucy's bow as a memento.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: It's common for a mode of Extended Gameplay to open up worlds that are harder than the main game. Alternatively, you can buy challenge stages that usually involve a timed challenge.
  • Cosmetic Award: Currency can be used to buy clothing in all four games, most of which has no effect on gameplay. However, a set of three lategame outfits in BoxBoy!, as well as the Qucy costume in Bye-Bye BoxBoy!, actually do have impacts on gameplay and can break puzzles slightly.
  • Company Cross References: As HAL Laboratory also developed the Kirby series, there are a few to be found:
    • One challenge in BoxBoy! has the score objects in the shape of Kirby.
    • In Kirby: Planet Robobot, Qbby appears as a rare sticker.
    • In Kirby Star Allies, one of Stone Kirby's transformations is a model of HAL Laboratories' Yamanashi R&D Center, with Qbby sitting on the roof.
    • A few of the purchasable comics throughout the series feature Kirby (only seen from the back).
    • Outside of Kirby, Qbby can also be found in the scenery of every level in the HAL-developed Part Time UFO. You can also get a costume modeled after him.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! has "A Tale for Two", an alternate storyline which can be played cooperatively with another player or on your own via swapping between Qbby and Qucy.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Most of the game's world is black and white, with occasional colors now and then. Slowly averted in Bye-Bye BoxBoy!, which uses gradients from white to other colors, and fully averted in BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!, where the backgrounds are colorful but in a geometric style.
  • Disney Death: Bye-Bye BoxBoy! ends with Qbby and his friends seemingly sacrificing their lives to save the universe. If you wait long enough on the "The End" card, you'll see Qbby slowly open his eyes.
  • Downer Ending: The "A Tale for One" ending of BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! ends with the planet being destroyed due to the final machine requiring two box beings to be activated, though the final shot reveals another box falling from the sky in an all-too familiar fashion next to the blackened Qbby.
  • Escort Mission: Bye-Bye BoxBoy! features the Qbabies, who follow Qbby and must be taken to the goal to complete the level. If Qbaby dies, Qbby does too. Qbabies are actually quite smart, as they won't walk into danger and can jump over gaps and on Qbby's boxes. They can also trigger switches and collect crowns.
  • Expy: The black mist functions similarly to Dark Matter from the Kirby series. It destroys anything it comes in contact with, and the third game reveals there's a whole planet of it, which repels Qbby's attempted landing at first.
  • Extended Gameplay: The series, barring BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!, will usually open up some bonus worlds that are harder than the main game once the final normal world is beaten.
  • Gameplay Grading: Each world (and in games besides the first, each individual stage) is graded on completion time, boxes used, and replays used, with grades ranging from D to S. After clearing all stages, the player is given an End-Game Results Screen with overall ranks in these categories for the whole game. It's possible to improve the rank by replaying the stages.
  • Golden Ending: The ending to "A Tall Tale" is this to the other two campaigns in BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!, in which Qudy stops the black mist and saves Qbby and Qucy.
    • After beating all three of BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!'s campaigns and equipping all four fragments, the Downer Ending from "A Tale for One" is replaced with a Golden Ending — the fragments form a second character, allowing the machine to activate and restore the planet to health.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The first game ends with Qbby and Qucy becoming part of the ground in order to fuel a machine to save their planet, with a new Qbby being born later.
    • The third game has all four Qbabies do this at the end of their missions, and Qbby, Qucy, and Qudy do likewise at the end of the story.
    • The fourth game shows Qucy and Qbby do this at the end of both "A Tale for One" and "A Tale For Two", though Qbby's attempt in the former goes poorly. The Golden Ending at the end of Qudy's story shows Qudy doing likewise, being seemingly rendered lifeless in his last-ditch effort to stop the black mist.
  • Hint System:
    • In the 3DS games, if you're stuck on a puzzle, you can pay a Play Coin (built into the 3DS, you get these for walking in real life) for the game to temporarily flash where Qbby and the boxes are supposed to be. If you've already paid for the hint, you can view it as many times as you want until you either pass the point or quit.
    • In BoxBoy! + BoxGirl!, the hint system is activated by spending medals.
  • Idle Animation: Qbby and his friends will either dance or fall asleep to the music if left idle for long enough.
  • Mind Screw: The games' narrative can be confusing to parse, as there is no dialogue to explain... well, anything really. Which makes moments such as that in the second game, where Qbby sees his past self on another planet and wakes him up, to be even more confusing.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The descriptions of the music in the options menu explain some of the story.
  • Oh, Crap!: Most of the Kirby crossover comics end with Qbby spinning around to see Kirby behind him and having this reaction (such as trying on Hammer Kirby's bandana and Hammer, Qbby: "Oh! Um... Hi?") and another one which has Qbby trying to "befriend" Kirby by throwing some Qbby's boxes at the pink puffball. Needless to say, all that happens is Kirby getting two lumps on his head and not being very happy at a worried Qbby...
  • Old Save Bonus: Having BoxBoy! and/or BoxBoxBoy! on your 3DS system will unlock the Qucy costume and Game Boy color palette option in Bye-Bye BoxBoy!, which are otherwise unlocked through 100% Completion. The latter two 3DS games also allow you to use costumes you've obtained in the previous games.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The final two worlds of BoxBoy! give Qbby two sets of boxes. This would later be the main feature in the next game, BoxBoxBoy!
  • Promoted to Playable: BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! allows Qucy and Qudy to be playable for the first time (unless you count the Qucy costume from Bye-Bye BoxBoy!).
  • Scare Chord: Technically not a chord, but the 3DS menu jingle for Bye-Bye BoxBoy! is a low, ominous-sounding piano note.
  • Serial Escalation: The second game lets Qbby use two sets of boxes, while the third gives him special boxes with specific powers.
  • Silence is Golden: Outside of the unlockable comics, all four games are completely devoid of dialogue.
  • Super-Empowering: Qbby's friends and Qbabies do this to grant him new abilities.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Qucy has eyelashes and a bow, and her walking animation is different.
  • Trilogy Creep: The first three games were billed as a trilogy for the Nintendo 3DS, with a vaguely defined narrative surrounding Qbby and his friends fighting against an ominous black mist to save the universe. Then the fourth game was announced two years later, as the beginning of a second trilogy wherein the black mist planet returns.
  • Unlockable Content: Beating a stage gives you money that you can use to buy new costumes, music, comics, and challenge stages.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The series allows Qbby to purchase outfits, all of which are purely cosmetic. BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! has four different slots: head, eyes, mouth, and other, allowing you to mix and match clothing combinations. Items bought work on all three playable characters.

Alternative Title(s): Box Box Boy, Bye Bye Box Boy, Box Boy Plus Box Girl