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Video Game / Patrick's Parabox

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Patrick's Parabox is an indie Puzzle Game made by Patrick Traynor, released on Steam and in March of 2022 for PC, Mac, and Linux. The goal is to push boxes around so that every square outline is covered, and then get to the goal, which resembles one of those same outlines, but with eyes like the Player Character's. The main gimmick is that many boxes have space in them that other boxes can be pushed into, or that you can enter yourself. Soon enough, you encounter boxes that contain themselves, and things only get more complex from there.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: The game keeps track of how many puzzles you have solved, allowing you to gauge your progress towards full completion.
  • Antepiece: Whenever a new world introduces a puzzle element, it does so with a puzzle that is easy to solve.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • You only need to complete a certain number of levels in most worlds to unlock the next one. In the majority of cases, this is less than the number of levels in the world overall, so if a puzzle on the "main" path is giving you trouble, you can substitute one of the optional stages. It is also possible to unlock all of the levels from the Settings menu.
    • If you reset a level, only to realize too late that you were probably close to the solution, don't worry — the undo function in this game can even undo resets.
  • A Winner Is You: Stepping on the goal in the Multi Infinite world prompts the camera to zoom all the way out, showing all of the levels you have completed in the process, with the Intro hub becoming the "O" in the game's title, followed by credits.
  • Body Surf: Late in the game, you start finding blocks that have empty versions of the player character's eyes. Pressing up against these without entering them causes you to switch control to that box.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: In the post-game, many extra-hard challenge levels are made available. The world containing these is aptly named "Challenge".
  • Chekhov's Gun: It is very possible to cause an "Infinite Exit" paradox by pushing a box into its own exit long before this becomes necessary to solve many late-game puzzles.
  • Completion Meter: A counter shows how many puzzles you have solved, comparing it to the total number of puzzles in the game once you see the end credits.
  • Developer's Room: One of the worlds unlocked post-game is a gallery that shows graphics from past iterations of the game, with a few levels playable in the graphical style of one of these builds.
  • Gimmick Level:
    • Generally, a world will have at least one stage that contains an Interface Screw.
    • In the post-game, a few "Appendix" worlds whose gimmicks change the game mechanics outright are also unlocked.
    • Some extra levels have strange gimmicks not found anywhere else in the game, such as a box not being the same number of tiles wide as it is tall.
  • Hub Level: Levels are entered via the same kinds of boxes you traverse in the stages themselves.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Several optional levels are rendered in ASCII art instead of usual graphics.
    • A pair of extra levels zoom in or out infinitely, forcing the player to constantly adjust which box they are focusing on.
    • One level has a fixed viewpoint and zoom level focusing on one of the nested boxes instead of the player, so the player becomes tiny in boxes contained within it, and goes offscreen and has to feel out the surroundings outside it.
  • Level Editor: Included with the game is a Unity file that serves as a level creation tool.
  • No Name Given: Along with the game being pretty much entirely plotless, the player character is not named at any point, not even in the game's files, which simply refer to them as "Player".
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Why are you pushing boxes around, and traversing levels within levels? Who knows, but it's fun.
  • Post-End Game Content: After the game is completed, a series of Brutal Bonus Levels, Gimmick Levels, and a Developer's Room open up.
  • Recursive Reality: Boxes can contain copies of themselves, allowing you to exit it from one edge and re-enter from the opposite end. The hub itself turns out to loop in on itself in a similar way as revealed in the ending.
  • Warp Whistle: There is a tile in the upper-left corner of every hub that lets you travel between any you have already unlocked without walking all the way back.