Play More Sleepy and Dream Like Games
Wake up the Box: Physics-based fun sprinkled with creative amusement.
I’ll give you that it isn’t every day that you wake up and become suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to deprive a happily-sleeping cardboard box of its full eight hours of blissful sleep. Then again, for this to be possible, one would have to first get their head around the supposition that cardboard boxes possess an inherent consciousness. While such an idea would make a philosopher’s day (they really don’t have anything better to do, except maybe question whether anything can truly possess a quality of ‘betterness’), it is somewhat of a stretch of the imagination for even the most psychologically whimsical person. With the above musings in mind, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I haven’t suffered a sudden catastrophic-yet-unsurprising break with reality; I’ve simply been playing ‘Wake up the Box’, and it happens to have tickled my fun fancy in no small way.
As far as internet flash games go, ‘Wake up the Box’ firmly sticks to the basics of things; the aim of the game is to manipulate the limited number of allocated wooden objects available to you in various ways in order to create a chain of events which awaken the poor box, which (as the title makes clear) is sleeping obliviously at varying positions in each level. When it boils down to it, the game is simply manipulation of predetermined game physics in order to obtain a particular result, and the box is merely an indicator of how well you managed to utilise the wooden objects provided.
Playing the game is simply a matter of using the mouse in order to precisely position the wooden objects (displayed and highlighted in the top-left corner of the screen) in a way that you see fit to best awaken the box in the rudest and most effective way possible. The wooden objects available for us range from short wedges or blocks to long sticks and hefty spherical shapes of timber. You are informed in the first level that you are only able to attach wood to other pieces of wood, and are unable to use them in conjunction with brick or metal. This makes the game considerably more challenging, since being able to attach the wood to any possible structure in the level would diminish the need to be selective and thoughtful in your approach.
In the first few levels you are kindly offered some hints and tips pertaining to the best position of the available objects; this allows the player to become accustomed to the physics and to develop a feel for the different objects and the way they move within the game. As mentioned above, the items cannot simply be placed in any location; you are required to attach the objects to pieces of wood which are already present on the screen. The idea is that you create various gravity-responsive structures such as makeshift pivots, homemade battering rams and indeed whatever structures you deem appropriate to win the level.
After the first few levels, the difficulty of each task increases along with the number of objects required to complete it and also with the intricacy of the structures surrounding the box. Far from the simply-swinging objects of the first few rounds, the later levels require precise insertion of wooden blocks to activate pulleys, levers and spinning wheels. Much of the positioning of the wood is often required to be in rapid succession while the action is unfolding in front of you. Once the first object is placed, Newton pipes up and his pesky gravity comes into play, requiring you to place many objects whilst corresponding ones are on the move.
Everything down to the level design (clouds hanging on wires and simple white crosses created with Microsoft Paint tools to represent the stars) is as uncomplicated as is physically possible for a game, which puts the emphasis on the addictive gameplay itself. ‘Wake up the Box’ is very similar to games such as ‘Cover Orange’ or ‘Cut the Rope’; two incredibly successful titles which, like this one, rely on a simple idea, unassuming level design and the basic laws of physics in order to give the player the maximum amount of physics-based problem-solving fun possible.
The difficulty of the game and the size of the challenge only appear to increase with every level. If you make it to level twenty, then you’ll share my frustration at the incredibly tricky nature of placing the one and only piece available to you in the exact spot required. Even the online walkthroughs (readily available if you Google them) had trouble with this one! Playing through to level twenty is simply a tribute to the game’s addictive nature and ability to keep you interested through to completion.
In the style of most wildly successful games for the Ipod/Ipad/I-anything, ‘Wake up the Box’ maintains a quality that is probably the most desirable of all the traits of a video game: Simplicity. You won’t find overly-complex level design or graphics which push the limits of flash gaming, but the experience that is created by such straightforwardness of gameplay is far superior, more intensely addictive and unquestionably more challenging than a game that simply tries too hard to be clever or overly complex in its approach (which often isolates the player, leading to disinterest). I recommend giving this one a go, if only to see the comical startled look on the box’s face when you interrupt his sleep.