Shut The Box is RCMADIAX\’s newest attempt at bringing mobile-esque experiences to Nintendo\’s home console download service. It\’s only a dollar, so it\’s certainly enticing to give the game a go, but is it really worth a shot?
Presentation wise, there is nothing good here. It\’s actually kinda ugly, with bright and clashing colors that really are not fitting in the slightest. It just all looks so simple, which isn\’t necessarily a problem, but it feels so cheap and thrown together. Then there\’s the music, which starts the second you hit the title screen and goes on a continuous loop. It\’s acceptable for the first listen — the second, third, and fourth, not so much. After that, it\’s just annoying.
The game is simple and played by tapping the GamePad\’s touchscreen. There are three rows of nine tiles, numbered 1-9. The middle row is going the opposite way of the other two. Your goal is to roll a pair of dice; whatever number comes up on the dice, you have to remove whatever tiles equal that number. For example, if you roll a 7, you could remove a 1 and a 6, or a 5 and 2. Whenever you remove a tile, the tile below it becomes available. Your goal is to remove as many tiles as possible. If you remove them all or run out of ways to match the number on the dice, it restarts.
That\’s it. That\’s all there is. As it\’s only a buck, that would be fine — if it was fun. It kind of is for a bit. It\’s pretty much based off a classic board game of the same name, which had the benefit of multiplayer — hanging out with friends and playing for stakes — as a major increase in the enjoyment factor. On the Wii U, you could always switch off turns with friends and record your scores, but this version is an experience for people who enjoy remarkably unflattering and clashing colors, it can easily be and has been recreated on paper, and there are physical boards you can buy that play the game. So if it\’s camaraderie you\’re after, this probably isn\’t the place.
But to try out the experience on your own, a buck ain\’t so bad. So how is it? The gameplay\’s pretty solid for a little while. It\’s very similar to Solitaire — only less engaging for whatever reason. See, luck is a major factor — almost too major. It is enjoyable to search for the best strategies to get more tiles and when you get close to winning or actually win, it\’s definitely pretty exciting, but a bad dice roll forces you to start over. Ultimately, what dice you get decides whether you win or lose.
Again, it\’s a lot like Solitaire and I know many people who play that every day. It\’s one of those things where some will become very addicted and adore playing and trying to beat the improbable likelihood of success, even after they finally win while others will just get bored. I was the latter. Personally, I didn\’t play for particularly long, partially because I got bored of doing the same thing over and over, partially because of the visuals and music. Some will last ten minutes; others will play for hours and days. It really just depends on whether or not you enjoy this kind of simple luck-based game.
If you enjoy games like Solitaire, if you have some friends coming over and you\’d like to play a solid board/card game on your Wii U (even if it does have nauseating colors and repetitive music), if you want a smaller game to play on the Gamepad while watching television, if you have a kid you want to help practice simple math, or if you just feel like giving the game a chance, go for it. Don\’t base your purchase off of the score below. While I found little joy in the experience, undoubtedly others will. If it sounds like something you would enjoy, pick it up. If it does not, save your money. It doesn\’t get much simpler than that.