What’s in the Box? (Finlay Costello)

Carefully navigate your extending arm through the levels carrying a box you must keep safe at all times, however your arm and the box can’t always go through the same places – [Author’s Description]

[Download for Windows]


  1. Hi – firstly it’s an honour to be on freeindiegames, thank you!

    Here’s a short video of the game in action (although it’s a speeded up version of reality): https://youtu.be/ljH_WEeCql4

  2. This is great! (But I took a break after “By Land and By Sea” and upon relaunching it looks like I’ll have to start from the beginning if I want to continue?)

    • Sorry yes it’s rather old school in that respect. “Continue” is a feature I hadn’t thought of! I’ll see what I can do. πŸ™‚

  3. I like this a lot! great level design.

  4. I, like, love this. So much, I’m getting a little emotional.

  5. Retro gaming at its finest!

  6. The imprecise controls really hurt the dodging sections. When turning corners, I often find myself moving two tiles instead of one like anticipated, oftentimes into a hazard.
    There’s also the longevity problem. Not everyone’s going to have the time to beat the game in one go, so adding a save feature is probably a good idea.

    Problems aside, it’s a really cool idea, and the levels are well done.

    • Hi, thanks for the feedback. I agree that the controls are sometimes imprecise, it took me quite a while to cut out any weird bugs relating to this and it seems I still didn’t get them all. I’d really like to sit down with someone who knows their apples to go through my code with me. I’m sure I could learn a lot!

      The continue feature had honestly not occurred to me because I was aiming for the exact feel of a BBC Micro game, but I will definitely look into adding it.

      I’m glad you like the idea, perhaps one day someone could help me expand it further! Thanks for playing.

  7. Really amazing puzzle game!

    Even though there were a ton of levels I still feel like it has even more potential.

    Graphics looked great.
    Music got annoying fast so I disabled it.

    I played the game to the end, but had too many errors to open the box. How few errors do you need to have?

    Would love to see this game expanded, though it is a pretty meaty experience already.

    • Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed it! I had plans to add loads of features to this game, create a story around it (and build a map – I love maps!) I realised this would take me almost 500 years to complete so I reduced the scope. I suppose it’s always better to do that than to get so bogged down you never release it, and I can always add more stuff as I go along. I’d love to keep working on this idea though as I hadn’t seen a core mechanic similar to it anywhere else.

      As for the number of errors: you need very very few.

  8. Not only a neat and novel mechanic, but also very nice work putting the puzzles together.

    • I see you’re keeping an eye on the comments Fin, so here’s a couple suggestions:

      I don’t think the levels that consist only of dodging enemies (e.g. “Marching up and Down the Square”) are a good idea given the finicky state of the controls. I can see them being a nice change of pace from the puzzles if the controls were sharper, but in the current state they’re more of an annoyance. Especially given how good your puzzles are.

      Also, needing to grab the box as it falls can be aggravating, especially on levels like “Petit Prix” and “Around the Bend” where if you miss the grab it falls into spikes. It’d be nice if the box sat atop the hand without falling until grabbed.

      • Hi, thanks for your feedback. There are actually two solutions to Marching and one of them involves no fast dodging. I tried to stop the fast dodging solution but changing the design gave away the logic solution.

        I agree that catching the box from above is tricky but if you hold down X and move back to the box the hand will catch it. This is not elegant and I understand how frustrating it is to have the controls of a game inhibit you rather than the puzzles. I’ll revisit this mechanic, and create a better ‘tutorial’ puzzle to introduce it.

  9. Hi everyone, I’ve just updated the game to the latest version, in which I’ve made a number of improvements:
    *Changed music, optimized game and severely cut .exe size.
    *Added save game function.
    *Slightly changed “catching” mechanic and added extra level to demonstrate how catching works.
    *Fixed “creeping hand” bug – controls are now more precise.
    *Restarting a level will now be classed as an error.

  10. OK, beat the game legit and the version I had had the last stage of THIS OFFENDS MY EYE and boy did it. Why is the background color light blue instead of black like all of the other stages?

    Actual run was 126 but I played around with the sav file once I saw the errors were unprotected and the contents of the box were a little disappointing given the build up.

    The game mechanics were neat, simple, and well designed. A great puzzle game and well worth the effort for those who like a puzzle style game.

    Keep up the good work man.

    • Ah, the contents of the box were unrewarding because you didn’t get there without editing the save file! You get out what you put in πŸ™‚

      Anyone else reading this tempted to do the same, just remember the contents of the box in my game are nowhere near as disappointing as what’s inside Peter Molyneux’s cube. πŸ˜€ Unless it’s the same in which case, helloooo lawsuit!

      Thanks for the feedback though, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Some of the other stages are also blue, it’s a design feature.

  11. Hi everyone, I’ve just updated the game to version 3. Now things are getting very interesting!

  12. Hi finlay, I think you’ve had a brilliant idea and very well exploited as well,congratulations.Look forward to more games yours!

  13. ~65 errors, blind run.

    Good use of the twisty arm mechanic in the puzzles, conveys a lot visually without the need for heavy tutorials. (Did I see that mechanic before? Some game involving oil?)

    I found holding down direction buttons to be a bit imprecise for dodge-heavy approaches, but was relatively comfortable with tapping. Very satisfying when I found good ways to trap the purple blades without painting myself in a corner.

    I wish I had known the number of levels going into it: it’s slightly more than I would have wanted in one sitting, but kept persisting because I continually thought I was almost near the end.