Boxes and crates have a long and storied history in gaming. From the store-room shuffling of Sokoban to Solid Snake's portable cardboard hideaway with enough crates of ammo and supplies in between to fill a Big Yellow Storage depot, a strong case can be made that boxes ARE gaming.
Move The Box, then, is gaming at its most primal. Gone are the enemies, the environments and even the box contents. Only the boxes remain...and they need moving.
Each level of Move The Box contains a stack of luggage, crates, tea chests and other containers on a dockside. By lining up three or more boxes of the same colour in a line they will disappear in a puff of smoke. You know, like boxes do in real life.
You move boxes by swiping them with a finger. Each swipe will shift a box by one box width and if there is a box in the way it will swap positions with the one you are moving. Gravity also plays a part, so if you clear one line then any boxes above it will drop down, allowing you to set up chain reactions to clear multiple lines with one swipe.
Conserving your swipes is vital because you are only allowed to move a set number of boxes per level. Go over and you must restart. There's also an undo button that will step you back through your moves if you think you have gone awry, and you will definitely end up making use of it.
Like many of the best puzzle games, Move The Box is incredibly simple. Although it has a lot in common with other three-in-a-row games like Bejewelled, this strips the format down to the basics and presents you with set boards that are engineered to provide a challenge.
Some of the levels are real head-scratchers but everything is solvable and there's a palpable sense of achievement when the solution finally clicks.
Graphically the game is simple but charmingly presented. The boxes look hand-drawn and the background music is a shuffly slice of mellow jazz that just adds to the aura of calm that surrounds this game. There is no time limit, no element of danger, just a series of increasingly tricky layouts that will stretch your brain and prove maddeningly addictive.
Move The Box isn't going to make your adrenaline pump, but that isn't what it is for. What you get is a mellow serving of puzzle pleasure spread over 48 levels, for free.
Move the Box is a free download from the Android Marketplace