Skip to main content

This satisfying $7 mobile puzzle game is money well spent

A box in Boxes: Lost Fragments has an octopus on it.

If you’re looking for a new mobile game that’ll keep your hands busy and you have $7 to spare, Boxes: Lost Fragments is money well spent.

Developed by Big Loop Studios, Boxes: Lost Fragments is a moody puzzle game where players are tasked with opening 20 intricately designed, themed puzzle boxes, all while unearthing a creepy gothic narrative. If that sounds a lot like The Room series, it is. You can either read Boxes as a total ripoff or a respectful homage, but one thing is certain in either case: It’s extremely satisfying.

While Boxes originally dropped on PC in February ahead of an iOS port last week (Android is still coming), mobile is the ideal way to experience it. The concept is familiar: When I start, I’m given a mysterious box covered in latches, switches, buttons, and puzzles. It’s my job to open it up and get the mysterious fragment inside. I accomplish that through remarkably intuitive actions. While I see a latch, I naturally know to swipe my finger up to open it. When I find a screwdriver in one puzzle, I instantly know how to drag it to a screw and turn it to loosen it. It’s a tactile gameplay hook with little to no learning curve.

Other puzzles get a little deeper, though Boxes never gets overly complicated. Its more about sleuthing out hidden compartments in boxes, finding items, and figuring out where they slot into the contraption. The more involved riddles, like using rotating contraptions to move symbols to their proper position, take a little more brainpower, but are rarely complicated enough to get frustrating. Boxes even includes a clear hint system that points to the next object that needs to be solved, as well as a Skip Puzzle button to bypass its trickier, execution-based puzzles.

Symbols appear on a puzzle in Boxes: Lost Fragments.

It works especially well as a mobile game thanks to the bite-sized length of each puzzle box. Each one takes no more than 15 minutes to complete, which is perfect for a quick distraction during lunch or while commuting.

Considering that there hasn’t been a new game in The Room series since 2020’s excellent The Room VR: A Dark Matter, I welcome a well-made tribute to the series in its absence. Big Loop Studios nails the formula here, packing each puzzle with thoughtfully designed interactions that carry a toy-like charm. One box, shaped like an ancient Greek theater, has me swiping to pull a hidden key out of a lyre, slotting that key into a keyhole, turning it with a twist of my finger, and discovering a crossbow that I can attach onto a moving cart and fire off with a tap. The smooth lead-in from one puzzle makes each one a delight to solve.

If you’re not sure that loop will work for you, Boxes has a pretty generous free trial. You can download the game for free and play its first eight of 20 puzzle boxes. You’ll have to pay $7 to get the final batch, but that first handful will give you a clear idea of the full game. If you have as much fun with it as I did, that price tag will be worth every penny.

Boxes: Lost Fragments is available now on PC and iOS devices. An Android version is coming soon.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
All Minecraft biomes, explained
A misty minecraft landscape.

The randomly generated world of Minecraft has technically been limitless since the beginning, but Mojang has made it even bigger over time by adding more diversity to the things you can discover in the world. Over the years, we've had new items, recipes, monsters, animals, and even entire biomes integrated into the game. Biomes are always the most exciting because they introduce an entirely new ecosystem that brings back that fresh feeling of exploration. We have a lot more than just the few basic biomes the game launched with, so let's run through them all and what makes them unique.

Note that there are many sub-biomes within many larger ones, so we will do our best to consolidate them all and list anything unique within them as logically as possible.

Read more
Best Nintendo Switch Memorial Day sales: console bundles, games, and accessories
Nintendo Switch OLED model

If you're thinking about buying the Nintendo Switch, or if you already own the console and you're on the lookout for discounts on games and accessories, you won't want to miss the offers from retailers for Memorial Day. The holiday is on its way, but some Nintendo Switch Memorial Day sales have already launched so that you can get your shopping done as soon as today. To help you navigate through all of the early Memorial Day deals, we've rounded up our favorite picks for the Nintendo Switch below. If something catches your eye, it's highly recommended that you proceed with the purchase right away because stocks may sell out at any moment.
Best Nintendo Switch console Memorial Day deals

The Nintendo Switch has spawned two additional models since its launch -- the Nintendo Switch Lite that is a fully handheld device, and the Nintendo Switch OLED that features a brighter screen. Whatever version you choose, there's a discount waiting for you from this year's Nintendo Switch console Memorial Day deals, but you're going to have to be quick in completing your transaction because stocks of the Nintendo Switch almost always quickly sell out whenever there's a chance at savings.

Read more
How Lorelei and the Laser Eyes went from a small project to 2024’s most ambitious game
A character wanders a cracked maze in Lorelei and the Laser Eyes.

It was a random day in March when I got a surprising email. The PR team for Annapurna Interactive had reached out to send over a preview build of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. I wasn’t told when the game was coming out or even when I could write impressions on it. I’d end up even more puzzled when I downloaded it to my Steam account and realized that I’d been sent the full game despite the fact that no release date had been announced yet. I quite literally had no idea what I was in for at that moment. Weeks later, I was wrapping credits on one of the most remarkable games I’d ever played.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is 2024’s biggest surprise. Developed by Simogo, the puzzle-based adventure game is a remarkable design feat filled with incredibly clever mental challenges. It’s the kind of project that leaves one wondering how a group of developers could even come up with such a bold creative vision, let alone execute it as well as this. Weeks after finishing its final puzzle, I was desperate to learn everything I could about one of my new, all-time favorite games.

Read more