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Patrick’s Parabox Review (PS5) – Boxed In

Patrick’s Parabox Review (PS5) – Puzzles and puzzle games is a genre of games that has, and will be around forever, in one way or another. There are puzzles in action-adventure titles, puzzles in FPS titles, puzzles as entire side-quests for whole games.

Combat in games can also be a puzzle, in finding the one solution that lets you defeat your enemy. Straightforward puzzle games however are a rarer breed, and Patrick’s Parabox by developer Patrick Traynor stands as one of the shining gems in the puzzle game genre.

It’s the best kind of puzzle game, the kind that starts off with a simple mechanic and then adds more and more layers with each puzzle you solve.

Patrick’s Parabox Review (PS5) – Boxed In

Thinking Inside The Box

There’s very little that Patrick’s Parabox will actually tell you. In fact, there’s nothing that Patrick’s Parabox will explain to you beyond the controls, because it’s all entirely up to you to figure out. You learn every mechanic and rule the game has by doing, and that’s paced out wonderfully across Patrick Parabox’s 24 sections, each filled with various amounts of puzzles, totaling to 364.

Sticking to this, learning by doing philosophy, Patrick’s Parabox wastes no time getting you into your first puzzle. The “O” in Parabox in the title is your first puzzle, and you’ll zoom right into it once you hit the Start button. You’ll also repeat this with whatever section you’re on, as you progress through them.

But the first things you’ll notice about Patrick’s Parabox is its simple presentation, and calm, inviting music. The soundtrack, composed by Priscilla Snow, is an excellent companion for each puzzle, not exactly getting in the way of letting you think, but instead just as a calming earworm you’ll likely be whistling afterwards.

That first time I solved a puzzle by going inside and outside a box felt almost ingenious, and made me feel a lot smarter than I am, which I’d say is also another feature found in good puzzle games.

Patrick’s Parabox excels at giving you ample opportunity to feel that again and again, which helps to make the more difficult puzzles and the ones I couldn’t solve quickly easier to swallow.

Thinking Outside And Inside The Box

Patrick’s Parabox does pace out its new mechanics and layers them onto the puzzle design well, though putting it all together in the later levels shows how complex these puzzles can quickly become.

Not all of them, but a lot of the puzzles in Patrick’s Parabox are tough, and can definitely leave you stumped. But Patrick’s Parabox allows for endless trial and error with its undo and reset buttons, that waste no time at all letting you go back to the beginning if need be or to undo a wrong turn at the last minute.

Which you’ll end up doing a lot, as the new mechanics Traynor layers on the further you go will need trial and error before you understand them. It’s this very player-friendly approach mixed with a perfectly tuned soundtrack that make Patrick’s Parabox such an enjoyable, repeatable playing experience.

I don’t want to reveal a lot of the mechanics you’ll discover along the way, as each one gets more parabox-ical than the last, though I will say my favourite one is paired with a trophy called “Oh dear.” You’ll know it when you see it.

More than just a well adjusted loop of puzzles that are satisfying to solve, what really makes Patrick’s Parabox shine most is the amazing, relaxing, and yet exciting vibe created when it’s firing on all cylinders.

Thinking Inside The Outside Box While Outside Of The Inside

Even if you didn’t find the puzzles in Patrick’s Parabox challenging, (which I doubt many could say for all of them) the experience of playing Patrick’s Parabox is too infectious to not love it.

There’s love and care poured into everything about it, and that shows through as you’re playing and even in small, surprising ways that you’ll only find by exploring the deepest of the games levels.

And for me, the best part is that those levels are not at all walled off only to those who play through each chapter, because at any point you can hop into the game’s settings and unlock every puzzle, making the entire game available to you.

Not that Patrick’s Parabox is unreasonable with the minimum number of puzzles you need to beat in order to advance for each chapter, having the whole game available to you let’s you create this back and forth that is so enjoyable to play, as you’ll beat a later puzzle and maybe understand the game a little more to go back to the earlier one that had stumped you.

It’s also the cherry on top to the game’s player-friendly vibe that lets you play how you like, at your pace, all while you have a soundtrack that’s working to get you into a calm, relaxing flow state.

That’s what makes Patrick’s Parabox the kind of game I’ll never delete from my system’s storage. It’s the perfect thing to jump into for a quick few cerebral minutes if you don’t have time for a lot, and it’s the perfect game to sit with on a day when you want to be playing something, but don’t have the energy or even interest in jumping back into that big, intense story-driven title you’ve just been playing.

It’s the best cozy-cerebral game I’ve played, and it’s one I’d tell anyone who likes a good puzzle to play.

Patrick’s Parabox is now available on PS5.

Review code generously provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Patrick's Parabox is an excellent puzzle game that you'll want to be going back to not just to clear its 364 puzzles, but because it is the perfect cerebral-cozy game that has a calming yet exciting vibe as you solve puzzles and relax with a soundtrack that amplifies your ability to enter a calm flow state of thinking. The pacing of each new mechanic and rule to the puzzles is great, and discovering each new mechanic as you solve a puzzle only makes you want to play the next puzzle more to see how creative developer Patrick Traynor gets with it, and he certainly doesn't disappoint.