Unpacking Review: Discover Life, One Box at a Time

Comfort yourself with some Unpacking!

Unpacking is a calming game that simulates the process of taking your belongings out of boxes and arranging them in a new home. It’s a mix of block-fitting puzzles and decorating, allowing you to create a satisfying living space while uncovering hints about the life you’re unpacking. Developed by Witch Beam and published by Humble Bundle, the game spans eight house moves. Through the items they choose to keep, you gradually learn about this character without any explicit storytelling. In this Unpacking review, our aim is to focus on the key aspects of the game and offer a balanced assessment.

Unpacking incorporates an Ambivalent Storyline

Unpacking takes players on a poignant journey through a character’s life as they move from one home to another, spanning the years from 1997 to 2018. Each environment, representing a different stage of adulthood, such as a childhood bedroom, college dorm, or shared apartment, serves as a canvas for players to arrange possessions.

Unpacking Storyline
Image via Humble Bundle

The act of unpacking isn’t just about organizing items; it’s about unraveling a story. Art supplies, gaming controllers, postcards, and photos all reveal facets of the character’s personality, interests, and relationships. The game’s subtle storytelling allows players to piece together the protagonist’s life without explicit narration, providing a unique and emotionally resonant experience.

Unpacking’s Comforting Gameplay

Unpacking’s gameplay revolves around the simple yet satisfying task of unpacking and arranging belongings in various living spaces. Each level presents a new home to furnish, and players must carefully place items, considering their significance and the narrative clues they provide. As you unpack, the character’s life story unfolds organically, creating a sense of emotional attachment to the process.

Image via Humble Bundle

The inclusion of a photo mode is a creative touch, allowing players to capture their meticulously arranged scenes. While this feature adds an element of personalization, it could have been more integrated into the overall experience.

The absence of deeper interactions with the photos, such as incorporating them into the in-game photo album, leaves some untapped potential. Nonetheless, Unpacking’s gameplay offers a unique blend of puzzle-solving and storytelling, making it a contemplative and emotionally engaging gaming experience.

Comforting Environment Design

The comforting environmental design of Unpacking is a standout feature that envelops players in a sense of warmth and nostalgia. From cozy bedrooms to shared living spaces, each room is meticulously crafted with attention to detail. The carefully chosen decor, furniture, and color palettes reflect the character’s personal journey and evoke a feeling of familiarity.

Unpacking Environment
Image via Humble Bundle

This design invites players to connect emotionally with the spaces they are unpacking and infuses the game with a soothing ambiance, making Unpacking a truly comforting and visually captivating experience.

Unpacking boasts a charming and straightforward visual style, employing modern pixel art graphics. This aesthetic choice complements the game’s soothing and nostalgic atmosphere perfectly. The pixelated visuals offer a sense of simplicity and warmth, evoking a feeling of nostalgia reminiscent of classic video games from the past.

Each item you unpack is lovingly detailed, allowing players to appreciate the significance of even the smallest possessions in the character’s life journey. This pixel art style not only adds to the game’s visual appeal but also reinforces its focus on the emotional and personal aspects of unpacking.

Unpacking Visual and Audio
Image via Humble Bundle

The audio design in Unpacking plays a pivotal role in creating its calming and nostalgic ambiance. The game’s soundtrack features a collection of tunes that evoke feelings of comfort and familiarity. As you unpack, the gentle and soothing melodies enhance the overall experience, making each level feel like a cozy, intimate journey.

Moreover, the game incorporates subtle sound effects that add depth to the world, from the satisfying click of placing an item to the soft rustling of paper as you unwrap something. These audio elements work harmoniously to immerse players in the process of unpacking and the emotions it conveys, contributing significantly to the game’s unique and delightful atmosphere.

Unpacking features simple UI and Controls

The user interface (UI) and controls in Unpacking are designed with simplicity and smoothness in mind, enhancing the overall ease of playing the game. One notable feature is the absence of a complex inventory system, which streamlines the gameplay.

Instead, players interact directly with the items and boxes, eliminating the need for managing an inventory grid or menu. This simplicity allows players to focus entirely on the act of unpacking and the narrative elements of the game.

Unpacking UI and Controls
Image via Humble Bundle

Navigating and manipulating boxes in Unpacking is a seamless experience. The controls are intuitive and straightforward, making it easy for players to move boxes to their desired locations. Opening boxes is equally hassle-free, as it involves a simple interaction with each container. This simplicity ensures that the gameplay remains accessible and enjoyable, emphasizing the emotional and narrative aspects of the unpacking process rather than wrestling with complex controls or inventory management.

Value for Money

Unpacking is definitely worth the price you pay for the relaxation and enjoyment it offers. It’s unique in how it tells a story and gives meaning in an interesting way. Surprisingly, even though it’s a single-player game, it’s been a great conversation starter and social experience. The game excels at creating a soothing and stress-free atmosphere, allowing players to unwind and immerse themselves in its unique narrative. What makes it truly special is how it lets you connect with the story at your own pace, making it a deeply personal experience.

Unpacking Value for money
Image via Humble Bundle

Moreover, the game’s replayability is a significant bonus. Every playthrough reveals new details and insights, encouraging you to return to it time and again. This adds long-term value to your purchase, as Unpacking continues to surprise and engage you with each revisit. In my opinion, the relaxation and satisfaction you derive from unpacking each box, discovering the character’s life story, and personalizing their living spaces make Unpacking a truly worthwhile and memorable gaming experience.

Final Verdict

The most remarkable achievement of Unpacking, from our review standpoint, lies in its ability to tell a compelling story without relying on conventional narrative tools. The game breaks away from the usual storytelling conventions, and dialogues, featuring minimal text, and deliberately keeping characters hidden from view. This unique approach encourages players to engage their imagination and observation skills as they unpack each box.

It prompts them to reflect on the significance of each item and its placement in the evolving story, creating a deeply personal connection to the character’s life journey. The absence of traditional storytelling elements doesn’t hinder the game’s ability to convey emotion; instead, it empowers players to actively participate in the narrative, making it a truly exceptional and memorable gaming experience that defies expectations.

Unpacking Review by GamingonPhone

Gameplay Mechanics - 8
Storyline - 8.5
Graphics and Music - 8
Environment Design - 7.5
Controls and UI - 8
Value for Money - 7.5



Unpacking breaks away from the usual storytelling conventions, and dialogues, featuring minimal text, and deliberately keeping characters hidden from view.

That’s all from us for the Unpacking Review! Did you find The Unpacking Review helpful? Do let us know in the comments!

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