Sometimes you end up moving house multiple times. A new family home, your first share accommodation or into your own house, moving offers a few things, including new stories to tell. Witch Beam’s Unpacking tells a story through this process at various stages in your life.
Unpacking starts in your new childhood home with you choosing where you place your stuff. With an interesting twist on puzzle mechanics, the narrative comes through in the various household items you unpack. Each thing holds a sense of sentimentality to the protagonist; their little stuffed toys, their colouring pens and their drawing books, among others.
Much like the first, through the other levels you follow the protagonist as they unpack their life in different homes. Following their journey like this is heartwarming as you remember little items that travel between places. Whilst each item has a place it goes, it’s nice that Unpacking gives a lot of free reign for placement. As such, layouts and placement feel more personal.
As Unpacking spends more time showing rather than telling, you end up thinking about the items much more. Things might come forward in retrospect rather than then and there, but gradually you end up piecing the narrative running through the character’s life together yourself, leaving the realisations to feel more worthwhile than having everything spelled out with far more words than necessary.
In terms of Unpacking‘s look, the well-crafted style helps to provide a fun and soothing vibe. In terms of its music, Jeff van Dyck’s work mixes a few things together, further reinforcing the game’s feel. It’s nice stuff that comes off as created with love and it fits the gameplay well; Things look and sound pleasing enough and are easy on the eyes and ears.
Unpacking’s combination of its puzzle-like gameplay and its approach to storytelling make it worth a play. It’s a short experience but it does enough with what it has.
Unpacking is available on PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.