This is another example of how Game Pass is a winner for me. Unpacking. It’s a new release with a lovely concept. A really enjoyable and relaxing experience. I’m glad I played it.
But the bottom line is, it’s just so short. I suppose if you went out of your way to find all the achievements, it could be a lot longer. But for a single first play-through, HowLongToBeat notes the game clocks in around three and a half hours.
For a $20 price tag, as lovely as the game and the experience is, that’s a big OOF to me. At half the cost, I could play that game and all the games on Game Pass for a month… so…
Anyhow, this isn’t supposed to be a rant about how short a game is. Though it’s very much a stand-out element when I surprisingly found myself done with the game.
What is Unpacking?
It’s more than just a game about taking things out of packing boxes. It’s a puzzle game in that you can’t just haphazardly toss things around the room or on the floor and complete each stage. There has to be a rhyme and reason for where you put things… however, I found myself not always agreeing with how the game organized things vs. how I normally do in my own home!
The game is broken into different dates. You follow the character through stages of her life. Though you never fully get to see what she looks like, you end up knowing her and her life choices through the things that she values and takes with her each step of the way.
You start out in her childhood stage, unpacking her very first room of her own. That process looks something like this:
You then follow her to college and into the various lifestyles she leads as an adult. The game doesn’t specifically tell you what’s going on, but you can pretty easily pick up on the highs and lows of her life. This is what makes the experience worth playing through – there’s some good subtle storytelling going on here.
I admit there were a few times I had to go look up answers to where to put a few wayward items in the beginning. This was mostly due to the fact I wasn’t always sure what something was – the game only gives visual representation and doesn’t define anything with words. The mousepad in the second stage, for example, left me puzzled for a while until I saw the answer online. Then I realized “that purple thing” was a mousepad!
The game gets increasingly more complicated as your character moves into bigger multi-roomed houses or gains roommates. The nice thing is that once you finish a stage, which usually doesn’t take that long, you can save and take a break if you’d like. Then come back to play a little more when you’re ready.
As I said above, the brevity of the game took me by surprise. I put the game down after a stage, then picked it back up to play more and found myself looking at the ending credits instead!
I suppose the game did something right for me to want to play it more. My takeaway is to wait for a sale or pick it up on something like Game Pass – which is something I rarely say for a game that I enjoyed this much.