Move the Box provides a sedate, logical take on the Match 3 puzzle genre

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By Pete Davison

Move the Box is a new iOS game from independent developer Bitchin’ Games. It’s available in both a “Lite” and a “Pro” version, though both are currently available on the App Store for free. The Pro version is currently sitting at the top of the Free App and Free Games charts after a week of very strong growth.

Move the Box is a Match 3 puzzle game. However, unlike comparable titles such as Bejeweled, the emphasis is not on quickly scoring as many points as possible. Rather, the game is a more relaxed affair which challenges players to clear preset boards in as few moves as possible.

Players are presented with a stack of crates on a dock which is supposedly in one of several different locations around the world. Crates disappear when in a horizontal or vertical line made up of identical colors. To aid the recognition of the different crates and also cater to color-blind players, each color of crate also has a different thematically-appropriate design — brown crates are parcels wrapped in paper, for example, while red crates are wooden boxes.

Players must cause all crates on screen to disappear by sliding them from side to side or up and down. Crates can be slid out of piles they are in, too, at which point any crates left with a gap underneath will be subject to gravity. The challenge of the game comes in the form of a move limit, which players must adhere to in order to progress — if a player causes all crates to disappear but exceeds the move limit, they are forced to re-try the level until they have completed it as efficiently as possible.

The game features a hint system that forms the basis of its monetization strategy. Hints can be purchased in packs of 4 for $.99 or packs of 12 for $1.99. The player is also able to acquire a one time bonus of five free hints in exchange for supposedly leaving the app a five-star review, though in practice the free hints can actually be claimed simply by visiting the game’s App Store page via the link in the game and then immediately switching back without leaving a rating.

Once used, hints mark boxes which need to be moved to solve the level, along with where they need to be moved to. If a level is completed with the use of hints, it is marked as such on the level select screen, though a player can later elect to remove the hint display and complete the level without assistance, at which point the hint marker disappears. Removing a hint from a level does not, however, refund the player with a hint for use elsewhere — it is gone forever at this point.

The game offers a substantial amount of content, with 168 levels of increasing complexity available for free. It is this generous provision of content combined with the simple to understand gameplay which has likely contributed to the game’s success in the App Store charts this week. The developer is doubtless hoping that ¬†impatient players will want to take advantage of the monetized hint system in the more complex later levels in order to turn a healthy profit — though those with a logical mind and an eye for deceptively complex puzzles will have no need to make use of this facility.

Move the Box is currently at No. 1 in the Top Free Apps and Top Free Games charts. You can follow its progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.