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'Box! Open Me' is the biggest little surprise of Tokyo Game Show

Opening AR boxes has never been this much fun

Box! Open Me
Box! Open Me
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Hands-on with Box! Open Me, a new multiplayer augmented reality game for PlayStation Vita.

Box! Open Me for PlayStation Vita is the next pleasant surprise from Tokyo Jungle team PlayStation C.A.M.P. At its core, the augmented reality puzzle game is simply about the process of opening boxes — wooden crates, metal lockers, and high security safes.

There's a trick to opening each one. The wooden crate, for example, has metal clamps that slam the box's lid shut whenever a player tries to open it. It's also a mimic of sorts, a fanged creature that bites down whenever the player tries to reach inside by touching the Vita touchscreen.

Opening the boxes has another twist: they require two players and two Vitas working in tandem to solve.

At Tokyo Game Show, Sony had two puzzles available to play. One involved a simple wooden box, the one with metal clamps that keeps it shut. In order to bypass that security measure, each player had to press down on the clamps, holding a finger on the touchscreen, then lifting the lid. Once open, one player had to hold the lid back with their fingertip while the other reached in to pull out the prize. Figuring that out took a few attempts, with the lid slamming shut and blood splashing on the screen. Damage to each player's hand is represented by bandaged fingers shown in the bottom left of the screen.


After solving that, we were presented with a more complex box. On one side was a green start button. Press it, and a sequence of numbers displayed on the side. We had to read the numbers aloud to our box-opening partner, who input the digits on a keypad on the opposite side. The numbers then turned to shapes, then to playing card suits, then to a mixture of numbers, shapes, suits, and punctuation.

Once that little puzzle was solved, a green laser light shone from one side of the box. We then used the Vita screen like a reflecting mirror, angling the beam at our partner. They then reflected the beam back at the box, aiming it toward a light-sensing panel, opening up the third puzzle. It was the simplest, requiring that we both press a button at the exact same time. We counted out loud — "Three, two, one!" — and pressed. The box opened. Confetti burst forth. We were ranked on our speed and number of touchscreen taps, feeling pretty good about unboxing our treasure.

After our demo, a booth companion gave us a PlayStation catalog with a unique marker that unlocks yet another box for the game, a demo of which is currently downloadable from the Japanese PlayStation Store.

Box! Open Me is currently planned for a wintertime release in Japan for the PlayStation Vita.

The next level of puzzles.

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