Geek Culture’s App Of The Month: Unpacking (September 2023)

Between the time crunch and frustration of getting stuck, puzzle games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. There’s nothing about those experiences that allow for a relaxing time, after all, but Unpacking proves otherwise by adding a meditative element to the mix.

App of the Month (September 2023): Unpacking

The BAFTA award-winning game from Witch Beam follows a simple premise. Players pull possessions out of boxes, fit them into a new home, and learn clues about the life they are unpacking across eight stages. A total of 35 rooms await, each with their own nooks and crannies that will be explored while stacking plates, hanging towels, and arranging bookshelves.

The best part? There isn’t a timer, metre or score. Unpacking is all about going at your own pace, making it the perfect stress reliever or downtime companion after a long day at work, school, and otherwise. Now that it’s available on both iOS and Apple devices, unwinding can take place anywhere and anywhere – without the need for a secondary device, such as the Nintendo Switch, to boot.

Apart from the red-slash-blue console, the zen game also debuted on PC and Xbox One in 2021. A PlayStation 4 and PS5 version launched a year later, with this smartphone app – released in August – offering even more accessibility to the casual gaming masses. For an optimised experience, the mobile port ships with haptics and touchscreen capabilities, as well as features that easily create snapshots and videos for sharing on social media.

Gameplay, meanwhile, is enjoyment in its simplest form. The game’s nearly wordless nature ensures anyone who may have language or comprehension barriers can still play it, and there are a lot of detail to go around. For instance, the audio design includes over 14,000 foley effects, with each item having multiple unique pick-up and placement sound effects.

The memorable four-to-five-hour adventure isn’t free-to-play, however. Unpacking is priced at US$9.99 on the Apple App Store and US$13.99 on Google Play Store, promising a worthwhile show-not-tell expertise and a poignant narrative brimming with heartfelt sincerity.