Pandora's Box: Puzzle Game of the Year Edition - PC

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
Rated: Everyone
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When Alexey Pajitnov, creator of Tetris (one of the most addictive games of all time), designs a new puzzle title, fans everywhere perk their heads up and take note. While it's not quite up to the irresistible standard set by its legendary predecessor, Microsoft's Pandora's Box: Puzzle Game of the Year Edition was named Puzzle Game of the Year by the Electric Games website, and offers hours of nonviolent, uncomplicated enjoyment through its 10 different types of puzzles.

Nearly all of the Pandora's Box conundrums resemble the traditional jigsaw puzzle, though you'll find plenty of visual twists, such as sliding pieces on a circular plane or having to solve a puzzle built on a complex 3-D object. Some deviate from this formula, but the most addictive puzzles follow this model, and those provide the most extended--and replayable--diversions.

For those overwhelmed by complex computer games, Pandora's Box: Puzzle Game of the Year Edition offers a simplistic interface and basic rules, easing computer novices into the puzzle environment. This edition features 40 new puzzle games, as well as the original 350 puzzles from the original Pandora's Box. There are five difficulty levels, plus various hints and wildcards that remove the frustration factor when you're unable to complete a particular puzzle. Looking for new puzzle games to replace your Tetris addiction? Check out Alexey Pajitnov's engrossing Pandora's Box: Puzzle Game of the Year Edition. --Doug Radcliffe

Review

Alexei Pajitnov's name will forever be linked to Tetris, arguably the best puzzle game of all time. Luckily, the accomplishment of designing what is probably the most addictive game ever overshadows his recent track record, which includes mediocre selections such as Microsoft Puzzle Collection and a string of mediocre games for MicroProse, including Knight Moves and Qwirks, a poor PC adaptation of the excellent Puyo Puyo.

Pajitnov's latest, Pandora's Box, is a welcome return to form. While not quite as mind-and-finger-numbingly addictive as the game he is famous for, it still makes for a fun diversion.

Pandora's Box isn't actually a single game, but rather a collection of ten different puzzle types. For the most part, each type is a variation on the jigsaw puzzle, and some are more fun than others. In each puzzle, you must arrange the pieces to complete a picture or an object. What the pieces are, and what you need to do to arrange them properly, differs from puzzle to puzzle.

The puzzle types themselves range from renovated versions of old favorites, such as Rotoscope, a circular slider puzzle, to innovative variations like Outer Layer, which requires you to place the textures on a 3D object such as a vase or a sculpture. Other puzzles types are a bit more typical. Overlap is a straightforward jigsaw puzzle; the only difference is that the pieces can, as the name suggests, overlap. Slices is simply a vertical jigsaw puzzle that requires you to stack pieces of a 3D object. And Focus Point, the best of the lot, requires you to assemble out-of-focus pieces of an image.

There are also two puzzle types that stray from the jigsaw formula. Image Hole, probably the least interesting puzzle in the game, involves a covered picture. Shapes move around the board, revealing the image as they pass over. Your goal is to line up the shape with its corresponding portion of the picture underneath. It sounds interesting, but the shapes are too vague to make it anything more than frustrating most of the time. The other non-jigsaw puzzle is Find and Fill. In this puzzle, you are presented with a picture with sections missing and a separate jumble of shapes. You must use a simple paint program to find and fill the shapes that are missing from the picture. It's fun, but the picture that's provided for reference is so tiny the puzzle often ends up being nothing more than a guessing game.

What makes Pandora's Box more interesting than just a puzzle anthology is its attempt to give meaning to the proceedings. The story follows the basics of the Greek myth from which the game takes its name. Pandora has unleashed chaos - in the form of seven trickster gods - into the world, and you must recapture them. To do this, you must solve puzzles. What's intriguing is that the jigsaw nature of the puzzles fits the theme somewhat - you must restore order to chaos by piecing together fragments of puzzles into a whole - and your overall sense of purpose, even if it's the most basic "find the stuff" premise, is rare for the genre.

You must capture the seven tricksters: mythological and religious figures such as Eris, Puck, and Coyote. You pursue each of them to several cities, each of which has ten puzzles. Under one of the puzzles is a piece of the box. There are four pieces associated with each of these mischievous spirits, and once you have obtained all four pieces from one, you then go after the trickster himself. Once you've captured him, you move on to the next trickster, the next set of cities, and the next set of puzzles. There's a lot to do and a lot of puzzles to solve. The escalating difficulty and the slow introduction of new puzzle types help to keep things interesting.

Pandora's Box isn't the Half-Life of puzzle games, but it is revolutionary in a sense. It's not only a great way to divert yourself for short periods of time, but the overall sense of accomplishment you'll feel when you complete a series of its puzzles makes it something you'll go back to time and time again. And while the individual pieces may be a bit weak on their own, the overall experience is satisfying and worthwhile.--Ron Dulin--Copyright © 2000 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. -- GameSpot Review


Product Information

ASIN B00004WLPG
Release date November 1, 2000
Customer Reviews
4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #59,241 in videogames
#10,880 in Video Games > PC Games > PC Games
Pricing The strikethrough price is the List Price. Savings represents a discount off the List Price.
Product Dimensions 10.1 x 8.7 x 1.9 inches
Media: Video Game
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A good puzzle game for adults who are not into the role playing simulation type games. There are many different types of puzzles to work on as well as a travel type game. I wish there were more games geared to adults like Lemmings, Lost Vikings, the old Nintendo Fire and Ice, etc. Games that challenge the mind and not just coordination.
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And hours of entertainment! The graphics are gorgeous and the satisfaction of completing beautiful photographs and art one after the other is well worth the price. I can't pick a favorite puzzle type because I enjoy playing most of them (except Rotascope). I also liked how there is a quest to fulfill: chase the tricksters around the world and get them back in Pandora's Box. But its' not so time consuming and involving that you can't step away from the computer when reality calls. I love gaming but as a mother of two kids under 3 years, I want to be able to walk away and not worry about being killed in the game. If you only have time to play a puzzle here and there, its' prefectly fine. If you get stuck, you have free-solve tokens to get past those puzzles you don't like, reducing frustration and the GAAH!!! effect. But they're generally not so difficult as to be near impossible to solve for the average person. Each puzzle type is very easy to learn so you don't spend all the time trying to figure out how to get around and can get down to actually playing. I'm going to keep this one around as I think it also provides an exciting geography/cultural/art/mythology "spring board" lesson for children and would be lots of fun for a parent and older child (maybe 9+?) to play together.
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It gets cold up here in the winter and I enjoy doing puzzles to pass the winter. My daughter chose this game and I reluctantly bought it. After the first hour of playing it was a constant battle for the computer. I was hooked and I would recommend this game to anyone looking for something different in computer games. It was like a good Steven King book - I'm always sorry to see it end. I liked that you didn't have to spend hours trying to logic out a clue to continue, like most adventure games. I don't have the patience for that. I love doing puzzles and found the ones in this game challenging enough to keep me interested but not so difficult it is constantly testing your patience. I'm always going into computer stores to look for something similar and have recommended this game to a number of strangers and everyone at work. I hope other creators of computer games catch on to the popularity of this game and start producing similar items. Or better yet, I hope Microsoft puts out a second version (not just 40 new puzzles). I am going to try a 3-D puzzle next and would appreciate any suggestions about similar games. Buy it if you enjoy puzzles!
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Pin ball makes me grit my teeth, other computer games are either too violent, too complicated to figure out how to play or too juvenile. But Pandora's Box is the exception. It's the game for lovers of geography, art, history, mythology and for jigsaw puzzle lovers. The graphics are stunning, the music, while not the best feature, lends the right note, changing from African drums to a Caribean beat to pomp & circumstance depending on what parts of the world your game takes you. If you don't want to keep score you can also solve the puzzles on their own. This is my second copy and I hope Microsoft brings out a third installment with new puzzles.
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This was the very first "puzzle game" I had ever purchased for the computer and I personally enjoyed all the different formats the puzzles came in as well as the fact that many of them were beautiful works of art once completed. I wish that there were more computer games such as this for adults that do not wish to just partake in military or sci-fi styles of computer games. I love the old "load and go" type of games that don't take a year to understand and play. Bought it for my Brother-in-law as well as my Father and they too enjoyed it throughly.
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By A Customer on December 15, 2001
This is the best game I've played since Rubik's CD Challenge.
You don't have to compete worldwide as you do with Rubik's but more with yourself. I love puzzles and I never expected this much of a challenge when I purchased this game. Once you start you just can't seem to stop. You want to go on and on and on until you put everything that has escaped from Pandora's box back in. Then a few months later I started over, and was shocked to find I was not doing the same puzzles over again. Some of them were the same, but not all. It all depends on what you pick to solve. I love this game, and it sure takes your mind off of anything else that is bothering you. You get completely lost in it's solving. You can time yourself if you want, but you don't have to. Well worth purchasing. Does anyone know any more like this?
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Loved the game. Still do. I have played it many times before, just to get a better understanding of the different puzzles included in the game, and also to try and better my personal scores. If there is a better puzzle game out there, I would like to see it. It has kept me captivated hours on end each time I open up a new account for play, and I will keep playing it for years to come for that reason.
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