Unpacking : A game about moving

Life lessons packed in a game that traces the player’s journey from emptying the nest to returning at a time when philosophical and practical sensibilities seem to take on a new meaning

Published: 08th September 2022 06:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2022 06:25 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Moving homes is nothing if not stressful. While there is an aspect of moving that involves a feeling of being uprooted, the worse feeling is the worry that your collection of glassware might be shattered along the process. One of the reasons the game Unpacking is a big success is that it managed to make moving feel peculiarly relaxing. 

Unpacking follows a person, along several life-defining moves in different stages of their life. We see the mover as a teenager settling into their new home, to a college student in a new dormitory, struggling to part with their childhood. We see how their life and priorities change as they move into homes with new roommates, and eventually build their own life and family.

My interpretation of this game may be a little deeper than it intended it to be I found myself seeing the main character adapting their life and taking on the interests of their previous roommates based on their new possessions. I saw them making sacrifices in terms of leaving some prized possessions behind, while simultaneously adjusting to the space constraints and jarring design aesthetics of their partners. I felt the subtle change in the tone of the music when the mover went back to their childhood home after years of living independently. I didn’t really think much about how telling life can be, based on the possessions you own.

The game is a cute organisation simulator, where the levels grow progressively harder as the character moves from home to home. It involves opening large cardboard boxes and ensuring that every possession has its rightful place in its designated room in the house. It is a mix of home decoration and block-fitting, presenting each room from an isometric viewpoint. My only problem with the game is that it is extremely short, and I finished it in less than three hours. However, I do see myself replaying it multiple times till the developers decide to add new levels. It’s currently free to play with the Xbox/PC game pass. The game can be played on the PC, Xboxes, Nintendo Switch and the PlayStations. 



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