Even if you miss the tribute to Lynch and Jodorowski in the game’s description, it’ll take only a few minutes of play to see where A Box Full of Joy’s inspirations lie. Set in a dreamscape of confusing images and unreality, Daniil Ermakov‘s latest is a must-play for anyone looking for something a bit…different.
From the opening screen, you’re character’s bloody injury tells a tale of things gone wrong, and things only escalate from there. You’ll pick up a knife and stumble from an alley into a bar, where you’re warned that things may only get worse.
Movies like Mulholland Drive start by drawing you in with a relatable, or at least, understandable, premise, and then rip the rug out from under you just when you’ve started putting the pieces together. A Box Full of Joy condenses this process into a wonderful 10 minute short-story, woven through the context of a point-and-click adventure game. You’ll point and click your way through some stunning environments that evolve as you progress, and change even more once you start abusing the nondescript pills found in the trash.
The grainy visuals and odd dialogue come together to create an unnerving atmosphere, and a game I can recommend to anyone who isn’t dead-set on having a traditional narrative. I still have little idea about what really happened, but as with much of this type of surreal fiction, the journey is still worth taking regardless of what you take away from it. There’s already some interesting discussion on the game’s page if you’re ready to dig a little deeper.
-One quick warning though, the ending that I got led to me walking indefinitely through an empty field, so don’t waste too much time if you get stuck there too, I’m pretty sure that’s just it.-
If you’re up for a disturbing jaunt through another world, try the game on GameJolt for free, here.