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Game Pass Gem: Unpacking is the kind of game you wish you'd thought of

Why is filling a room with stuff so damn compulsive?

I had zero interest in Unpacking. A game about taking items out of boxes to fill new apartments and houses didn't excite me at all. The game looked nice enough, and I'd seen it in at least one showcase streaming event, but releasing in November, when I had a million and one other things to cover, cemented in my mind the fact that this is one I'd simply ignore. Then the magic of Game Pass took over, I installed Unpacking on a whim, and I can't believe I'm enjoying placing dishes as much as I am.

To be clear, I'm not even through one of the game's photo books yet, so I've yet to see how the subtle environmental storytelling plays out (although the game is already doing a great job without saying a single word), but I just wanted to give you all a gentle push to give this a go as soon as possible.

Essentially you're given a room or multiple rooms to fill with stuff. Your stuff. Stuff that has come with you from a previous home and life, and must now be given a place in your new home. Click on a cardboard box and an item is revealed, then you can place this item in your room/home, wherever you want, to a degree.

These items of stuff do need to go somewhere suitable or else the game shames you with red highlights that show your inability to put things away like a properly functioning adult should be able to do. Screw you, game! Why can't I store the massive knife on the draining board in the kitchen? It's easy to access if I want to slice a sweet potato in half and makes washing up a potentially deadly game.

I've seen a fair few people talking about how Unpacking is a nice relaxing game, but I've found it anything but. For one, I want the rooms to look perfect. Books must be placed in order of size, shoes must be neatly placed together, jeans folded, buttoned shirts hung, socks all in one place. And that mark of the wall must be covered by a poster or a picture frame.

And good lord, please let me put all the tea and coffee making things together. I simply won't abide having the sugar in a different cupboard to the coffee. And why do I have to choose which of my childhood toys get to go on a shelf and others hidden away? I'm thinking about one mistake I made as I write this. I think subconsciously I've become the person whose belongings I've been dealing with. Are they sad that I put the pig soft toy away? I think they probably are. I'm sorry. There just wasn't room.

In short, please give Unpacking a go. It's the beauty of Game Pass in my eyes. Yes, it's great value, but it's also a service that lets you try things you might have otherwise ignored. £15 isn't riches by any means, but you might baulk at that for what seems like busy work. I've seen a fraction of what Unpacking has to offer, but I'm already jealous that I didn't come up with the idea myself. It's the kind of game you'd scoff at before trying for yourself.

Disclaimer: Tested on Xbox Series X and PC. Also available for Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch.

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PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch

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About the Author
Tom Orry avatar

Tom Orry

Deputy Editorial Director ReedPop

Tom (he/him) has spent 20 years in games media after getting a pointless BSc in Software Engineering. He oversees a number of ReedPop websites and projects. Previously he created VideoGamer.com, was EiC on VG247, and managing editor on USgamer.