Assemble With Care | Well packaged

Locked inside your heart-shaped box in the delightful puzzler, Assemble With Care. Here’s our review…


Everybody hates plugging in a USB cable. It doesn’t make any particular sense, but every time you use one you have to flip it around a few times and waggle the nub, your brain seemingly incapable of getting this innocuous process right on the first try. Yet, no matter how many times you’ve been through this painful process before, it’s all worth it as soon as you feel the satisfying click when it makes its way into the port. A joy lost with USB-C, safe to say.

But imagine if a developer made a game centred around that satisfying feeling. You don’t have to, because Assemble With Care exists. From the minds behind Monument Valley, this is a similarly wholesome experience with a lot more character and narrative than its previous games. The story is told through the lens of twelve objects and the delightful Maria, a tinkerer who unravels the backstories of the people behind the paraphernalia she’s fixing. It’s emotional archaeology in the dying years of the eighties, and it oozes style.

Between the in-game sections, you scroll your way through a quick vignette, often narrated in compelling fashion by Maria, whose voice actor sells the dreamlike optimism of her profession. One of the first missions has you unpacking her suitcase, with Maria adding flavour text to each object as you go. She makes a note that she’s usually living off ramen and that her fingers always get in the way of her camera shots. Small details like these really sell Maria as a relatable character, and keep you pushing on in your seemingly innocuous but important job.

Given that there are only twelve objects to fix, you can wrap this up in under an hour if you’re the kind of person whose house is held together mainly with sticky tape. If you’re a fidgeter or just someone who loves to break things and put them back together, Assemble With Care is like virtual haptic therapy. Unfortunately, it can be rather too simple at times, and I would have preferred less hand-holding overall – maybe a hard mode where you can turn off the highlighting and figure it all out for yourself. Mind you, frustration would perhaps be an unwelcome emotion in this soothing mobile gem.

In light of other games that usually focus on the extremes of human behaviour and grave conflicts, it’s lovely to play a game that’s about small acts of kindness. Some of the revelations earned from unspooling tape with a pencil and fixing broken electronics would be criminal to spoil, but they often hit you with an unexpected burst of emotion, a facet I wasn’t expecting.

This is complemented by a melancholy score that lets you ponder on the emotional patchwork you’re constructing. It’s perfect for wresting your mind away from a sense of looming dread on a morning commute, but mainly it’s an antidote to the intensity of modern gaming, and one of Apple Arcade’s most surprising and worthwhile jaunts.


Assemble With Care’s UI is covered in strokes of artistic flair that make it a visual delight to tap through. A variety of eye-catching fonts are juxtaposed against crayon-like drawings of the main characters, where mistakes are left bare: a fitting summary of everything the game stands for.

Verdict: 81%

A haptic tinkering experience layered with unexpected emotion, Assemble With Care is a mobile delight.

Genre: Puzzle
Format: iOS
Developer: ustwo Games
Publisher: Apple
Price: Apple Arcade (£4.99/Month)
Release: Out now

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