In the game, players must travel around the world to different cities solving various kinds of puzzles to capture the seven "tricksters" - Maui, Puck, Eris, Coyote, Monkey, Anansi and Raven. Each trickster has a challenge puzzle after finding all the missing box pieces, acquired by solving the puzzle with each piece behind it in each city. The location of the pieces is randomized each game. The game offers sporadic bonuses. Hints are used to find where one piece goes if the player needs help figuring it out. Free puzzle tokens solve puzzles for the player if needed. A free puzzle token is awarded for every ten puzzles solved. The game includes the following puzzle types:
Pandora's Box won GameSpot's "Puzzles and Classics Game of the Year" award. The editors wrote that it "proved that he [Pajitnov] was more than just the king of the simple game." It was a runner-up for Computer Games Strategy Pluss 1999 "Classic Game of the Year" award and Computer Gaming Worlds 1999 "Puzzle/Classics Game of the Year" award.
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