Sokobos Review: all Greek to me!
You gotta hand it to the Greek gods — they sure had a flair for the dramatic! Whether it was turning people into animals because they did the nasty with them, turning people into animals because they didn’t do the nasty with them… actually, come to think of it, being a regular mortal hanging around Greek gods must have been difficult, huh? I mean, I guess you would know — after all, you’re just some dude who was tasked with building a temple for Zeus by hand with no assistance. Luckily, you’ve been given superhuman strength to do this (Heracles who?), but like… seriously, what’s with the gods interfering with mortals like this, and, like any good Greek tragedy, is there a (potentially fatal) catch down the line?
That’s for the gods to know and for players to find out in Sokobos, the “minimalistic, brain-twisting puzzle game that expands on the classic block-pushing Sokoban formula.” Available on Steam for a very friendly price of $4.99, Sokobos is the Grecian take on the Sokoban genre, where players must push boxes or other items around into their proper place. Will you singlehandedly build an eternal testament to the God of Gods, or will your brainpower succumb to the puzzles despite your newfound brawn?
As previously stated, Sokobos players are expected to build a temple to Zeus by sheer force — pushing heavy objects together to form pillars, furniture, and more. The objects must be pushed together in a specific manner, the end result matching the ghost outline acting as a guide for its set place. This includes not only the form of the objects, but also their features, such as writing or color. By moving the objects around the rooms into their set places can players proceed onto the next level. Good luck with that, by the way — with 60 levels that don’t hold back on the difficulty, you’re gonna need it!
Although the Sokoban formula isn’t new, it’s not all that commonplace, so Sokobos had a lot of opportunities to make its mark in multiple ways. One appreciated way is the color scheme, with trichromatic, dichromatic and monochromatic options to offer colorblind players a more comfortable way to play. Another interesting facet is that the objects players push (never pull) around are unique, meaning that not anything can be shoved into one of the set places awaiting them. For example, one level requires a brown table and two pillars, which means that the pillar pieces must be arranged in the right order, cannot be placed where the table must go, etc. What a way to up the difficulty of such a classic puzzle game!
If there are any readers out there that are thinking “no sweat, looks easy!” I regret to inform you that I, too, thought this would be a simple puzzle game to breeze through; by the third level it was pretty clear my ass was going to be repeatedly handed to me. And with the move counter letting me know I was solving puzzles in way more moves than the leaderboard, I could tell that I had a lot to learn in terms of efficiency. Remember, no pulling is allowed here, only pushing; on top of that, if you push an object up to another, you can’t push both at the same time, so depending on the situation you may be stuck. Luckily, Sokobos gives players infinite undos and restarts, so if you find yourself SOL, you can delay your journey across the River Styx for a little while longer.
I honestly don’t have many complaints for Sokobos — if you love the genre, you’re likely going to enjoy this Grecian twist on the classic. It’s also likely harder than some of the other Sokoban games out there, but it’s such a chill experience despite kicking your brain into overtime that the added difficulty doesn’t mean added frustration. I may not be able to play this for long stretches of time without breaking my brain a bit, but I know that if I want a fun challenge to chew on, Sokobos provides puzzles that would make even Athena scratch her head.
Sokobos may have the premise of a potential Greek tragedy, but this game is anything but tragic. A fantastic, fresh take on the Sokoban formula, Sokobos provides players with plenty of brain-teasing adventures that’ll keep them occupied for the length of an entire odyssey or two. If you’re looking for a puzzle game that will really make you sit and think without giving a god-tier headache, Sokobos only costs a few drachmas for dozens of hours of delightfully difficult gameplay.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed); Publisher: Daisy Games; Developer: Daisy Games; Players: 1; Released: April 1, 2022; MSRP: $4.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Sokobos provided by the publisher.