Sokobos is a minimalistic, yet challenging puzzle game developed by Daisy Games and released on Steam on April 1, 2022. What seems to be a simple pixel-based game quickly becomes a brain tester that had me scratching my head for hours. Each puzzle is masterfully designed, and the difficulty starts off slow but then ramps up to be a game I return to when I want a quick challenge.
You are prompted before starting the game as to whether you want to show the number of moves you have taken. I’m so glad I chose not to as the number counter can be a distraction when you’re trying to strategise possible solutions. Once in-game the playable character, Aeschylus, is reuniting with his lover Berenice after a time away. He had gone to visit an oracle to find out what he must do to overcome his hardship. His lover assumes he’s returned triumphant, but her dreams are shattered when he tells her that he must single-handedly build a temple to Zeus, the God of justice and King of The Gods.
The main gameplay loop consists of creating sections of a temple to Zeus. Each level has a blueprint of a statue as well as pieces spread through the area. You push the parts by moving them but you cannot push parts through walls or other parts, so must have line of sight and clearance to be able to shift them where you need to. What appears as quick and simple solutions can quickly turn difficult with an incorrect shunt. You can under your moves an unlimited amount as well as reset the whole level if required.
Once a piece is placed into position on the blueprint, it locks in. However you can move it out of position if required, you just need to be thinking a few steps ahead to make sure you don’t block your own progress. The first few levels were simple and methodical, but I hit my first hurdle on level 5 which I stared at and tried for a good 30-minutes before taking a break and coming back to it. There are 60 levels in total including challenges such as having to dye piece a certain colour and moving obstacles out of the way so you can adjust the position of the main pieces.
If a particular level is getting too difficult for you, you can skip it which is a good feature to have as there’s nothing worse than hitting a massive roadblock and just giving up on the game completely. However in doing so, you may miss a learning opportunity that could help solve later puzzles, so it’s definitely a trade off. You could also add the move counter to your game such that you can challenge yourself to complete previous levels in more efficient ways as you get better at the game.
Overall, Sokobos is definitely a game where you cannot judge a game by its graphics and the very clever level design tested my brain power night after night. This is a surprise hit for my puzzle game collection and I highly recommend you give it a go and is definitely worth the $7.50 price tag (currently on sale as at the time of this article).
This review utilised a key provided by the developer and Sokobos is out now on Steam.