#44 Sokoban

Posted: 19th August 2016 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

535th played so far


Genre: Puzzle
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1982
Developer: Hiroyuki Imabayashi
Publisher: Thinking Rabbit

Sokoban feels like it’s one of the better known puzzle games out there, to the point where Nethack names a set of floors after it. Box-shoving and boulder-shoving comes down to the same thing after all.

I don’t know where I first came across the game – must have been at a friend’s place – but Sokoban was one of those puzzle games that was always intriguing, even if the progress of the time left it behind in favour of others. At this point, I can’t even say for sure whether the version we’re playing now is the best, or the most accurate, or the original – it’s just one of the versions out there.

Our Thoughts

Beyond that, there isn’t loads to say about Sokoban. The graphics are exceedingly simple – differing a bit based on platform you’re running it on, but the system doesn’t necessarily allow for many changes. There are crates, places the crates need to go, boxes and walls. The gameplay sounds as simple – push those boxes to get them to their destination. Push them the wrong way and they might block other boxes, get stuck in a corner or make the puzzle impossible in some other way.

Oddly enough, it’s probably one of the more often replicated game puzzle types, most notably with Pokemon having some of these in most of their games.

And the reasons why are probably obvious. The puzzles are fairly easy to understand and straight forward. If set up and signposted well, they can be pretty easy, but as the game quickly shows, they can be incredibly complicated as well. Just one slight change in a puzzle can turn it from straight forward to tricky or impossible.

And with just the slight trappings, the experience is pure. The boxes are the obvious skinning of the puzzle, but it matters little what you’re doing. It’s all simply about getting them where they need to go. And you can always try that another time.

Final Thoughts

Sokoban is a good, simple puzzle game – as such games should be. Often imitated, it is for good reason, and the simplicity means it slots into puzzles for other games nicely – a legacy of its own.

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