O-G Sokoban

With these puzzle games the interest derived from playing them is not what the game gives you to work with but what it holds back and limits you on. In Tetris the pieces fall randomly; in Bejeweled jewels can only be swapped horizontal or vertically, Mahjong tiles need to be picked up in pairs and be “free,” and so on. O-G Sokoban hinges its gameplay on that limiting factor as well, but could have benefitted from a greater sense of challenge.

The set up is simple really. Use your green marble piece to push red squares around a square grid that changes level by level to place them on various tiles. Push all the red squares where they need to go moves you onto the next level.

The challenge is derived by the fact that the marble has to move behind the red square to push it forward at all times, so simple things like turning corners require you to have room to move to pull off. Likewise since they always move forward and never can change direction on their own you need to be super cautious not to get them stuck in corners or against walls.

O-G Sokoban plays out over 125 ever increasingly difficult levels, by changing up the basic grid to include different patterns of dead spots and varying numbers of red squares to move around. Since your marble can’t move through the squares that means you just have more walls to work around that popup where the squares are.

There’s no timer to the levels and really no set number of moves to try and do the level under, which is odd because most games like this certainly set a “par” number of moves to shoot for. It would be nice to know, for instance, what the minimum number of moves for each level were, so I could compare it to my own total to see how well I worked my way through the solution.

In addition to that uncertainty you also always have access to an undo and restart button on each level, to back yourself out of jams. When you combine these “get out of jail free cards” with not really have any scoring mechanism except that you pass the challenge, the motivation to play the game well just sort of dissipates. Sure, I could challenge myself by limiting my undo’s or setting a target time or number of moves for each level but isn’t that sort of the game’s job?

In addition to those problems I had with the actual gameplay, there also seems to be an overall lack of polish. Rough edges to textures, buttons that could use some anti-aliasing at the absolute minimum. There’s a page tutorial to read but it’s not integrated into the game at all, so starting for the first time puts you into the first level with no clue what to do.

With O-G Sokoban I would say your level of fun is derived directly from what you expect to find when you play it. If you don’t mind a simple, unpolished casual puzzle game then I’ve certainly played worse. But for those that like your puzzle games to push back a bit, be it with timers or other difficulties, then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.