Friday, October 06, 2006


Title: Sokoblast
Author: Hellbound
License: Freeware

The last thing the world needs is another Sokoban clone. So, a year ago when I first saw this week's game on the Game Maker site, I skipped right over it because of its name. About a month ago, it appeared at Caiman Free Games, and I decided to give it a try. It turns out the Sokoblast has little in common with Sokoban. The truth is that it is not the greatest or most challenging game, but I still enjoyed running through the levels.

There is some interesting social networking between gaming sites which I observed due to this game. Once Caiman Free Games had a review, Sokoblast starting appearing on all kinds of sites. Independent Gaming had a review. The next one I noticed was at Noonan Free Games. There were a couple of others, and now my review. We all read each others blogs and sites on a regular basis. With a little chronological analysis, you can probably figure out exactly who reads whose site. I found it funny that the game has been available for over a year and is only now getting some play.

So what is Sokoblast all about? It is your basic collect all of the gold bars and make your way to the exit game. Standing in your way are locked doors, various types of blocks, and voids. To get past the locked doors, there are keys spread about to collect. The basic block type can be pushed around Sokoban style. Blue and green blocks can be only eliminated by stepping on the button of the same color. To get rid of the orange blocks, you have to push a block onto the orange button. The purple blocks cannot be destroyed but can be moved with dynamite blasts.

Now you have to get across those voids. If you push a block or blast a purple into a void, it fills in the void. Another way is to use your boomerang to active a red button. Once activated, some subset of the voids fill in. To use your boomerang, you have to have direct line of sight of the button.

As I said Sokoblast is not a great game. Its biggest flaw is the level design. There are only 27 levels which are all quite easy and quite repetitive. I didn't have to think more than 30 seconds on any given level. A couple of times, I made a small mistake and did something in the wrong order and had to start the level over again. It is more annoying than anything else. Sadly, no level editor was included.

Sokoblast comes with no documentation. Use the arrow keys to move, space bar to light a stick of dynamite, and x to use your boomerang. To save your progress, you have to return to the main menu. Doing this after completing each level gets a little tiring. Two of the three graphic tile sets are nice; the middle one is ghastly. The audio is nice.

Sokoblast is still a fun little ego boost.


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