Video Game / Sokoban

Sokoban is a game invented by a Japanese company, "Thinking Rabbit". Essentially, it's the Block Puzzle of all Block Puzzles.

The idea is simple: Push all of the blocks inside a maze on their target positions, but there are three rules that make it tricky:
  • You cannot pull blocks; you can only push them.
  • You cannot push more than one block at a time.
  • Your character can't just move anywhere; to push a block, he has to have a route to the square behind it.

Suddenly a task that seems so simple becomes really challenging. In other words, the game can get very hard, very fast.

A lot of people liked the idea and now there are tons of remakes and new levels on the Internet. Many of them are rather difficult.

Sokoban provides examples of:

  • Back Tracking: Since you can only push one block at a time, you will have to traverse the map multiple times. This is amplified in some layouts (e.g. Level 20), where you need to traverse the entire level to get a box around a corner.
  • Block Puzzle: The ultimate.
  • Follow the Leader: Aside from thousands of straight remakes, the basic mechanics have themselves became a standard for most puzzle games with blocks.
  • Lost Forever: You cannot retrieve a block pushed in a corner, or next to an edge wall. If one of the target squares is right there, it's all fine, but if not, then you need to undo or restart.
  • Nintendo Hard: Especially in higher levels.
  • Timed Mission: Versions count the number of seconds, moves or pushes.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Very rarely, some poorer clones/remakes feature levels that are unsolvable from the very start.