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Video Game / Sokoban

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Sokoban is a game invented by a Japanese company, "Thinking Rabbit". Essentially, it's the ur-example of the Block Puzzle games.

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:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the official Sokoban Touch app, you can simply tap the target location and your character automatically moves to the place you tapped, with steps counted.
  • 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 gameplay consists entirely of self-contained box puzzle levels, where a warehouse worker had to move shipping crates into specific places to complete each level.
  • Excuse Plot: In the GB versions (titled Boxxle). The first game's plot is that the player character wants to impress a girl named Wanda, and wins her heart at the end of it. In the second game, someone kidnaps her and he decides to buy a rocket to reach the moon, and by the end it's revealed that the kidnaper wanted to test the player because Wanda is the princess of the world and wants the couple to rule together. …Yeah.
  • Timed Mission: Versions count the number of seconds, moves or pushes.
  • Unwinnable: 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.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Very rarely, some poorer clones/remakes feature levels that are unsolvable from the very start.