REVIEW / Sokobalien (PS4) – That VideoGame Blog

As gamers, we all understand perfectly that there’s a time and a place for everything. We play different games for different reasons and these are often more practical than scratching whichever itch happens to be bothering us at the time. Sometimes we play a specific game because we don’t really have time for anything else. This is where today’s game is coming in. This is going to be an exercise in how sometimes simplicity is just what fits the bill. The game is Sokobalien, I’ve been playing the PS4 version, and for what it is, it isn’t bad.

Sokobalien couldn’t be simpler when it comes down to its concept. All you have to do is move your alien about and abduct various farm animals by pushing them onto specified squares. If anybody has played Sokoban you’ll know that this is much easier said than done and that a game that starts out as childsplay can turn into a royal headache. This is very much the case here. I waltzed through the first ten levels without even stopping to think. As things progressed after that point I started getting that slow, dawning realization that brain power was going to be needed. I’m just waiting to hit the first point where I get stuck, and that’s the point the fun starts.

All you have to do is push that cow into that goal. What could be simpler?

Sokobalien couldn’t be simpler when it comes down to gameplay. You are literally pushing blocks about a grid. The issue comes when you realize that if you push a block against a wall you’re screwed because you can’t pull them to get them back to where they need to be going. You also can’t push objects through other objects, (obviously,) so you really need to plan your route. If you’ve placed a block in its goal only to realize it’s in the way of another block, tough. Unless you’re very lucky you’re not going to be able to juggle them easily and you’ll find yourself going backward. This style of puzzle is the essence of thinking several moves ahead. In the best-case scenario, you’ll have solved the level without even moving your character; then it’s just following the steps. I can guarantee this will not often be the case, trial and error will be your friend.

Looks easy right? In this case, it is but if they were different species you’d have more thinking to do.

Graphically Sokobalien isn’t doing anything to turn any heads. It’s a basic-looking alien moving basic-looking animals around an even more basic-looking level. This doesn’t matter though on account of this game’s one and only real goal being to have you solve its puzzles. To make this sound more sensible, do you expect your crossword or Sudoku grid to be anything more than what it is? Of course, you don’t, but it doesn’t stop you getting enjoyment from filling it out. Sokoban is not a new concept so we aren’t really expecting anything other than a fun means of enjoying it. Sokobalien does this and I’ve got no problems with that.

This is a game that looks fine and controls perfectly well for what it is. If you like a good block puzzle, why not enjoy one starring a little green dude with a funky hat? That’s your pay-off by the way. You get to feel smug because you’ve done well in your abduction endeavors and along the way you also get to collect hats. In addition to this, Sokobalien is going to cost you the massive sum of £3.99. If you like puzzles and want to complete a lot of them for about the price of a puzzle book this seems like a perfectly good way to go.

All in all, Sokobalien is a fun, if simplistic puzzler that isn’t going to break your wallet. If you’re a fan of the puzzle genre that’s looking for something to kill some time this is a perfectly good way of doing it. My scores here are based on what this title is, not what it isn’t. It does what it does well for the price it’s aiming for. I’m not going to be scoring this game down because it doesn’t have flashy graphics, innovative mechanics, or an in-depth storyline. After all, I’m not expecting those things. At the price point, this could have easily felt like lazy shovelware that’s just doing the bare minimum to be a game and I definitely felt that it was worlds away from that. This is the definition of, “it is what it is,” and in this case, it’s absolutely fine. If you’re looking for a bunch of new puzzles to complete, Sokobalien is a very good call.

Perfectly priced puzzling

  • Look and feel 7/10
  • Challenge 7/10
  • Controls 8/10
  • Value for money 8/10


It is what it is

Sokobalien is a no-frills, no-fuss, puzzler involving a cute little hat-wearing alien. If you’re looking for the next big opus you’re not going to find it here. If, on the other hand, you want a bunch of fun puzzles to play through in a game that looks and performs perfectly reasonably for what it’s trying to do; this is a very good call. This is the essence of value for money and it’s great fun if you just want to solve a few puzzles. If you aren’t looking for miracles this is a perfectly valid addition to your library.

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