Posted by Marcel van Duyn
A budget title in more ways than one.
When Cinemax first announced their plans to bring the classic Sokoban puzzle to DSiWare, we were somewhat excited – especially with the price being set at a measly 200 points. But unfortunately, in this case, this has also resulted in the game itself not offering much content.
The game starts with pretty sloppy presentation. After a few logos and the "title screen," which all disappear within two seconds, you're plopped on the main menu and left to figure things out for yourself. From here you can select only a few things, but the only selection that really matters is the main game. There is no tutorial for Sokoban newbies; if you need help, you'll have to resort to the boring old text manual included with every DSiWare game.
However, it's not that hard to figure out how to play. In each level, you're placed in a maze made of square spaces. Littered around are an identical number of green crates and red targets. As you can imagine, the objective is to quite simply push the crates onto the targets. To push a crate you'll have to get behind it, so you've got to think things through before making a move because you could easily get a crate stuck against a wall or in a corner, or the route to your next move could be blocked with no possible way out that doesn't involve messing up even more.
Although this is easily done for the first few stages, believe it or not, it's impossible later on – somehow the developers have forgotten to allow you to see a clear overview of the stage beforehand, which means, in most cases, you'll have to shove crates around (and possibly make a mistake) before you can even see the whole level.
The game is also over before you know it, only offering a total of 30 puzzles. You'll likely breeze through the first 10 with minimal effort, after which the game throws some new obstacles your way in the form of blocks with different behaviors and tiles on the floor that also alter things, but despite these additions, only the last handful of puzzles should provide any real challenge.
When all's said and done the game really only offers one form of replay value – trying to improve your best times or use the fewest moves for each puzzle. But as expected, without any form of online leaderboards there's really nobody to brag to about your amazing records!
The game's audio is okay, with relaxing music playing on the title screen and during the puzzles, but it's slightly marred due to the sound effects. You will clearly hear every step your character takes and every crate he shoves, and as the music is rather soft, this will get annoying fast. The graphics are extremely cheap, making the game look like something you could play for free online. And considering an online Sokoban game would likely have more levels than this, that's probably the better option!
Although it's hard to argue with a 200 point DSiWare game, Sokomania just contains far too little content to be worth your while. Every puzzle can be finished by anybody relatively clever in about an hour, after which there's practically nothing else to do. Add to this the very cheap feel of the game and it's probably not something you'd want to spend points on.