Sokobond

Game review by
Mark Chen, Common Sense Media
Sokobond Game Poster Image
Clever game elegantly fuses puzzles with chemistry.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Sokobond may look like a chemistry game, but it wasn't created to teach science. Still, kids can learn how specific molecules, such as H2O, are configured, and they could be motivated to dig into actual chemistry. Kids also will learn logical and methodical habits of mind as they work through and solve puzzles. In Sokobond, kids only scratch the surface of chemistry, but they'll exercise thinking skills that translate to science classrooms and beyond.

Positive Messages

There is no narrative or message in the game.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are no characters.

Ease of Play

Like most good puzzle games, Sokobond starts off easy, focusing on the familiar water molecule, H2O. This gives players a chance to focus on learning controls rather than on molecular patterns, so they can figure out unfamiliar molecules (as in, new patterns) later on.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sokobond is a casual puzzle game wherein players push an atom around a grid map, connecting to other atoms and forming molecules. It's elegantly and beautifully designed, highly engaging, and challenging with light and interesting -- but not significant -- connections to actual chemistry. As it's an abstract puzzle game, there's no objectionable content, and accessibility relies mainly on whether kids are up to the game's challenge or not.

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What's it about?

SOKOBOND is essentially a new take on a puzzle genre most associated with a classic game called Sokoban. In these games -- sometimes referred to as "transport puzzles" -- players must slide blocks around on a grid to make a clear path to the level's exit. Sokobond's twist is that players manuever atoms instead of blocks, connecting them to form molecules based on real molecules. When a molecule gets formed, players get a surprisingly rewarding musical diddy, a nice animation, and a bit of chemistry trivia associated with the molecule that was just formed. It's a light, fun game, and the clean presentation style, simple color scheme, and mechanics are perfectly designed. The music is especially delightful, lending a gleeful sense of accomplishment and joy to the end of each level. Also, with each completed level, players move on to increasingly complex challenges.

Is it any good?

Sokobond is a pleasure to play, likely to have players grinning gleefuly and crinkling brows contemplatively in equal measure. There's an effortless perfection in its clean presentation style and clever mechanics, which breathe new life into a familiar genre through the lens of chemistry. That said, although the developers drew inspiration from the constraints that particular atoms provide, Sokobond doesn't attempt to accurately model chemistry. Players will, however, gain exposure to molecules and get little chemistry tidbits here and there. By nature of its tricky and addictive puzzles, Sokobond also gets players exercising logical reasoning and lateral thinking and loving every minute of it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can explore how closely Sokobond models how molecules actual work.

  • Families can discuss the Sokoban genre of puzzle games. Are there other games you've played that have similar mechanics? How do you see the real world modeling the block-pushing puzzle genre?

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For kids who love solving puzzles

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