Monday, January 11, 2016

Sokobond

I like puzzles of many different kinds, but I have to say there's something a bit more satisfying when the end result is something more than an abstract pattern. Sokobond uses chemistry to add flavor to its puzzles. Each puzzle uses atoms as pieces to create the end result of a molecule.
A beginning position...
The idea behind each Sokobond puzzle is to maneuver one atom around the puzzle grid, picking up other atoms along the way. Each atom has one to four bonds available: one for hydrogen, two for oxygen, three for nitrogen, and four for carbon - just like you may remember from chemistry class. Moving your atom next to another atom will bond the two, assuming both have open bonds.

Solving the puzzle means using all the atoms to form a molecule. It's rarely simple, but the puzzles are mostly small enough that there are a limited number of possible moves. Some trial and error is generally enough to overcome a position that has you stumped. Also, each puzzle has a name that provides a minor hint.
...and completed molecule.
A finished puzzle will display the name of the molecule that you just created, and a factoid about it. Those range from how it was discovered to how it's used to associated historical figures. Educational as well as fun!

The game starts you out with a limited set of simple puzzles, then opens up more complex problems as you proceed. Solving one puzzle opens up access to others, and at certain intervals new mechanics are added, such as the ability to split bonds or create double bonds.
The overview screen. Solving a puzzle reveals any adjacent unsolved puzzles.
The mechanics in Sokobond are pretty simple, and none of the individual puzzles are overly complex. I had fun working my way through them - and I'm not done yet, only about halfway through. The chemistry factoids are a nice little reward at the end of each puzzle, and I may have even learned a thing or two!

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