Author: James Monkman
Publisher: Compiler
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in RGCD #4


I like to imagine that in the not so distant future, high-tech robots will replace the working classes. No longer will us mortals have to spend our lives performing menial tasks - instead we'll be free to lounge about drinking exotic cocktails, indulging in the arts and generally having a good time whilst our robotic slaves get down to the dirty work (until they finally become self-aware and rebel against us, but hey, we all know how that story ends).

So, after reading through the Spanglish instructions supplied with Compiler Soft's latest release, I knew that Sokoban and I would get off to a good start; this excellent update of the Japanese "Warehouse Keeper" game features loyal robots tasked with cleaning up after their messy human masters. Moving crates around construction workshops, inserting floppy disks into drives, maintaining futuristic power-plants, moping up biological waste, burying human remains and even cleaning up dog crap, in Sokoban, our metal friends do it all for us, their logic-circuits satisfied in the knowledge of a job well done.

And on the subject of jobs done well, that's exactly what we have here; Sokoban is a beautifully executed remake.

Essentially a faithful clone, the only major change that Compiler Soft have made to the already-successful formula (aside from the 99 new puzzles) is in the addition of seven new graphical skins that tie into the janitorial-robot backstory. These new tilesets are selectable from both the main menu and in-game from the outset - unlike Betiled, there's no need to unlock them. Progress through the game can be saved thanks to the handy password system, and the options menu allows you to configure everything from the controls to permitting an undo-move function; it's all really well thought-out and it's clear that a lot of love has gone into this release.

The controls are both smooth and responsive, and even the in-game audio is OK (although the music is admittedly a little on the short side - but then there's always the option to turn it off).

James Monkman

Other Spectrum 48K/128K Game Reviews By James Monkman

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