Sokodice Review: Thinking Outside the Isometric Box

Sokodice is a puzzle game developed and published by The Socially Awkward Studio. It was released on PC and iOS in 2020, and on Nintendo Switch and Android in 2021. PC and Switch versions cost $6, while the iOS version costs $3, and the Android version costs $1. I played the Nintendo Switch Version.

Disclaimer: I received a review code of this game for free.

In Sokodice you solve puzzles by rolling a die until its top number matches a tile. This sounds like a simple idea, but this one mechanic evolves into a robust and challenging set of brain-teasers that make for an ideal budget title to take with you on the go.

To me, Sokodice is a spiritual successor to the small-scale puzzle games that I enjoyed on the 3DS like Pushmo and Boxboy. The developers plant its unique gameplay concept and cultivate it into a fleshed-out and fruitful experience. You don’t simply move the dice around and hope you get the right number — you’ll need to plan ahead carefully, considering where each number will go as the dice moves. Opposite sides of the dice always add up to 7, so by using a little math you can quickly plot out a path through the carefully designed levels. Initially I struggled wrapping my brain around its concepts, but once I adjusted, I loved figuring out the solutions. There’s a special satisfaction to seeing your plan being carried out exactly how you intended, the numbers falling right where you wanted them to.

There are plenty of twists to keep you on your toes, especially when multiple gimmicks combine into one puzzle

Eventually the game will add different kinds of terrain and dice to make you to reconsider and reapply its core concepts. You may find ice tiles that make the dice slide without turning, or dice that rotate every time you move it, and so on. Soon the elements begin combining together. These later levels may stump you at first, but if you experiment and come back to the puzzle later, you’ll likely see the answer sitting under your nose the entire time. The developers thankfully left most of the levels open for multiple solutions, and you can quickly undo a move to try out a different option.

It’s fun to feel like you’re “breaking the game” by finishing the puzzles in a small turn limit.

The game provides a suggested turn limit that’s by no means required to move forward, but I often found myself replaying levels just to beat these turn limits anyway. It’s fun to feel like you’re beating the designers at their own game by solving an 8-turn puzzle in just 2 turns. Unfortunately other levels were so difficult that it took me over 92 turns to complete them, and I have no clue how to reach its suggested turn limit of 24.

I’m still stuck on this puzzle, and I can feel it taunting me…

This brings me to my biggest criticism of Sokodice. During the harder levels of Pushmo and Boxboy, I wished the game offered some sort of hint system to help me move forward, but sadly I was left to myself to flounder through. The same problem happened when I played Sokodice. I don’t want the game to solve the puzzles for me (that would ruin the point of the game), but sometimes I’d appreciate just a nudge in the right direction. For example, in the levels where you have 2 or more dice, maybe the game could hint which die is meant to end up on which tile. I’d still have to find the path for myself, but that initial hurdle could be overcome, encouraging me to keep trying. Maybe I could earn hints by completing levels within the turn limit. I ended up abandoning some of the bonus levels entirely because I have no clue what to do with them, even after coming back to them multiple times.

These beach levels were probably the most interesting-looking levels — the rest is a bit too minimalistic

Another smaller criticism I have is that Sokodice doesn’t stand out from a visuals standpoint. The game’s isometric low-poly aesthetic is pleasant, but that’s about it. It reminds me of Monument Valley, and while I like it, many mobile games adopt this look. The soundtrack is equally minimalistic, but it does put me in a contemplative mood, ideal for solving dice puzzles. I found the rolling piano melody of World 3 particularly relaxing. A story would’ve also separated this game from the rest of the pack, but honestly I have no clue how you could write a plot about pushing dice, so I guess I can’t fault them on that. These developers knew what their strengths were and they scaled the rest of the game back accordingly.

Overall I think Sokodice is a creative and well-designed puzzle experience. It’s easy to pick up for brief gameplay sessions (ideal for a portable console), and its concepts elegantly expand throughout its runtime. If you liked Nintendo’s puzzle games on the 3DS eShop, then you don’t need to roll the dice to know that you’ll have a good time here as well.

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