Abduct Yourself A Farm In Sokobalien – Review

Sokobalien recently received a console port so I jumped at the chance to play this cute alien puzzle game from Cavylabs and MadCat Corp.

Just like many extra-terrestrial beings, your little alien avatar has a penchant for stealing livestock from farmlands for some unknown, definitely un-susworthy reasons. As such, it is down to you to push the various animals around the map and into the correct tractor beams so your buddies can spirit them away. It’s a cute spin on an otherwise tried and tested formula while also giving context to the various challenges awaiting you.

a blue alien in a space helmet pushes a cow under a spaceship to be abducted

Things begin simply with cows. Pushing them in any direction moves them until they reach the goal. Then you get buttons, which you can activate yourself or put cows on to make various blocks appear or disappear as required. A few levels in and sheep are added into the mix. These can jump over gaps and other animals. Then there are chickens, boxes, pigs and other mechanics for you to discover.

The controls are intuitive but there isn’t a lot to work with aside from the direction controls on the controller. The slight angle to the map means down isn’t directly down on the map, but it wasn’t difficult to wrap my head around. You can also undo a move or quick restart using face buttons which made tougher maps easier.

two cows await to be put on buttons and shipped away

Your alien and animals have cartoony 3D models with some cute noises and sound effects but they can get a little repetitive, especially in the levels requiring more moves. The music is looped and leans simply into the puzzle elements to encourage your focus. There’s also a menu to control the sound effects and music volumes, a thing I’ve recently come to appreciate in our recent excursions with indie games. The language can also be changed for the tutorial texts.

I wouldn’t say a tutorial was necessary for Sokobalien but they are appreciated. The tutorials are just text boxes in the corner of the screen, but they do the job and I wasn’t left wondering what to do. There are even popups for simpler mechanics like the buttons, so it doesn’t assume you’re used to playing this type of game either.

the alien pushes crates to reach the cow

The puzzles are less intensive since you have no move limit but some of the more difficult levels have very specific requirements and take several minutes to complete. I got so close to finishing some of the later levels but they required some degree of backtracking shenanigans to conquer that have me stumped for a good long while. 

In the end, there were a few I had to check a guide for just to progress and be able to actually play enough of the game to review it. The unfair difficulty spikes every 15-25 levels do hail back to games like Candy Crush and other mobile games so I’m not really mad, but it’s still a cheap way to increase play times. Equally, if all the levels were this difficult, I probably would’ve rage quit a lot more.

the sheep jumps over the gap

The inclusion of hats and the ability to change the mood of the background to suit your preferences was nice but mostly unnecessary. The coins won from levels are used to purchase these hats so I think they’re there to encourage players to keep playing, but I’m not sure how much replayability Sokobalien has once you’ve figured out the puzzles. I did head back to see how it played on the PS4 version as opposed to the PS5 and found I still hit some roadblocks.

While I did achieve platinum, I wouldn’t say it’s a free one unless you’re planning on following a guide, but it was pretty easy. My play time ran about two hours before hitting the plat and I still had half the levels to go.

the cow is ready to get abducted from the board
an open menu showing all the levels

With 100 levels to sink your teeth into, Sokobalien is a great puzzle game. At £3.99 on PlayStation 5 and less on Steam, it’s not bad value for money. Had I picked it up for cheaper for our new show Trash or Treasure as opposed to a review code, we would have hit Treasure for sure. 

7/10 star rating

PublishersAFIL GamesCavylabs

PlatformsPlayStation 5Nintendo SwitchXbox OnePlayStation 4Microsoft WindowsXbox Series X and Series S

DevelopersCavylabsMadCat Corp





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