The Sokoban Puzzle Design


I'm a game developer, and I'm working on a game called "Dry & Grey". It's a 2D metroidvania with a top-down view for your phone.

In this devlog I want to discuss the puzzle design of my game. 

I decided to pick a new genre and implement it into my game, but there was one problem (in the end, you will see what it is). There is an item in my game that gives you the ability to push away the rocks. I was too lazy to create something new, so I managed to pick a genre that fits these game mechanics. Of course, I pick the sokoban genre.

This also helps to freshen the game in general, because players always want something new. What do we have? In the first location, the player can just push away rocks to set free the way. At the second location, players need to solve a puzzle to proceed. The same item feels different in other locations.

Now we need to create a good puzzle. (It's not easy at all.)

OK, to create a good puzzle, we need to find a structure.

Thanks to more smart people, we already have one.

The image from Game Maker's Toolkit's chanel (How Jonathan Blow Designs a Puzzle)

  • Mechanics: to push the block away.
  • Rules: block can only move on a grey carpet (which the player can walk on), walls stop both the player and the block, buttons open the door (when the block is on it), and if the block is on the button, the player can no longer push it.
  • Consequences: a block can get stuck in the coner (player loses), the door opens (player wins).
  • Puzzles: ...infinity variants

All done, right? No, puzzles are only in our heads. We need to program all of it, but the game design is done and earlier I mentioned "there was one problem". 

When a block is stuck in a corner, the player should be able to restart the puzzle. A new item was needed to restart the puzzle. A specific switch is not suitable for restarting because blocks can block (lol) access to the switch.

An update with these puzzles is coming soon!

That's all I wanted to tell you.

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