Puzzle games can embody the most unique and innovative formats, but they can also replicate the same concepts and ideas, simply generating new levels within repeated designs. For each Braid, The Witness, or Superliminal, there are tons of Nonogram, Match-3, or Sudoku games. After all, these are formats that always work, no matter how many new iterations they get. The same can be applied to the old Sokoban format – the little puzzles of moving boxes through a maze. That’s exactly what Reason – Casual Puzzle is.
Of course, even with these more simplistic puzzlers, there are developers that try to bring innovative ideas to the table. Baba Is You, for instance, recently had one of the most unique takes on the Sokoban genre, adding different objectives and meaning to the box-moving puzzle’s design. Reason – Casual Puzzle chooses a much more humble and basic approach.
If you know what Sokoban is, then you already know exactly what to expect from Reason. The game offers 50 different levels of that familiar Sokoban experience. The idea, here, is to move the boxes to the highlighted spots. However, there’s a simple, but game-defining rule: you can only push the boxes forwards, and they can’t go through walls or other boxes. Due to these limitations, you’ll need to carefully plan your path through each level. Any mistake, and you’ll have to start from scratch.
Reason combines its standard Sokoban experience with a simple-yet-pleasant art style. Each level is presented within an isometric perspective, where you can view the entire grey-ish board, boxes, and character. In the background, you’re treated to some space-themed landscapes, which are somewhat related to the game’s narrative, but they also do a good job in creating a relaxing vibe. This is reinforced by the game’s soundtrack, which is tranquil and calm. Overall, Reason does a great job in creating an easy and positive experience – even when you’re playing through the hardest levels.
If there’s just one element of Reason that doesn’t follow the same pattern of quality; it’s the narrative. The game has no kind of complex or interesting narrative other than justifying its gameplay with a kind of character-in-a-comatose premise. The weird thing about this is that the game presents its narrative vignettes with some 2D drawings that don’t match the rest of the game’s artwork in any discernible way. This creates a dissonance with the rest of the game. Thankfully, though, there are only a few of these narrative bits shoe-horned in.
The one way that Reason differentiates itself from the main Sokoban formula lies in its level design; in particular its walls. In other Sokoban games, a level’s maze is surrounded by impassable walls. Due to its space premise, Reason features gaps instead. So, if you push a box into what should be the maze wall, you’ll throw the box into the vastness of space, resulting into a level restart. This can lead to some extremely frustrating moments, unfortunately, and you’ll need to be extra careful to avoid those unnecessary restarts as you progress through the game.
All things considered, Reason – Casual Puzzle does what the title suggests, and offers a breezy pick-up-and-play puzzle game that can be enjoyed quickly, and by everyone. With 50 different levels and a very low-cost entry point, it could be a fair enough way to spend those gold coins you have.
Reason – Casual Puzzle £0.89
Reason – Casual Puzzle doesn’t do anything exciting or new. Instead, it offers a familiar Sokoban experience; a simple, but perfectly enjoyable pastime for puzzle fans on a budget.