Don’t judge Sockventure by its dreadful opening; this platform game from Nighthouse Games and Versus Evil is quite possibly the best platform game I’ve played on Steam, and already one of my favourites in the genre full stop.
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Note that I’m clearly defining Steam. Granted, there aren’t many platform games I play on the platform and reserve that for the consoles. Still, there are some excellent titles out there – Get-A-Grip Chip immediately springs to mind.
However, Sockventure is the talking point, and I socking love it. Note the terrible use of socks throughout this review, but you can blame the developers for that with their corny use of language (which grows on you, but then again, so does leprosy).
Sockventure Review (PC via Steam)
The saga begins when mum tells you to clean up your room. You initially play the boy in the game, a pseudo-Cocomelon character that looks like it was created in the dark. I’m not usually this harsh, but first impressions were poor, and the game reminded me of a public domain game you’d get on an Amiga cover disk.
While picking up a handful of socks, scattered all over the house (based on actual events – any parent can relate to this), Cocomelon kid heads to the washing machine, but it’s grown teeth. Mum gives a few pointers here as if a mimic of Mufasa from The Lion King, minus the clouds, minus the wisdom.
Was it necessary for all this build-up? Yes. Up until the first few minutes of Sockventure, I was ready to bail. It just didn’t feel like the quality you’d expect with Versus Evil.
However, the graphics inside the machine were infinitely better – bold, vibrant colours, lots of variety with the level design and a character, while not remotely resembling a sock, felt the part. We’re getting to the same heights as Super Meat Boy – one of my all-time favourites.
Float Like A Butterfly
Unlike the latter skinless chap, the sock almost floats in this game. It takes some getting used to – perhaps two or three minutes, and then you’re done. There are no complicated moves to learn, just the jump, and that’s simply pressing the button or holding it to glide ever so slightly.
As your sock moves about, you’ll see some comic strip ‘tap tap tap’ or if you jump ‘Yeah!’. Initially, this was quite cute but had no real relevance, and you soon forget about it. Moving about is responsive, and that float element works in your favour for precision landing.
The moment you take your eyes off the prize, you’ve had it. Sockventure requires your undivided attention, or if you’re competent enough, go into a trance and let your gaming heritage take over. Everything just feels right about it.
You’ll be locating all the socks scattered throughout the washing machine – about 20 in all, and they all come equipped with some funky skin and ability. One of the first abilities was a wall jump that evolved into a wall hang, then a little further on and the legendary double jump.
Besides finding these stinky garments, you have three fundamental challenges, albeit optional, goals. Complete the stage within the set time, don’t die, collect all the coins. This is a big ask for a first playthrough and makes for a perfectly replayable game should you wish to get all the achievements.
I Want Socks For Christmas
Some of the level designs in Sockventure resemble a fiendishly created course from Super Mario Maker 2. If I were to take screenshots of some of the levels, you might cry as they look ridiculous. However, Sockventure, in some way, reinstates a bit of self-confidence in your platforming abilities as your Supersock bounces and glides with the finesse of a passing game conducted by FC Barcelona in their prime.
That said, this game is super hard in places – borderline brutal. Still, as mentioned, if you apply yourself (and in no way intending to sound so condescending), you can do it, but it may take lots of attempts to get there. One section I struggled with was grabbing onto the side of moving platforms.
The aim is to grip to the side so that you can pass under sharp, pointy things, but how long you can hold on for is temporary, so you have to jump onto the platform when the timing is right. The issue I had was either jumping ahead of the platform or just behind to cling on, then falling to my death. Because of the floaty aspect of jumping, platforms move faster than you, so timing is critical.
But that was one of the few things I disliked, mainly through doing the same thing again and again (dying). Respawns are swift, and checkpoints are… ok. There’s no buffer for health as it’s instadeath, so perfection is required, but each area is self-contained, and you don’t have to go to the very start each time.
- A Creamy Frothy Pint Of Landlord’s Super
In the early stages of Sockventure, I had jumped past a machine that you have to activate to unlock your skills. Attempting the wall jump without the ability resulted in the most deaths known to humanity. After what seemed like hours of dying, there was a pop-up to adjust the difficulty, so pay no attention to my earlier comment about settings. But it’s one of those ‘You’re having trouble, aren’t ya? Want us to switch it to baby mode?’ No dammit! I can do this!
Sockventure Review Summary
So yeah, wind this up: Sockventure is my favourite platform game on Steam. I can’t fault the controls other than the slightly unforgiving grip on the side of the platforms, but that’s being picky. There’s no hesitation in giving this two thumbs up. Ruddy marvellous.
- Handles as perfect as can be.
- Character and level design are spot-on.
- Fast respawning, swift momentum.
- Lots of new abilities.
- Currently the best platform game on Steam.
- The story sequences with the kid were naff.
- Borderline moments of frustration with timings.