Platformer games can be, and have been, many things. The genre seems to have limitless possibilities to be fun, engaging, imaginative, thought provoking and many other things. However, the genre is truly most known for being challenging. Sockventure is one such game, developed by Nighthouse Games, to take the player on a deadly fast-paced adventure where they pair up with the greatest hero of all times, Supersock, to search through a cursed washing machine for an innocent kid’s missing socks. And Supersock is not one to get cold feet, even with the unexpected insanity that awaits within the machine, taking the player on a heart-pounding search that erupts from an oddball premise with enough impact to really knock the socks off anyone who wasn’t prepared for it.
The Good - A perfect pair!
Sockventure is a challenging game in the best possible way. After giving the player a little time to get acclimated to the controls and a couple of new powers, the game truly takes off into an ever-rising climb of excellent yet punishing level design, demanding fast-paced reactions and bold movements, introducing more and more interaction points to enhance the action into a lightning-fast show. At no point do the controls feel floaty or unresponsive, or the challenge unfair or insurmountable - Sockventure pounds the player and puts them into the grinder, and yet every single death is clear in cause and deserved. The difficulty is high but transparent and honest, and every moment of frustration after death is quickly overtaken by the desire to try again because certainly this time, it can be done better. Improvement in Sockventure is, simply put, supremely satisfying.
Sockventure is also very generous with gameplay mechanics that feel great to use in tandem, not shying away from giving the player a lot of tools to play with. Double jumps, dashes, stomps, momentum jumps, dash jumps and dynamite dashing are all among the myriad of tools at the disposition of the player, and each one is used to its fullest potential throughout the many stages of the game. It’s one thing to get through a challenging stage in one piece, but Sockventure makes clearing a stage a flashy, fun, explosive affair that makes use of every mechanic under the sun in quick succession, leaving the player feeling like a cartoon action movie star. Even the introductory stages of the game have previously unreachable areas for the player to return to in order to utilise the full extent of their movement abilities once they’re unlocked. Cool guys don’t look at explosions and cool socks don’t get stuck in the dryer.
Of course, all the challenges in the world do not make a full game, but Sockventure also seeks to surprise the players visually: there are over 200 levels spread over seven chapters, and each is a visual treat. The colour palette of the game changes often, with each chapter having a main background colour that plays very well with the varied obstacles, items and hazards spread throughout. It’s a striking game in visuals and design, and each stage is interesting to look at and play through: the highly stylised cartoon style alongside the clearly mechanical and technological stages make for a combination that looks as good as a new pair of socks feels.
- Extremely challenging, yet extremely fair
- Controls are tight and responsive
- Large number of interesting mechanics
- Joyful, interesting visual design
The Bad - Wait, where’s the left sock?
It can be said that Sockventure goes a little too crazy too early with the challenge. There is a very noticeable difficulty spike near the beginning of the game, around one-third of the way through when the player is just barely acquainted with a couple of abilities, and the stages suddenly are filled with a lot of new obstacles and multiple new mechanics at once. Sockventure sets out to be challenging from the start, so it of course is not out of nowhere - it simply is unexpected to go from 20 to 2000 in one fell swoop.
Sockventure has exactly two characters that the player is truly introduced to and that they see interact throughout the game: the kid with missing socks and Supersock himself. And truth to be told, neither look particularly good, clearly drawn in a stylised-cartoon style which could have lent itself to some adorable designs - but truth to be told, the kid could use a glow up to look a little less snotty, and Supersock himself doesn’t clean up as well other pint-sized marketable protagonists from games such as Super Meat Boy or Castle of Pixel Skulls.
- Noticeable early difficulty spike
- Ugly main character designs
Final Score: 9/10
I was truly scraping the bottom of the barrel to find faults on Sockventure because the truth is that any fault in it is barely more than a nitpick. Sockventure isn’t just good: it’s an absolutely fantastic game - an excellent challenge-platformer which excels in basically everything it should. The negative points are minor grievances, very small blotches on what is a shining example of its genre. It focuses on all the things that make challenge platformers great and delivers on all of them, while giving enough window dressing and polish to other areas to the point where nothing important feels entirely neglected. It’s fun, engaging, challenging and rewarding from minute one. There is no better way to put it: Sockventure has, indeed, knocked my socks off.
Thank you for checking out our Sockventure Switch review, thank you to Versus Evil (via Plan of Attack PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: