H2O: Chemical Puzzler Sokobond Now On Steam

Bond those chemicals!

Now, let’s be clear. When I say “Hey, Sokobond has been out since September but now it’s on Steam,” I don’t mean to imply that you should refuse to buy games not on Steam, and I don’t want to encourage people who do. But a game being on Steam always draws more attention, and launching on Steam can reintroduce it to a larger audience. A Sokoban-y puzzler shifting and bonding atoms to form chemical compounds is a quiet and unassuming sort of game, after all. But a good one.

Hey, Sokobond has been out since September but now it’s on Steam.

Sokobond’s by Alan Hazelden, co-developer of the us-pleasing puzzler A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, and Harry Lee, top chap at Stickets and Impasse dev Wanderlands. They are good at making puzzle games. It also has noises from Starseed Pilgrim soundman Ryan Roth.

I lack the strategic planning and patience to be any good at these sorts of games, but I’ve heard from countless chums that it’s really good. “It’s really good!” my flatmate enthused when he spotted I was writing this post. Also, fun fact: Sokobond began life under the working title ‘ChemSpace’.

A Steam launch sale brings it down to £5.59, but it’s only $8.00 (£4.68) from the developers and they offer both a Steam key and a DRM-free version. Look, a trailer:


  1. DerAva says:

    I really had my ion this article, thinking it would be riddled with chemistry puns. You’d expect to get to the comment section and all the good puns Argon. But I’m positive not even the most basic pun was included here, so I’m not sure how to react.

    • Asurmen says:

      It’s pretty ionic that there isn’t any. You’d think that with such a strong bond between chemistry and humour there’d be a vigorous explosive reaction from commenters. I guess it’s the acid test that the base humour levels around here are just not energetic enough to activate laughter.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Chemistry Puns? Sod(i) um.

        • harmen says:

          I’m pretty excited by them.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Without a great cat-alyst (like a kitten) there is no reaction. People are more interested by next-gen games than nitro-gen games.

      • SuddenSight says:

        It was a valent attempt, but some games are too miscible to be noticed.

      • Kollega says:

        Indeed, but if the most chemical thing the posters can come up with is “this is helium of a good game”, we might not see a truly galvanized response.

    • KwisatzHaderach says:

      Just stick with your inertial reaction.

    • daver4470 says:

      /anodeing in agreement

  2. CookPassBabtridge says:


  3. golem09 says:

    Oh, so now it finally EXISTS. Might buy it then.

    Kidding. I was too fascinated with playing Spacechem on my 10″ tablet, so I’m holding out for the tablet version on this one as well.

  4. Janichsan says:

    Isn’t that basically an updated Atomix and/or whatever the open source clone is called?

    • Alan Hazelden says:

      I’m one of the developers so I’ll hold off on saying “no, Sokobond is a million times better”, but they’re very different and I don’t think anyone who’s played both would say it’s a good comparison.

    • SuddenSight says:

      I have no affiliation with the Dev and I have played both games.

      While they share a theme (it is exactly the same theme), the actual gameplay is completely different. Here is a short summary:

      Atomix and KAtomic (linked below) have sliding atoms (they keep going until they collide with something) and the atoms do not stick together. To win a level you must arrange the atoms in the precise configuration and orientation requested. At any point you can control any atom.

      In Sokobond you only ever get to control one atom, but the atoms stick together after bonding so you can “drag” the others around with you. Orientation is irrelevant in Sokobon (only connectivity matters). Sokobond also introduces a number of stage-specific elements that only make sense when dragging around multiple elements (“rotate” corners, “break bond” and “add bond” nodes) as well as blocks that do not take part in the final composition (the noble gases).

      In summary: the games have precisely the same theme, but the actual gameplay is as different as you can get (for both being Sokobond derivatives).

      Edit: forgot to include my actual opinion. Both games are excellent. One is free, one is cheap, play them all.

      • Janichsan says:

        Ah, okay, thanks for the summary. Sounds indeed different enough.

    • CrowPath says:

      Mistakenly thought you meant Atomino, loved that game.

  5. honkskillet says:

    That being said, buy it using the humble widget on their website, sokobond.com

  6. b0rsuk says:

    Linux (KDE) has a free game just like this since forever. It’s available in the same manner Minesweeper and Solitaire are in Windows. Check out “KAtomic”. The package is typically “kde-games”.

    From the homepage:
    KAtomic – Sokoban-like Logic Game
    KAtomic is a fun educational game built around molecular geometry. It employs simplistic two-dimensional looks at different chemical elements.
    #kdegames on Freenode

    The new port has SVG graphics.

    • bateleur says:

      See SuddenSight’s comment above. Aside from theme, they’re completely different games.

  7. treat says:

    As a Chem minor, I’ve been holding out for a chemistry themed puzzle game that takes into account the bond angles and 3 dimensional shape of real compounds. This is because–as a chem minor–i will never understand chemistry well enough to get any real use out of it.

  8. rotkiw says:

    the formula for water is HOH, h2o is slang

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      We are very ‘down with the kids’ here at RPS.

      • LTK says:

        If you want to be cool, a subscript 2 would do the job. If you want to be super-cool, make it HOH with subscript (or superscript!) H’s.

    • SuddenSight says:

      Depends on whether you mean the Empirical Formula, which is H2O, the Molecular Formula, which is also H2O, or the Chemical Formula, which is either H2O or HOH (both are acceptable).

      The empirical formula refers to the ratio of chemicals, so acetic acid (C2H4O2) and formaldehyde (CH2O) both have the same empirical formula of CH2O.

      The molecular formula refers to the number of each atom in a single molecule. Acetic acid has the molecular formula C2H4O2 and formaldehyde has CH2O.

      The chemical formula is “whatever’s useful” depending on the compound. For crystals, the chemical formula tends to refer to the Unit Cell. For polymers it refers to the repeat unit. For chemicals like water H2O and HOH are both sufficiently descriptive (there is only one compound with molecular formula H2O) and take the same amount of space to write, so both are fine.