Wot I Think: Stephen’s Sausage Roll

Right now I am probing cautiously at a tower of sausages occupying the centre of a little grassy patch of land. I have been doing variations of this all morning because I am stuck on the second island of Stephen’s Sausage Roll [official site].

You’ve probably heard sausage chat on the sausage vine over the last week as Stephen Lavelle’s meaty tile-based puzzler has garnered praise from the likes of Jonathan Blow (him off The Witness and Braid) and Bennett Foddy (QWOP, GIRP). It’s worthy praise from what I’ve experienced so far but given that’s only two islands of puzzling and I can see whole other sections tantalisingly close on the edge of my overworld map I’m going to talk about the puzzling process so far.

There won’t be spoilers, precisely, because I’m not going to talk about the solutions to the puzzles, but I am going to talk about a few of the game’s mechanics. The joy of the game, for me, also encompassed figuring those out, so if you know you like difficult, Sokoban-style puzzle games or are up for a challenge I’d say you want to stop reading this now and I suspect you will enjoy yourself.

To give a bit of extra guidance before the sausagey real talk: John does like puzzles but not Sokoban-style puzzles and thus has refused to play, while Adam isn’t averse to puzzles but points out that he doesn’t think in the right way for this kind of thing and thus would only play if someone who does enjoy them was sat next to him, making it a collaborative thing. I am the sort of person who will happily chip away at this sort of thing over a series of evenings, disappearing into a kind of mental puzzle cave, supping on tea and munching Cadbury’s fingers as I shuffle here and there, testing and resetting.

You play as Stephen… or, I think you play as Stephen – I’ve seen fan art (yes, there’s fan art) which has the character as a lady and one fellow journo assumed the character to be female. It doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is that they wield a five-pronged fork and can toddle about the tiled landscape. On the overworld map you find ghostly figures also holding forks which mark the entry point for each level. To activate the level you orient yourself as indicated by the ghost and the rest of the scenery drops into the sea, leaving you with the relevant parts of the overworld and gigantic sausages which must be grilled to perfection on grill tiles placed around the level.

Each sausage is two tiles long and one tile wide. A grill pad will cook the underside of one tile’s worth of sausage. That means each sausage needs to touch a grill pad in four places to cook the top two tiles and the bottom two tiles to perfection. Touching part of the sausage on the grill more than once burns and thus ruins the sausage. You can also ruin the sausages by rolling them off the island and into the sea.

Here is one level:

Here is another:

Aaaand my current fiasco:

You start to see why this isn’t a straightforward proposition, despite the simplicity of the idea.

At first, I booted up the game and felt like I’d instantly hit a brick wall. I’d been expecting the game to be hard because of the general tone of the conversations surrounding it and the types of people who were raving about it so I wasn’t sure if my brick wall was because it was a challenge impossible for most people or whether it was about not thinking in the right way.

I think it’s a bit of both.

There’s no tutorial, just an explanation that you use the arrow keys to move, the R key to reset and Z to undo the last move. I wandered that first island until I found a puzzle that clicked with me and I worked my way through that, pushing and pushing and undoing errant pushes. You learn that you can nudge the sausages up, down, left and right. But the control system also lets you pivot around the tile you’re standing on, catching the sausage with your fork as you do so. That realisation opens up a new set of moves and you start to make progress. You learn the set of movements needed to get a single sausage across a specific pattern of grill pads and toast it perfectly and that arms you with another piece of knowledge which you can deploy in a new puzzle, breaking something that was previously daunting into smaller move sets.

I took a break after laboriously grilling four sausages and watched an episode of The X Files. The next day I went back and solved the rest of the first island and most of the second in one long, satisfying sweep. I think my brain had re-oriented itself in the night and had a bit of time to process the basic ideas properly so they could start fitting together.

The second island introduced a few new ideas. Nothing changes about your character, but you have new environmental tools and obstacles, particularly in the way of verticality. You start to experiment with pressing objects against other objects, with climbing ladders, with what happens if you walk atop a sausage… The possibility space for the puzzles widens, but because you’re experimenting and pottering and poking and thinking all the while you’re also acclimatising. The spaces don’t feel overwhelming anymore.

The big thing that I find with these types of puzzle game is that a strategy you learned and which served you well in an earlier phase of the game might soon become a bad habit. I mentioned above that you learn a set of moves in order to navigate a particular pattern of grill pads? The danger is that you start to think that is the only way to approach that pattern of grill pads and so you look at those pads and can’t see any other way around them. That’s when I tend to feel puzzles are “impossible”. It’s when I know I’ve hemmed myself into a way of thinking that has locked off the solution but I’m not sure where the error is in order to unpick it.

I think that’s why I am not bothered by the lack of a tutorial. It feels weird to have a game like this and no tutorial, but once you realise that the whole thing is about not being hemmed in to particular strategies then you start to see the entire experience as an ongoing tutorial, just one which requires a lot of player input. The only thing the game really can tell you is the controls, because if you added guidance in how to use them it immediately loses the exploration/experimentation side which is *the* crucial tool in all of this.

But it isn’t a game for everyone. It will infuriate and frustrate you if you don’t think in the necessary ways and you’ll just end up rolling sausages around like a kid bored at the dinner table being denied the joy of dessert. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the game and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the players who do bounce off. What it means is that these puzzles are a niche interest and I find them (relatively) approachable. I enjoy the challenge of them and the sudden release of tension when the right pattern slides into view. For me there’s a rhythm of frustration and reward, frustration and reward.

That picture above with the tower of sausages? It’s my current nemesis and whenever I boot it up afresh I feel daunted, but I started tinkering with it and worked out how to cook a single sausage. From there I could cook four sausages. Then I worked out how to cook a sausage on the higher level of grill pads. Now I’m alternating between fiddling and contemplating. I’ll still have that knee-jerk dauntedness if I leave the level and open it again but I know I’ve made progress and that the manageable chunks will eventually come together into a solution.

If you’re not the kind of player who enjoys that kind of intense puzzling you might only experience the frustration or the dauntedness, particularly as there’s no narrative to carry you through those brick-wall moments or to balance them as with Braid, it’s just light touches of humour so far.

Weirdly for a game about sausages the size of hay bales, I’d say this is all meat and no fat or filler. It’s a blessing for people like me who will tussle with it over a series of lovely evenings or keep it running in the background to fiddle with throughout the day. For others it will be a royal pain in the arse, an utterly inaccessible gem taunting them with its low poly style and seemingly-simple gameplay.

But so far it is a gem and I can’t wait to see what the next islands bring me. Just as soon as I’ve waddled and swiped and jabbed my way through this tower of pork.

Stephen’s Sausage Roll is available now.

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  1. BluePencil says:

    Hmmm. They look… a lot like… turds.

    • Razumen says:

      Yeah, not appetizing at all, just like the artstyle; looks like PS1 era graphics where developers didn’t really know what they were doing with 3D graphics, or even how to do it.

      • moghaus says:

        I, for one, find it absolutely gorgeous.

        • GameCat says:

          And for me PSX era 3D graphics are just charming. Some games like Spyro are still beautiful to look at when you run them on emulator with higher resolution than PSX’s 320x240px.

  2. Dr. Alaskian says:

    I’m almost done with the third island, and the game is still throwing new realisations at me. So beautiful.

    P.S. Also, your sausage hat is a spoiler!

  3. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Huh. When I saw Blow raving about this on Twitter I thought it was a parody of his games and he was being a good sport about it.

  4. KDR_11k says:

    This game really is an experiment in how unappealing you can make a good game look in the Steam store…

  5. Hobbes says:

    £20.99, sorry, no.

    It’s not the witness, it doesn’t have a consistent art style that makes me think that I need to go out and spend this kind of money. Regardless of how nice it might play the fact this game is getting critical appraise when other games recently released such as Stories : The Path of Destiny are getting overlooked is absolutely criminal.

    Whoever decided this game needed critical praise needs to be strung from the rafters, because I swear this is a late April Fools’ joke and it’s not funny.

    • LTK says:

      Those are some pretty harsh words for someone who hasn’t played the game and has no first-hand experience of how good it is. I haven’t played it either, but knowing Increpare’s games, I’m pretty confident that the praise it’s been receiving is genuine.

      Plus, even if you could substantiate your opinion that this game is unworthy, what do other games have to do with it? The fact that a quality action-RPG isn’t getting enough attention doesn’t mean that a quality puzzle game is undeserving of it.

      • Hobbes says:

        Because reviewer time like anyones’ time is limited and thus far it seems like everyone has this hysterical fascination with a game that is fundamentally a more complex Sokoban with -really- horrific graphics which has been priced at a position which puts it somewhere close to things like Endless Legend, when Endless Legend was just released. With a wealth of games that have fundamentally more interesting and creative ideas that actually try to push narrative in different directions or actually play to their strengths well (such as Halcyon 6) I’m just agog that this appears to be sucking out all the press oxygen.

        I’m going to repeat myself. No. Just no.

        Whatever collective insanity has gripped the gaming media over this (and because they get review copies obviously they don’t have to consider the concept of price as a factor when examining purchase decisions) needs to be dunked in a bucket of goddamn water. This is not the Witness, this is not Endless Legend, this is not the next saviour of gaming, it’s sokoban with sausages, at £20.99 (£22.99 if you buy from Steam).

        I don’t NEED to play this to be able to make an assessment of the game based on the insanity that’s gripping the MSM (it’s doing a gone home over this game for whatever reason) and it’s got a similarly insane price point like Gone Home. I can make perfectly sensible assessments based on the market and what’s available at the various points of entry.

        In conclusion. No, just no. Mmkay?

        • surreal_pistachio says:

          I actually think that this game is probably better than The Witness, because it’s more focused and doesn’t have too much annoying puzzles. And it didn’t seem to have that much coverage to me, there’s like only 4 reviews at this time compared to 82 for The Witness. And having a hard time finding good new puzzle games (the last ones being The Witness and Snakebird in my case), I find the price alright despite the somewhat immature concept (rolling sausages…) and crude graphics. Even if it doesn’t push the medium forward, the excellent puzzle design can be applauded because it’s pretty rare to find in my opinion. I didn’t play Stories : The Path of Destiny but it doesn’t sound much appealing to me nor does it seem to be especially original from the trailer. To each his own I suppose.

        • Beefenstein says:

          Hobbes asserted: “This is not the Witness, this is not Endless Legend, this is not the next saviour of gaming, it’s sokoban with sausages, at £20.99 (£22.99 if you buy from Steam).”

          Objective definitions of value! How exciting. Please tell me, is it more worthy to cleanse my soul by giving alms to the poor, or would it be more effective to pay this money to the Church in return for a mass being said for my grandparents?

        • KDR_11k says:

          This isn’t much like Sokoban beyond the basic concept of “things move if you push them”. It is vastly more complex with the interactions between the various elements, the two-block nature of your character, the way sausages must touch a grill with each segment exactly once, etc.

          Your assertion that other games are more deserving of coverage is based on graphics. Sausage Roll isn’t much of a looker but it’s a game and its gameplay is what drives people bonkers over it. Graphics have a disproportionate effect on our perception of a game’s value so I applaud the media who covered this game despite its graphics.

        • Llewyn says:

          Reviewer time being limited isn’t a problem as it’s clearly utterly unnecessary when we have you to tell us what is and isn’t worth playing, without you even needing to play them!

          Or we could just ignore your moronic whining, I guess.

        • tortortor says:

          I can tell that you find this game extremely provocative, but I don’t really get why. It seems that you have decided that a game that looks like this cannot possibly be a great game, and that there’s some kind conspiracy to hype it up.

          The fact is, SSR is a game that offers some things most games never come close to. Playing it, you can tell how much time went into creating it. Looking at screenshots or even gameplay videos, you probably can’t. Like The Witness, the magic happens when you play it; looking at someone else play isn’t remotely the same.

          If you think it’s expensive, I can recommend Snakebird; it’s a similar type of grid/step based mechanic, and has equally brilliant and frustrating puzzles that thoroughly explore the mechanics without any repetition. It’s also both prettier and cheaper, and “the MSM” has barely noticed it, which seems to be a good thing in your book…

          • Hobbes says:

            @Tortor/KDR11K – My issue is less with the game, and more with the fact that the game is pitched in such a way that it sells itself as some kind of arthouse project that mystically justifies the pricetag attatched to it. My contention is that this game does not warrant that kind of pricetag, nor does it warrant the kind of foaming praise that it’s getting which is effectively creating another “Gone Home” scenario.

            People will buy it, wonder what the fuss is about or bounce off of it, but this time around they’ll issue Steam refunds. Gone Home could get away with this kind of insanity because back then you couldn’t refund your purchases. Now you can. For those who -want- this kind of game, more power to them, you want to spend twenty quid on it, go nuts, your money, your choice, if it’s fun for you, then go with my blessing, that’s what games are about.

            However, and this is the big concern I have, the price of entry is steep enough that people going in need to be entirely certain that this is something they -want- to get involved with right from the outset. The way the media seem to be entirely falling over themselves with the whole “indie darling” mentality -again- like with gone home doesn’t really do any favours, because they’re neatly ignoring TELLING people “Oh, by the way, it’s got an entry fee, and you might not like it”.

            @Llewyn/Beefenstein – Go and sit in the corner, ad hominem has no place here.

          • Llewyn says:

            Whoever decided this game needed critical praise needs to be strung from the rafters

            Ad hominem is all you deserve following that, compounded by your insistence that you can judge the worth of a game you’ve only seen screenshots of better than those who’ve played it. You’re a conceited idiot.

          • ChrisGWaine says:

            Unless you’re seeing many people who feel burned that they wasted money on it, or Lavelle starts beseeching for people like you to protect him from Steam refunds by bravely speaking out against the praise from people who’ve actually played it, maybe you can lay your big concern to rest?

          • tortortor says:

            I don’t know why the pricetag needs to be justified in any particular way, and I don’t know what you mean when you say the game does not warrant this pricetag. It’s up to the developer to set whatever price he or she thinks is right, and justify it to whatever extent he or she thinks makes sense from a business perspective. If you don’t agree with the seller on the price, then just don’t buy it. There’s no reason to be upset about that.

            I personally find that most games are too cheap. The value I get out of playing a good game for several hours is worth a lot more than a few of dollars, and I see that many gamedevs are struggling to make ends meet. $30 is not a lot of money.

          • KDR_11k says:

            I don’t see what this has to do with Gone Home. GH is a walking simulator with its emotional story as a main selling point, SSR is a puzzle game that’s praised for being an exceptionally good puzzle game. Completely different types of games, one a short, low difficulty story, the other a loooong (seen mentions of 30+ hours to finish it along with statements that it doesn’t get old or add filler) and tough as nails workout for your brain.

            I mean, you mention The Witness as a game worth its money but what is the difference really? TW is prettier but that’s it. It too is a puzzle game built around a fairly simple core mechanic and layering new concepts around that.

          • Fnord73 says:

            Hobbes: I get your point :-) But still, if its a good puzzle-game, isnt that woth five pints? Is my rebuff.

    • Beefenstein says:

      “Regardless of how nice it might play the fact this game is getting critical appraise when other games recently released such as Stories: The Path of Destiny are getting overlooked is absolutely criminal.”

      I don’t understand why I’m being arrested and sent to prison when there’s probably a man in New Zealand, I would suspect, who has committed much worse crimes. Dozens if not hundreds of people have been killed by him! It is the elephant in the room which passes unnoticed, it is the thief in the night which steals your children, it is the sausage in the field which rolls on unimpeded. The so-called justice system makes me sick and I condemn you all along with it; you two-faced sons and daughters of the whores of the dogs of the streets of Babylon.

      • Beefenstein says:

        P.S. Stories: The Path of Destinies does indeed look good.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I look at the number of people having a lot of fun with this game, genuinely happy they bought it, and I think “Yeah, that’s worth their money”. It’s obviously fun. So it’s a good game. Everything else is frankly immaterial. Your post sounds a lot like you’re kicking over somebody else’s sandcastle and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Just leave it and move on.

    • Paladin says:

      Depends on what you care about. There are these people who like good puzzle games and for whom gameplay mostly trumps other characteristics of a title. You’re arbitrarily trying to deny their gamer license or something because you want “your” games to get more spotlight.

      Besides, whether the whole package is worth the price is ultimately down to the consumer, regardless of good reviews.

      • Hobbes says:

        I used one game as an example, do not think I have a specific set of games I wish to push as an agenda. I’m all for good games being given space, however, I’m also against the lunacy that the mainstream media promotes when they have some kind of orgasmic fit and declare a game “THE BEST THING EVAR” (seriously, if the metacritic is anything to go by, this is probably going to be GOTY 2016 at this rate) without making allowances for the real world.

        They promoted Gone Home as “THE BEST THING EVAR” too, and in reality it wasn’t. That sucks out the press oxygen from a lot of other games, not just ones I feel should be advocated for, but good games in general, it’s a bad habit of the press and hence why whoever decided this game needed universal praise without mentioning that it does have a pretty high price of entry needs stringing from the rafters.

        If you’re enjoying it, don’t let me stop you. However I find that anyone who claims that there’s a good value proposition here is probably the same kind of person who claims Gone Home is a good value proposition, and in doing so they’re doing a disservice to a lot of other games by suggesting that all you need to get away with charging this kind of money is a catchy title, some PS1 era graphics and some advancements on Sokoban.

        That’s where I go “No, just no”, that’s analogous to selling a ham sandwich and charging the price of a hog roast carvery because it was made “WIF LUV”. You charge me for a hog roast carvery, I expect a hog roast carvery, that’s a reasonable ask as a consumer.

        • MrUnimport says:

          You seem quite convinced that this is a Gone Home (i.e. a game where peer pressure precludes objective judgment of quality) based on a select few criteria:

          1) Reviewers like it, as they liked Gone Home
          2) The graphics are unpolished, as Gone Home’s graphics were unpolished
          3) It’s charging more than you would personally pay for a puzzle game, as Gone Home was similarly more expensive than usual

          Based on these three incidental similarities you’ve decided that the game is shit and that everybody who likes it has lost their mind. Given that one of the main reasons you seem to think so is that people, you know, like it, I have to wonder why you bother reading those people’s opinions at all.

        • Paladin says:

          Your analogy implies that SSR is not a good enough game to be priced accordingly. That evaluation seems based on, from what I’ve read, the fact that it’s an indie game in a niche genre with low graphical production value. Which doesn’t fondamentally, to me at least, constitue any obstacle to any theoretical price tag. Maybe you could consider the idea that the game is actually extremely good at what it does, but that you don’t care for its genre.

        • Beefenstein says:

          “If you’re enjoying it, don’t let me stop you. However I find that anyone who claims that there’s a good value proposition here is probably the same kind of person who claims Gone Home is a good value proposition.”

          I found that anyone who says this is probably the same kind of person who eats live monkey brains and should be barred from zoos.

        • Hobbes says:

          @MrUnimport/Paladin – I’d say only number 1 “strictly” applies. As I said elsewhere, my issue with this is that reviewer time is a zero sum game. If you take reviewer time across multiple publications you suck the oxygen out of the room and make it unavailable, considering we’re in an era where releases happen at such a rapid pace, it’s almost pot luck if your game will even get picked up on. If it doesn’t, it can be a death sentence because no matter how good it might be, and no matter if it’s priced at the right point for such a title, no publicity means no sales.

          Thankfully the old guard of the gaming media are slowly being murdered by Youtube and Lets’ Play, bit by bit we’re moving from an era where very few voices hold a disproportionate level of influence to a point where progressively more voices hold “less” influence, but there’s enough of them that it becomes an aggregate decision. Democratization of the review process.

          Still, watching moments like this makes me wonder if the world has gone entirely mad. Or if I just missed the joke. It’s frigging Sokoban with sausages *flails a paw*

          @Beefenstein – Shoo. In the corner with you.

          • Alice O'Connor says:

            I might never understand why you read RPS.

          • Hobbes says:

            @ Alice – Do not try to understand the motivations of Tigers. That way madness lies. ;)

          • Llewyn says:

            You’re not missing the joke, you’re missing everything but the joke.

          • Hobbes says:

            I’m not paying £22.99 for the joke, thanks ;)

          • Llewyn says:

            That’s fine, no-one’s expecting you to. I’m also not paying £20 for it, despite understanding exactly what the serious element of it is. Lavalle’s puzzle games are something I can admire but not really enjoy.

            So it’s not for you, and it’s not for me, but it clearly is for other people. Those people apparently include a couple of the writers and a number of commenters on this site.

            Perhaps it’s time for you to drop several ideas: that there’s some hidden cabal determining which indie games get attention and which don’t, that you can determine the general value proposition (rather than your personal one) of something without any awareness of it, that presentation of games determines their value, and that people should be strung from the rafters for valuing different things from you.

            If you can do that then perhaps other commenters here will take your other more legitimate concerns around your personal value from this and Lavalle’s approach to communicating the game’s value more seriously. Not me though.

            PS: You still don’t understand what ad hominem means. I’ve attacked you personally, because I think you’ve expressed considerable stupidity, but Beefenstein has merely mocked you.

          • Hobbes says:

            Oh dear, comprehension isn’t your strong suit is it?

            I’ll give you the chance to stop digging now. You’re putting straw men up which I never built, in the hope I’ll bite. Go over what I said carefully, you’ll note I made no mention of conspiracies or cabals. I don’t truthfully think such things exist. I do however make it clear that Reviewer time is a zero sum game, which is objectively accurate, there is only so much time in a given day, and that generally speaking there are only so many writers that a site can support, and only so many sites left that have a functional readership (Rather sadly one of the sites I thought highly of – No High Scores – has shuttered, which is a crying shame, they were good people as well).

            So when a game such as this comes along, with I think I can kindly call “artisanal” refrain on this genre, and a joke I clearly don’t get, and sucks out the press oxygen, don’t be surprised if I don’t get the joke and think the world has gone bonkers.

            As for my ability to assess value proposition, eh, well, I’ll make my own judgment on that ta, suffice to say I’ve enough experience to work out if a game is prone to be a diamond or a moissanite, you’re free to disagree, but that’s all you’re free to do, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Don’t like that concept? Talk to my steam profile.

            Finally, yes, I know precisely what ad hominem means and if you’re resorting to it, well, I don’t take anyone seriously who’s steam account value is sub twenty thou these days when they resort to that *smiles sweetly* You need to earn the right to insult this Tiger, with money.

            This line of discussion has run its’ course I think. I’d rather move to more positive ground, rather than deal with the nonsense that this game seems to have created.

          • Llewyn says:

            Whoever decided this game needed critical praise

            hence why whoever decided this game needed universal praise

            You seem to struggle with comprehension yourself. Personal value proposition and general value proposition are different things; the former is something you alone can determine, the latter is something no individual can determine.

            As for my Steam account, neither of us have any idea what that’s worth. Only one of us cares, and it’s not the one that knows the username.

            PS: You’re not a tiger, you’re a stuffed toy.

          • Llewyn says:

            One thing though, I do agree with you on NHS.

    • Leland Davis says:

      Some people who like puzzle games really like this. For them, it’s great. Fine. I think they were pretty clear about the fact that this was not interested from the start, when the review mentioned all the RPS staff who WOULD NOT PLAY THIS GAME.

      Given how it looks, and how utterly ridiculous the theme is, I have trouble imagining poor little “average gamer” being fooled by the moustache-twirling “Big Game Journalists” into spending money on a game they have no chance of liking. I think most people are aware of the fact that there are different genres, and that a game that is good in one genre may well not be of interest to someone who does not like that genre. For example, many people do not like sports games. Does praise of a sports game put those sports haters in danger of spending money on a product they do not like? I don’t think so.

      Personally, I despise puzzle games. I am too obtuse for puzzling. No matter how much this game, or the Witness, or any other puzzle game is praised, I DONT’T CARE, and I will never buy it, because I know for a fact that I hate puzzles. However, I am happy that puzzle fans now have a super-hard puzzler to adore. Good for them. I hope they enjoy it, and I hope that the hype around this game helps people who like puzzles to notice it. It’s rather obviously not being pushed by a major marketing drive, and it’s not going to sell itself on the basis of its graphics or characters or story. So, being praised as a puzzle game, by people who like puzzle games, is entirely appropriate.

      I mean, it’s not like the author was telling people, “if you like stabby action games, than you will love Stephen’s Sausage Roll!” No. That would be deliberately misleading. This is not.

    • SimonPetrikov says:

      You’re a fucking idiot!

      ; )

  6. SuddenSight says:

    I beat the tower! Yeeeaah! It actually isn’t too tricky once you figure out what the game wants you to do, but that is true of every puzzle game ever so… Yeah!

    I will admit to the other commenters here that the sausage theme isn’t that exciting to me, but having played it for a bit the game runs with it pretty well. This isn’t super realistic graphics, but they look nice and the sparse particle effects, little bits of jiggle, and natural feeling sound effects really pull the theme together.

    Then again, I bought this because Increpare’s last game had great puzzles and so far this one does too. This game is really for those who want imaginative, enjoyable pushy (Sokoban-esque) puzzles and it delivers that.

  7. johnnyaggro says:

    I’m very deep into this game (6th island) and I will say the hype is justified. I thought The Witness was one of the best games i have ever played, and then THIS game about sausages comes along soon after and rivals if not bests it. I actually disliked the game for the first couple of hours because it has such a demanding introductory world and the controls take a lot of getting used to. But stick with it, it gets good and then just keeps getting better and better and starts throwing out holy shit moments all over the place. There is a (very good) story btw, but this also takes its time to reveal itself. You can take the lack of marketing and lo-fi steam store page as irritating and obscurant if you like, or you can see it as part of the mystery of the game: exploring and discovering stuff for yourself. It’s easily worth the money as imo there’s never been a better designed set of puzzles in any game. But you do kind of have to take a monetary leap of faith.

  8. certainfate says:

    This article inspired me to have another go at the tower after having felt it was hopeless. And I did it!! That was so rewarding. Initially the tower made me lose faith in the game but now I have seen the light.

  9. Jerb Greffy says:

    at 30 buck, whatever charming bullshit this game has in store will forever remain a mystery

  10. MrBehemoth says:

    I’m not pre-judging this game (it might be awesome for all I know) but the screenshots are not enticing at all. It just looks really hard to “read” the game. The art style makes me feel confused and squinty. I don’t have a problem with the “PSX era graphics”, I don’t have a problem with the “band-wagoning” – I just don’t think this is well designed. It presents no affordances.

    • m8bius says:

      Yeah it’s totally programmer art. This is nothing more or less than an extremely well-designed puzzle game. The puzzles are very good. It’s not for everyone.

  11. m8bius says:

    I don’t see an issue with the price. I think it’s about time good indies start asking for more money. $30 on launch is the price of a new hardback novel. It’s the price of a few movie tickets (or one, depending on where you live). It’s less than you’d spend taking your boyfriend or girlfriend out to lunch. I’m more than happy to pay this for something I’ll get a lot out of.

    Price up on launch and then cut back later on sales and bundles. Whatever. I’m just glad there are smart people making good, difficult games.

    • Hobbes says:

      Which I have no problem with on the basis that we’re talking about something like say, the Witness or say, Endless Legend, or say, any number of games which sell the value proposition. Now this game MIGHT have that said same value proposition in the content of its’ puzzle content, but from a purely mechanical standpoint and from a purely visual standpoint I just sit here and scratch my head.

      So far I’m still convinced this is an April Fools joke and someone forgot to tell me the punchline, because I’ve seen far more interesting and well developed games than this fail at lower price points. As I said, the fact that this seems to have grabbed the press attention just indicates that all you need for a recipe for success is a catchy title, some bad graphics, and a bit of revision on Sokoban. Terraria at least iterated on Minecraft even to some small extent fer crying out loud.

      But hey, if people enjoy it, then more power to them, I shall sit like an old tiger on a porch wondering why the world has gone just a little more insane *grin*

      • m8bius says:

        Haha :) Yeah I agree that unfortunately it kinda presents itself as a scam, when you look at the launch media etc. The Sokoban tag doesn’t help, I think. There are a lot of shit Sokoban games and the genre feels a little tired, you get a knee-jerk negative reaction from people.

        • Beefenstein says:

          Yes, you’re right! For example there are a lot of shit FPS games. People rag on those, saying things like “I’m tired of this shit FPS which was shit last time it came out and is now the same game with small graphical improvements. People shouldn’t buy it.”

          This game should also be lambasted for being a tired copycat titles because it is clearly one in a long line of sausage-based block-pushing puzzlers produced by a massive corporation with no desire to do anything but cynically take your money. It might as well be called “Mario and Sonic’s Sausage Fest Party 2000: Panama Edition”.

        • Hobbes says:

          @Beefenstein – What happens to bad FPS games is that they simply vanish into the ether, they are ignored, they don’t get any attention, and they wither and die.

          Appealing to absurdity isn’t a good look on you. *pats*

          • Beefenstein says:

            There are no bad FPS games which became popular and sold a profitable number of copies?

  12. malkav11 says:

    I love puzzle games (real puzzle games, not Tetris and its ilk – though they’re fine) and when Pip started talking about this game on Crate and Crowbar I started off very excited. And then the word Sokoban was brought up. I loathe and despise Sokoban and all its derivatives, so any game or game section remotely related is right out, thanks.

    • Beefenstein says:

      I guess it’s… soko-banned at your house!!!

    • tortortor says:

      Which derivatives did you play? Some suggestions in that tradition to check out if you haven’t, before you dismiss them all: Heroes of Sokoban I-III, Snakebird, Ferdy the cat, A good snowman is hard to build, Skipping stones to lonely homes, Promesst, and of course Stephen’s Sausage Roll.

      • Llewyn says:

        Not to mention Sokobond and of course English Country Tune.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s difficult for me to see how any of those games would be worthwhile when I hate Sokoban’s central mechanic and that is what defines something as a Sokoban derivative.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Don’t worry, I hate Sokoban ever since my father overwrote one of my C64 disks with it just to test the copying function of his new 386 and SSR doesn’t feel much like Sokoban, primarily because you have fewer moving elements and thus a game state that’s easier to store in your mind.

  13. bill says:

    It’d have been nice if the review had defined what exactly a Sokoban style game is up front, so I didn’t have to waste 10 seconds of my life looking it up on wikipedia.

    I demand better service!
    And we should get biscuits.

  14. Humppakummitus says:

    I’ve been thinking about why I don’t like Sokoban type puzzles, and I think the main problem is that I have to remember long sequences of moves. Puzzle games that I love, Spacechem, Witness, Hexcells etc. all have all the relevant information displayed in the current state, but in Sokoban I also have to remember move sequences and that tends to be too much for me.
    I think these games would work a bit better for me if there was a macro recording function and a timeline I could scroll through to check what I did before in the level.
    (I think the pricepoint is fine, by the way. Good puzzlegames are hard to come by and offer many hours of quality content. Quality being key here.)