Review by sonic479
"Turn this conveyor belt then into a chute then onto another belt...where will it end up?"
Humongous Entertainment (HE) likes to make games where the player likes to play while actually learning something. Thus, they managed to split into three categories: Arcade, Adventure, and Sports. They have a variety of characters and each has their own series of games. Pajama Sam is one of them. Pajama Sam in Sockworks belongs in the Arcade group of the three categories.
Story - 3/10
The story starts out when Pajama Sam's mom gave a basket of socks for him to do. Pajama Sam thinks this is too much to do and decides to "rest" for a while. He dreams of a factory where he controls it and best of all, be able to help him organize the socks. And this is where the game starts...
A poor story at best but like many other "Junior Arcade" games created by HE, the story in them do not really matter as it does not affect the game so much.
Gameplay - 8/10
This game is perhaps one of the better "Junior Arcade" games there are out of all the available ones created by HE. It is distinctively unique in various ways, but these unique ways is what makes it fun to play.
The game is splitted into levels and divides the game into a tier of easier levels in the beginning to harder levels as you progress. The game has a total of 250 different types of levels, but you can only play 100 of these levels for each name account you create. That means that when you play again, it means that 100% of the time the game will never be played exactly as you would play last time. Sure, you may get some repetitive levels as you may have played last time, but these won't occur at the same level again.
As for the actual game itself, it is actually a challenging game that focuses on thinking quick and paying attention to everything on the screen. For each level, there will be different colored socks that are on certain locations. Your goal is to get the sock(s) into their respective correct color laundry bins (i.e. red sock goes into a red bin) that are also located in the level somewhere. This task would be simple, but as always, things never come easy. There are obstacles around including conveyor belts that can change direction, chutes that can drop socks in and pop out of another location, bumpers which knock the socks into a certain direction, color paints that change the socks color, and among many other stuff. The first couple of levels pretty much act like practice for the game. Then it becomes the real thing after a while.
Controls are relatively simple, and all it requires are a mouse and a quick hand and mind. Everything in the game utilizes clicking of the mouse, be it changing direction of the conveyor belts or turning on a bumper.
The way levels are set are, as I said before, from easier levels earlier to harder levels later. By easy, this would mean like one sock to start with some conveyor belt switches and then you would get it in the correct laundry basket a couple of seconds later. As you progress, the number of socks increases and they decide to throw in a bunch of obstacles just to mess you around and let you think twice before you actually do something. This may include throwing in a bunch of same shaped chutes so it pops out another location randomly, a bunch of "automatic" bumpers (ones that you cannot control) so that socks get pushed over everywhere, insane amount of switches so that you need to look for a pattern in order to get through a certain part, red conveyor belts that won't change directions, and among many others. Fortunately, the challenge of this game is consistent and these won't probably happen until much later in the game, when by then, you should have been prepared already. This game is actually easy to pick up, after a first couple of levels, you pretty much know how the rest of the game will flow.
The difficulty focused in this game makes it that even an older person out of the recommended age range (which would be 3-8 as much like other "Junior Arcade" games) can enjoy it. The child who may be playing this might feel frustrated because they don't have the speed capabilities in order to do a certain level and click on the necessary stuff fast enough, but that teaches them that practice creates perfection. Thankfully, there is a speed alter function in the game. By default, each level starts out with the slowest speed. If you find that you definitely know how it will turn out, then you can speed up the process using that function. However, this option is rarely used, especially in the higher levels where you need the slow speed in order to think before you actually do something. It really does fit the old saying: "slow and steady wins the race". Even people who may have fast reflexes will end up with problems if they turn on the speed function at a bad time. In essence, any person can enjoy playing in this game and it is not just for the children.
If you actually get bored of playing the provided levels, you can actually create up to 5 of your own levels. Much of everything from the game can be utilized to create your own levels so it provides a nice bonus to the players. The best part about it is that you can create it on how you want, be it the most difficult level to do or the simplest. The choice in that matter would lie on your decision.
Much of everything about the gameplay is pretty good so you may wonder why I gave it an 8. Well, as much as this game focuses on quick reflexes and mind, it also relies on luck. And sometimes, this luck does not appear when it should be. This actually gets frustrating a little when apparently there is a chute that has two conveyor belts next to it on opposite sides and the sock that pops out lands on the wrong one and therefore sometimes lands in the wrong basket or falls off the stage so you end up losing. Theoretically, this can happen each time, but the chances that the sock will actually land on the correct conveyor belt is pretty much based on luck. If you end up spending a bunch of retries on a certain level because apparently a bumper knocks the sock in a certain direction at the wrong time and ends up landing in the wrong basket, well, there you have it. It's just bad luck. It's not really a big deal but it gets annoying when I have to do some retries because of a minor luck problem.
Graphics - 8/10
Graphically, the game provides vivid backgrounds, as well as making the actual objects look real nice. It looks cartoonish in every aspect, but it provides a good way to show off the unique design for each object. The bumpers are what they are, and they provide a red/green button to signify what its function is doing, the multi-colored paint buckets tell you that the color of the sock will change. In essence, the creators have a good imagination on how to draw the objects and it is straight to the point also, meaning there is nothing that means it will do something else instead. It also utilizes a good mixture of light and dark colors and that is something the game does not do bad that.
Music/Sound - 7/10
Not the best music of an HE game, but it certainly has its own set of unique soundtracks. Some of them are gentle, some are just minor rock and roll style. Really, it is hard to describe how the music is in the game, but it fits well unusually and that makes the game all the more enjoyable. It's certainly not the best though, as it could have been a slight better but it does not fail in any way. Sound, it is very repetitive, especially when you have to hear 100 levels of conveyor belt switching, switches changing, socks dropping in chutes, and among others. It gets annoying sometimes but it is tolerable. Pajama Sam himself does not have a lot of voice clips so it doesn't matter too much on him.
Replay Value - 7/10
There are 250 different types of levels, but you can only play 100 at a time. Each time you replay the game, different levels will show. On the other hand, eventually though, you would have played most of them and then it just becomes old repetition. The first time through, the game is actually pretty fun for anybody. There is also custom mode so you can create your own levels. However, that also becomes stale eventually. In general, the replay value of this game is actually enough to keep you playing the game for some time.
Overall - 8/10
Overall, even though it is suited for ages 3-8, Pajama Sam in Sockworks is suitable for anybody. The challenge that provides in the game can entertain any player and the unique style of playing the game does not get old fast enough. Overall, this should be a game that should definitely be played.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/23/06, Updated 12/29/07
Game Release: Pajama Sam in Sockworks (US, 12/31/97)
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