While the character Pajama Sam is an endearing one, this is a game which unfortunately doesn't hold up as a stand-alone product. Considering that a variation of it is available as part of Let's Explore the Airport with Buzzy, one has to wonder why this wasn't simply part of the next Pajama Sam adventure.
The basic idea is a good one: the player must take control of the Sock-o-Matic Mark III and help Pajama Sam sort his socks. Each level contains between one and four different colored socks, each of which must be sent to the bin of the same color. There are various types of conveyor belts which send the socks along their way, and some of them can have their direction changed with a click of the mouse. There are also pushers which can be set to go off and bounce a sock down a path, chutes which whisk the socks to another chute with the same symbol on them, director arms to send the sock down one path or another, and paint buckets which change the color of the socks.
While this sounds like a challenging Tetris-like concept for kids, the problem lies in the game levels. They're either very easy or very hard, with little ground in between. In many of the levels, it's a matter of changing one conveyor belt (or not touching anything sometimes) so that the sock goes where it should. In some of the other levels, though, it's incredibly hard to figure out what to click to send the socks to the right place when there are four of them heading right toward various chutes which will send them to other chutes which in turn send them onto belts with a multitude of director arms and pushers. If one sock goes in the wrong basket or falls on the floor, the level must be replayed. Watch out for level 13 -- it's a doozy.
The levels should have been set up the way they are in most puzzle games: with the easiest ones first and progressing to the harder ones. The early ones should get the player familiar with each of the game devices one by one before throwing several of them into a level at once. The levels should also progress from one or two socks to three or four, not vary the number of socks seemingly at random. This is basic development, but it seems to have been neglected here.
The custom level generator is fun, but most kids would rather try preset ones than have to make their own levels in order to match their skill level. At the very least this game should have had multiple levels of difficulty so that little kids could play simple levels while bigger kids could get more of a challenge without being bored or frustrated.
Overall, I'd say pass on this one and pick up Let's Explore the Airport With Buzzy, where you can find a variation on this game (with luggage instead of socks) as well as plenty of other content for about the same price.
Graphics: Nicely done, as usual.
Sound: This game has some fun sounds; I'll give it credit for that much.
Enjoyment: Almost every level is either way too easy or way too hard.
Replay Value: I can see the frustration setting in around level 13.
SockWorks is Sam's answer to the arduous task of sorting socks. In this Junior Arcade game for kids 3-8 (or any age, really!) his mother has told him he needs to sort a whole basket of his socks before school tomorrow! Sam decides to leave them until morning but he falls asleep with them on his mind. What does Sam dream about? Building the ultimate, automatic sock sorting machine: the Sock-o-Matic Mark III. All kinds of conveyor belts, chutes, obstacles, distractions and lots and lots of socks. Sam controls it all with the levers he holds, but YOU tell Sam what to do. Concentration and puzzle-solving is the key here. In each level, you'll have to alter the machines to make them put the colored socks in the right basket. Chutes, pushers, sliders, conveyor belts, and swing arms are all changeable. You can also slow down or speed up the Sock-O-matic, to fit your play style. Or reverse belts, to try and keep things from going too far.
The game allows up to 75 players, and you can save your game after each level. There's also a built-in Level Editor too so you can make your own wacky sorting machine.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
People who downloaded Pajama Sam's SockWorks have also downloaded:
Pajama Sam's Lost & Found, Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning aren't so Frightening, Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside, Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head To Your Feet, Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell, Putt-Putt and Pep's Balloon-o-Rama, Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse
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