The Sokpop Collective is one of the most interesting things going on in the indie game scene right now. For the past three years, the team has released two new games every month, with titles covering everything from volcano-based pinball to swamp exploration. The games are simple, fun, and you get access to new titles consistently through a $ 3 per month subscription to Patreon.
This model not only ensures that you always have something new to look forward to, but is also a unique and interesting way to support a small independent development team.
What is Sockpop?
Sokpop is a group of four Dutch-based game developers whose first game, Bamboo EP, was released in 2016. This collection of smaller bamboo themed games was a sign of things to come, as in 2017 they started a Patreon where you could give them $ 3 a month in exchange for two new games.
When you sign up with the Patreon, you will receive the two latest games that Sokpop released and everything released after that. Once a new game is released, you can visit Sokpop’s website to redeem the games via Steam or itch.io. (It takes a little longer for the Steam release to come out than itch.io.) You can also find all of Sokpop’s previous games for sale on Steam and itch.io, so if you want to check out some of the older monthly titles, you can can do that.
It’s a unique concept and it’s evolving smoothly over the last three years, with the Sokpop Collective releasing more than 70 games at the time of writing. The team has said that this unorthodox release and payment model is used to support itself in the creation of larger projects, such as games such as Simmiland. That doesn’t mean you get table scraps with the Patreon, though – a lot of work goes into making the monthly games simple yet great.
So many games
So there are a lot of games released through the Patreon, but what are the games actually about? In a word: everything. Everything? Almost every release focuses on a new genre, ranging from racing games to a top-down action RPG. The mysterious nature of the games is one of the best aspects of Sokpop, because no matter how the new game is, the team somehow always manages to create something unique and above all fun.
In general, you don’t get much information when you first start up each game. There are rarely any tutorials or instructions provided (outside of the occasional button prompt), you’re usually just diving into the world and figuring things out for yourself. But the simplistic nature of Sokpop’s titles means that this is never a problem, and discovering the unique quirks of each title is a big part of the fun for me. The games are intended to be played in a single session with a running time of 30-60 minutes overall.
I think one of the more impressive parts of these games is that none of them are visually below par. All games tend to use similar art styles, and while they are simplistic, there is an undeniable charm to both the stylistic choices and the world designs. In the end, I love the style of most (if not all) of the games Sokpop releases, and the simplistic drawing style also means that these games will be light on your computer in terms of performance – you don’t even need a dedicated graphics card.
What are some games like?
It’s all well and good to talk about the overall design of Sokpop’s releases, but let’s take a look at some specific examples. If you were to subscribe to Patreon from the Sokpop Collective now, you would receive two games: everything and n-body. So let’s take a look at these two titles and get a taste of what Sokpop is all about.
The most recent game, everything is an idle game where you take care of and watch over a fish in a bowl. It’s made to leave open in the background, allowing overtime rewards to drip and allowing you to listen to the great background music. You will receive small candies and other foods to level up your fish and improve the bowl over time.
On the other hand, n-body is a heavenly golf experience where you fight gravity to get your golf balls where they need to go. You have a limited number of shots available with restocks all over the map. Your goal is to connect the dots between stars and create constellations, with the game commenting on each formation you manage to complete. The gravity mechanism is refined and you can take a lot of cool trick shots while building your night sky.
And those two are only scratching the surface. If you decide to look back at Sokpop’s older catalog, you will see many more great titles. Fishy 3D is a puzzle adventure game in which you have to traverse the world like a fish, Gray Scout is a great stealth adventure, and Flipper Volcano sees you play pinball in the heart of a volcano. Whatever happens, the games will always be fun, unique or interesting.
Time to play
Again, you can play Sokpop’s games in two ways – either by signing up to the Patreon and receiving games as soon as they come out (redeemable on both Steam and itch.io), or you can buy Sokpop’s older titles directly . There are even large bundles full of all of Sokpop’s games, and packs with a smaller collection of titles if you want an easier and more cost-effective way to visit the older games.
In short, the Sokpop Collective is one of the most interesting things happening in the world of indie games right now. The balance of variety and quality on display is unmatched anywhere else in the games industry, especially when you consider the release schedule. If, like me, you like smaller, experimental titles, or just want a way to kill some time every month, these games are fantastic. And the low cost means you risk very little by signing up and giving it a try.
If you want to give Sokpop a shot, you can go straight to the Patreon, the games already released, and the webpage where you actually redeem the games from the Patreon. You can also follow the developers on Twitter and YouTube to check out updates on stuff and see trailers for new games respectively – they even made this cool time lapse video about the aforementioned everything.