Tag Archives: sokpop collective

The Games This ‘Boy Band’ Makes Are Almost As Cute As They Are

Photo: Sokpop

The Sokpop collective, made up of game developers Tijmen, Tom, Aran, and Rubna from the Netherlands, started calling themselves a boy band as a joke, but they didn’t start it. “It was something people joked about at events,” Tijmen told

The Sokpop collective, made up of game developers Tijmen, Rob, Aran, and Rubna from the Netherlands, started calling themselves a boy band as a joke, but they didn’t start it. “It was something people joked about at events,” Tijmen told Kotaku, “mainly because of our looks.” Even if it’s kind of a joke, their cute games are set to capture your heart, and send your teenage girls screaming for their autographs.

“I think the boy band gig is more a result of us looking young and making cute stuff,” Tijmen said over email. (The group prefers to be called by their first names only.) Sokpop releases two games a month, funded by their Patreon, and they’re all seriously adorable. Simmiland is a tiny simulation game, where you use a deck of cards to add resources or change the weather. Brume manages to make the Dark Souls approach to ultra-hard adventure games feel whimsical. Their games feel wholesome, like something you remembered playing as a kid when the whole world was full of wonder.

Part of how they accomplish that is through silliness, as seen in the way they make their characters walk. In most of their games, they make their characters’ limbs flail wildly, which Tijmen said can lead to some silly situations. “For the people that play the games it can be a lot of fun to just mess around with that, like making your character do a little dance!” Tijmen said. “To me, that’s a type of fun that’s very wholesome and true. When making games, you also play around with that, and making the game becomes more playful in itself through it. Those kind of mechanics are not only discoverable in our walk cycles but are apparent in all kinds of places in our games. I think that’s what defines our style.”

GIF: Sokpop

Finding the playfulness is a result of talking through their work with each other. Each of the games that Sokpop produces is solely authored by one of the members, though Tijmen credits working together throughout the development process as the thing that helps refine their games.

Kart Kids was, at some point, supposed to have multiple race tracks, but that got cut down to a single race track. The way we decide this is by sitting together every week and talking about the things we make,” Tijmen said. “The support of the collective makes it more apparent what the fun/interesting part of a game is and how we can amplify that as much as possible. So with Kart Kids, we discovered that the fun part was the chaos of all the karts driving around. Instead of making another track we optimized the game so there can be 60 karts.”

Even if the boy band thing is mostly a joke, that doesn’t mean that they haven’t had a taste of the boy band treatment. Fans have asked them for photos and autographs, Tijmen said.”I was very surprised. Couldn’t believe the boyband thing was actually working!”

Now that the boy band gimmick has caught on, Sokpop has given some thought as to who fits what traditional boy band roles. Tom is the “quiet one,” Ruben is the “sweet one,” and Aran is the “dad.”

“I myself have been known as the bad boy,” Tijmen said.

Source: Kotaku.com

Brume Captures That Classic Adventure Game Feel

Like many kids, I used to explore the woods and get into all kinds of make-believe adventures. Often, that meant picking up a stick and questing for imaginary treasures. Brume is a low-fi adventure game that takes Dark Souls’ tough combat and adds a touch of whimsical exploration.

Created by Sokpop Collective, Brume is an adventure game for PC and Mac “inspired by Dark Souls, stories by Tolkien, and Irish castles.” The player explores a mysterious island full of swamps, forests, and other locations teeming with giant leeches and tough warriors. If you die, you quickly respawn at the last camp you encountered. It’s a familiar format, seen in games like Below and Ashen. What makes Brume fun is how it keeps the experience straightforward. There aren’t any gimmicks like branching quest chains or big boss fights here, and you’re not going to drown in lore. Instead, you have a sword, shield, and a world to explore. In that way, it takes more inspiration from the lighthearted exploration that inspired The Legend of Zelda.

Brume is a difficult game. The combat shifts between fighting somewhat easy enemies and intense one-on-one duels with random fighters. It’s straightforward to fight off ticks and slugs, as they give ample telegraphing whenever they attack. Holding up your shield or circle strafing usually does the trick. It gets more complicated when you find another adventurer enemy. Many of them are adept at blocking your attacks, and some have massive weapons like hard-hitting clubs that sweep wider than you’d expect. In the best cases, these fights can feel like a tricky bit of dodging and attacking. In the worst cases, you’ll sometimes get smacked with an overwhelmingly powerful attack.

“It’s supposed to be quite hard, so please don’t get angry,” a video message from the developer states.

That’s made much easier thanks to Brume’s art style, a low-detail world full of hazy greens and bright beaches. The main drive in Brume is simply to move forward and see more of its wonderful sights. Even if you fail, there’s an impulse to press on and retry. Brume isn’t about finding items or beating difficult enemies to level up, although you can do that. It’s about the joy of exploration for its own sake.

Source: Kotaku.com