I’m no stranger to laundry. However, the way I play newly-released Lost Sock (iOS) by developer Moonstripes would suggest otherwise. In the game, you control the spins of a washing machine trying to get as many revolutions as possible without losing any socks.
You start off with a basic pair of socks. As you complete more and more revolutions, coins appear in the drum, which you collect when the socks touch them. With enough coins, you can buy more socks, or purchase some wonderfully large sudsy soap that helps to block some of the holes. It may sound easy enough, but these virtual socks are suspiciously slippery and have a tendency to wriggle out of your grasp at any opportune moment.
It becomes a game of simply knowing when to stop and start the machine. The right timing will throw your socks into the wall of the drum, rather than flinging them out through the rather large gaps. My embarrassingly low high score of 17 revolutions is a testimony to how hard this is, and trust me, it’s not through lack of trying.
Even though real-world laundry isn’t something I necessarily look forward to in my week, there’s enough absurdity to the game that makes it a joy to play, rather than a chore. With everyone I gave the game to, the usual comment I got was, “This is strangely addictive.” Maybe it’s the hypnotic action of the drum going round and round. Maybe it’s underestimating how easy it is for oddly-shaped socks to slip out holes and then thinking that the next round is surely going to be better than the last. There’s something about this simple little game that makes you click the replay button “just one more time”.
I have a suspicion that were it not for the ads that pop up now and then, I would be completely lost to the world of socks. It’s an unfortunate diversion, which is really what anyone should expect from a free game. But I’d say that there will be a fair few who would be willing to go for a paid option just so they wouldn’t have to wade through another pop-up.
I was also hoping that each pair of socks that you unlock would present a different set of challenges. But not so. It turns out that the socks are merely cosmetic, and all of them have the same set of buttery consistency as the first pair, no matter what shape or size they are.
But in any case, the nice little touch of a leaderboard is really what’ll keep you spinning. With the scores of the most experienced launderers on display, it’ll make you realize that even though 17 revolutions may feel like a victory, there is so much more to learn when it comes to washing socks.