April 13, 2016

Andreas Betsche

Shooting mosquitoes with guns – Sok & Sao’s Adventure

April 13, 2016 | Andreas Betsche

Today, I would like to introduce you to Sok & Sao’s Adventure, a mobile game developed for smartphones in Cambodia by Direxplay.

It is a side-scrolling shooting game inspired by the classic game Contra. The game aims to raise awareness about mosquitoes and the diseases they spread, which is a major health issue in many parts of the world.

Traditional houses and oxen cart

Players take control of two characters, Sok and Sao, and shoot mosquitoes and other enemies with their water guns or throw grenades at them. Throughout the game, players will encounter obstacles and bosses that they will need to overcome in order to progress to the next level. Players can also collect coins throughout the game to unlock better weapons.

The game has beautiful, colorful 2D backgrounds and smooth animations. The first level is full of references to Cambodian culture, such as a thick jungle with banana trees and traditional wooden houses. Players can even ride an oxen cart, a common vehicle in rural areas of Cambodia. The first boss in the game is a stone giant in some ruins that resemble the famous Angkor temples in Siem Reap. Giants are part of Cambodian traditional dances and folk tales.

The first giant boss in temple ruins.

The developers explained that the names of the characters are based on standard characters in Cambodian educational books. They also shared an old Cambodian folk tale where the mosquitoes used to be as big as humans and would eat them. The god Ta Prohm then shrank the mosquitoes, and since then, they can only suck human blood. I had the opportunity to interview the developers of Sok & Sao’s Adventure, who shared these stories with me.

While I have struggled with the controls and have yet to advance past the first boss, I appreciate the attention to detail and cultural references in the game. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to try out this fun game from Cambodia. You can download it here: Android Win 8/10/mobile.

Andreas Betsche

Andreas Betsche founded Virtual SEA in early 2016 after researching Cambodian mobile games for his Master’s thesis. He has a background in Southeast Asia studies and has worked and lived in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since he has been actively playing games since the early 90s, combing both worlds in Virtual SEA brought together both of his passions.

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