Spacechem Author: T_H_Schafer -- Posted: 2011-10-25
Publisher: Zachtronics Industries
Platform: PC / MAC
Spacechem was a hard game to get into for me. It felt a little more like work than fun at first, then it got a little more fun as I learned what I was doing, then it felt a little more daunting. First let me say that spacechem is worth it if you like puzzle games. But spacechem is unlike most other puzzle games in my eyes. Your task is much more mechanical and the mechanics of the game itself expand in unexpected ways, causing you as the player to tackle the problems as more of an extended process.
At its core, the goal in spacechem is to create molecular structures out of the raw elements which they are composed of. You do this by setting down lines and designate areas to do different tasks, like picking up an element, orienting it, binding it to another element and finally expelling the finished product. Those are the basics but things get increasingly complicated when you have to assemble more complex molecules and further complicated when you have to create several different products.
A new puzzle can mean some serious brain strain, but spacechem manages to have a pretty decent learning curve, for a while at least. Things get pretty insane after that. It is almost like spacechem can get as complicated as you want it to, which in some respects makes it the perfect puzzle game. Though one might not be able to proceed at a certain level, at least you'll have more puzzles to do later down the line. And at the point of complete frustration, where one might feel as though they have hit a brick wall, one would likely have gotten their money's worth.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed spacechem, and I'm not much of a puzzle guy. The feeling of finishing a particularly complex puzzle gives a great feeling of accomplishment, even though the game gives you an indication of how much better other players have done via an active tracking of other players completions. There isn't anything to gripe on about spacechem, I can't say that because it becomes very difficult later in the game that it isn't a good game. The mechanics take some time to grasp and tasks become more and more difficult the longer you play. For anyone interested in a challenging design-based puzzle game, you really don't need to look any further.