107 people found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
52.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
SpaceChem has the most marvelously difficult puzzles where you don't so much find a solution as build it. The difficulty rises steeply, and you may yourself stumped, only to wake up in the middle of the night thinking "Eureka! I've got it!" (true story.) And once the atoms and molecules are whizzing around, doing their perfectly orchestrated dance that you yourself choreographed, you feel a wonderful sense of ownership of the solution, since it is in a very real sense yours.
No knowledge of chemistry required, though people with programming experience may have an edge.
86 people found this review helpful 7 people found this review funny
47.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 15, 2015
Sheesh, where do I begin? This game is a logician's wet dream. Sure, it's an exercise in humility, but I feel I can safely say it's also the most compelling puzzle game I have played to date. There is no chaos whatsoever--only increasingly complex order and efficiency. If ever there were a game that captured the passion of engineering, this is it.
The music is deeply inspired and provides a suitable background to your work. The story has some enrapturing quality as well, a smidge of suspense and intrigue enough to give you that extra nudge forward. This may sound insane, but reading the story between puzzles feels physically relieving, as though the stress on your mind is shifted to different regions, much like those atoms are shuffled so smoothly around the reactors, so orderly, clean and calm.
Wait, did I say 'work'? I mean that in the kindest sense possible. You'll understand once you start to 'play'; these words will become interchangeable.
I could see this game used in schools to outstanding effect. It's a masterpiece.
42 people found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
1,124.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 15, 2017
What is SpaceChem?
SpaceChem is a chemistry-themed programming puzzle game (no actual chemistry or programming knowledge required).
Spacechem is moving stuff from one side of the screen to the other while rearranging it a bit.
Spacechem isn't finding the unique solution, it's creating your unique solution.
Spacechem is the elegance of a brilliantly simple solution.
Spacechem is the elegance of a solution you know is a terrible wall of spaghetti, but it's your wall of spaghetti, dammit!
Spacechem is accidentally late nights.
Spacechem is a way to enjoyably fill the empty time in your day. Not just while actively playing, but a way to occupy your brain during those boring, spare minutes while trying to fall asleep, while doing mindless tasks, etc.
Spacechem is finally deciding to go to sleep, only to jump out of bed as you were about to drift off, compelled by a sudden idea for how to solve that one level.
Spacechem is the beautiful dance of atoms across the screen in a running solution.
Spacechem is occasionally discovering little details of how the game mechanics work that can improve your solutions, because honestly, the tutorial levels don't do *that* great a job explaining everything.
Spacechem is a string of head-scratching moments and eureka moments.
Spacechem is the satisfaction of improving an old solution using what you've learned since.
Spacechem is thinking your solution knocked a level out of the park, only to indignantly re-approach it when you discover that your friend did it in *how* many cycles/symbols?!
Spacechem is a fairly reasonable difficulty curve, but the difficulty curve also doesn't stop right up until the end of the game.
Spacechem is a very difficult game to beat (3.8% completion rate).
Spacechem is getting distracted from progressing in the game because you'd rather improve previous solutions, or dive into the player-submitted ResearchNet levels (and because Boss levels aren't as fun as other levels).
Spacechem is solving levels without the waldos leaving the input areas, just for the hell of it and because the solutions inevitably look cool.
Spacechem is trying to solve challenging levels in a community tournament.
Spacechem is accidentally upping your steam 'hours played' count by leaving the game running in the background, only to jump back into it every once in a while with a few small changes. Sorry, steam stats.
Spacechem is guiltily getting around to beating the game and getting those last couple of achievements when you notice your hours-count is past 1000, because you were too distracted by all the other interesting things to do in the game.
Spacechem has, for all practical purposes, endless replay value.
Spacechem is the best puzzle game I've ever played.
101 people found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
43.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 15, 2014
This game consumed my life... literally... for a couple months. To put this game into simple terms, SpaceChem is basically a visual programming game. You receive various inputs and using various tools within the game, the goal is to generate a specified output. Loops, if/then statements, arrays, and many more tools are at your disposal. The game starts simply, but the difficulty increases quickly. Pretty soon, you will find a puzzle that completely stumps you.
This game is not for the feint of heart, the puzzles are hard. But since the game operates within a well defined set of rules, you will find yourself thinking of solutions throughout the day. I found myself drawing sketches to solutions that I had brainstormed while at work. Then I'd eagerly wait until the day was over to get home, try out the idea, and refine any issues. Like I said, the game consumes your life. But when you find yourself stumped on a puzzle for hours, only to conjure a solution during the day, and implement it to great success, you will feel an immense amount of accomplishment.
Quite simply, this is one of the best puzzle games I have played. I wish there was more, I must have more. My only disclaimer is that if you don't like steeply difficult challenges, then you likely won't enjoy this game. I will say it once more, this game is hard.
43 people found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2017
I really love puzzle games. They stuck me in, and usually don't let me go until I solved them. However, I haven't found a good one until recently.
When I first bought this game I didn't have the time to play, not even on my mobile. I recently installed it and gave it a try. I logged out 6 hours later.
This puzzle is the rare kind that have a relatable backstory. You don't have to read it to advance in the game, and it's not forced down your throat. It's nice and relatable, especially for people who worked at a high tech firm before.
The tutorials could be a bit more interactive, or at least animated. Some controls are well hidden, and never explained throughout the game.
The graphics are… OK, it's not beautiful. Well, it is, if you are into retro gaming, but given it's 2017 and you are playing as an employee of a space age high tech firm, it's pretty low. However, you spend most of your time on the reactor screen, which is pretty good.
Controls are OKish. You can't customise the keys, though, so unless you like to play dragging and dropping, prepare for the standard WASD keys (and you still need your mouse). Oh, you are using Dvorak or Colemak, or another esoteric layout? Then you should stick to your mouse.
The puzzles, however, are really nice. You occasionally get an easy one, that can be solved in minutes. But then you get an insane one you spend hours to figure out, without finding a solution. Oh, did I mention there is no easy way to start over? I really miss a reset button.
All in all, this is a very good game. I can spend countless hours without even realising it. You should definitely try it.
115 people found this review helpful 43 people found this review funny
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 23, 2015
I hated chemistry in school. You know that meme about math problems? The one about word math problems and the answer is "Purple because aliens don't wear hats". That one. That is how I felt and still feel about chemistry, engineering, and math. I have no idea where I even got SpaceChem, because I sure as hell wouldn't have bought it, unless I now have a sleep-buying condition I don't know about. At any rate, SpaceChem sat in my library for a very long time and it was only because I wanted the trading cards did I fire it up.
It sat playing in the background for a little bit, and then I noticed the soundtrack. Such an elaborate soundscape, I had to take a look at this game, even if it fried my brain.
The UI is stylish and minimalist, everything I would expect from a game with the words "Space" and "Chemistry" referenced in it. What I wasn't expecting was the rich story unfolding within the game. Like a science fiction unraveling through the planets explored with the completion of a set of puzzles found on each planet.
I won't lie, the puzzles involve chemistry and engineering (to a degree... hur hur) but don't let that put you off. Initially, I could feel my brain melt out of my ears as my senses felt overloaded with symbols, flashbacks to chemistry lab and purple because aliens don't wear hats.
But that soon subsided as I got stuck in with the tutorial and slowly tackled a couple of the earlier puzzles. There is a fluidity and beauty to this puzzle game that is perhaps what makes mathematicians, scientists and engineers smile when something goes right. I hate to admit it, but I felt it compelling at times to just watch a result replay. And there is a great sense of achievement when you solve a puzzle!
There is a lot at your fingertips within this game - there's even a periodic table that you can review - but don't let that put you off. I can only play the game in doses, but the music is perfect to thinking and solving a logical puzzle, and that is ultimately what this game comes down to: logic with chemistry elements. I imagine anyone studying engineering or chemistry may find great joy within this game - and it could even be a great learning tool to someone trying to master some of the key concepts of the subject.
If you can get pass some of symbols and terminology (and stop giggling at the term "waldo") then you will not be wasting your time exploring the puzzles and story within SpaceChem. The soundtrack alone is worth it.
I never thought I would say it, but SpaceChem is a little gem of a puzzle game. I recommend it.
55 people found this review helpful 4 people found this review funny
108.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 30, 2015
SpaceChem is a wonderful puzzle game. Many puzzles are easy, some are pretty challenging. All are fun. If you are a programmer at heart, you'll love this game. If not, you might hate it, because it really requires you to think like a programmer. I am considering to use this game in my "Introduction to programming" class.
30 people found this review helpful 21 people found this review funny
36.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 13, 2015
This gem of a game has quickly become one of my favorite puzzles of all time. Looks simple, yet it's incredibly hard and complex.
I am determined to finish this game without reading a single tutorial, forum post, or a youtube video (who cheats in a puzzle game anyway?) and hopefully I'll finally prove myself I'm not stupid, as my parents have been saying since forever. Thank you parents for ruining my self esteem and my life.