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Having played through the base game, Spacechem is a great puzzle game at it's core.
Pros - The puzzles. They become increasing harder as you go along, but it is pretty steady. Each set of puzzles build on skills you have acquired from the previous. There are challenges associated with many of the puzzles. You do not have to complete them to beat the game, but they really make you think and work for the achievement. They can be tough, but I enjoyed solving them. Nothing in the game is forced on you with the challenges and achievements. It saves your progress so you can keep moving forward in the game and go back later to beat the challenges. I really felt a sense of accomplishment finishing this game. Many puzzle games become the a+b =c formula and thus, boring. Space Chem held to the end.
The controls and UI worked really well. Learning the hotkeys helps. There are many videos on You Tube. Really cool after you beat a puzzle, you can see how others did it. I did not see any of my solutions online and there are may ways to solve each one. The instruction on new tools were good. Told you what you needed to know and left you to figure out how to employ them. The periodic chart was a useful addition.
Cons – The story outside the puzzles was a cheese sandwich with the crust (Try eating one and you'll see what I mean, dry and chewy, just sayin'). Not the worst I have seen, but after while I didn't bother. I mention this only to point out it does not take away from the great puzzles. That is the heart of this great gem. If you don't like the story, skip it. The graphics do not interfere with the game at all. They were functional.
I highly recommend this game if you enjoy puzzles that challenge your critical thinking and problem solving abilities. This is an exceptional game. Skip the story, solve the puzzles. You'll feel smarter, I do.