More so than many other games on this list, SOKOBOT really feels to me like it is channeling old school Zachtronics games but with a really bright colourful UI.
In Hexahedra you program blocks of a factory with a sequence of actions and then build up the complexity of your factories by having multiple of these programmed blocks next to each other, passing cubes between each other in order to get the desired output.
This is Super Meat Boy but you are programming the inputs for your character. You have very precise control over your bot’s actions and the game has all the optimisation options (fastest time and fewest commands) and leaderboards that you’d expect from a decent Zach-like as well as a level editor built in.
Classic machine and conveyer belt building blocks applied to a farming setting. This gets really interesting with the ability to minimise a section of your factory into a single block and continue building with that. It also has the compelling nature of a good idle game to boot.
You are controlling multiple knights with a single program. Each character uses the same logic so you need to program in a way that will work for all instances. Optimise for “steps” and/or “lines of code”. Nice visual programming interface. It is very “7 Billion Humans”
Their own description says it’s a Zach-like and that should tell you everything you need to know. Program robots (forward/back/turn/use etc) in order to make food. Optimise your solutions for speed, space, etc…
If you are familiar with Zachtronics games then you’ll know what to expect. If you’re not then this probably isn’t going to be the most easily assessable one to start with but it appears to be somewhere between SpaceChem, Opus Magnum and TIS-100.
A game where you are rewriting bits of machine code in order to solve puzzles. Also looks to have a level editor where you can create your own levels in order to send them to the developer and maybe get them added to the game. There is also a slimmed-down web version you can try.
If you enjoyed Human Resource Machine then this is more of the same, except with the twist of controlling multiple humans at once with your code.
This one starts out looking like a Settlers-style logistics game, but the more you play and unlock the more it becomes about automating and optimising your town.
I’m really torn on this one. It is a remake of The Codex for Alchemical Engineering but done by a different company. They have changed just enough so that it isn’t a complete copy but somehow it doesn’t quite have the same spark as the original. Now that Opus Magnum has been released it is even more obvious that the UI in this game is clunky and the progression is awkward. If you have already played all of the Zachtronic games then give this a go. It’s more of the same (just not quite as good), but if you haven’t then start with Zachtronic games every time.
Based on MindRover, in this game you create a robot from a selection of components, attach sensors and then wire up the behaviour in order to solve various tasks. The programming is logic based and will see you dragging various logic gates onto your circuit board and then wiring them all together so that your little robot can do things like follow a line on the floor or navigate through a maze.
A retro themed visual programming game with a sci-fi story where you are building ‘circuits’ which act as pathways for data packets to travel along. Use the various components to affects the data as required. Comes with the graphs usually associated with Zachtronic games to encourage optimisation.
This is a visual programming game but also feels a bit like a logistics game because you are moving data around from location to location, filtering and sorting them as you go. Your solutions will earn you money which you can use to buy hats for your cat! Optimise your solutions to make more money.
This game uses a visual programming language to allow you to move your avatars through levels collecting files and avoiding enemies. The programming interface is really nice in the way it lets you wire actions together (and feels really nice on mobile) and the way you interact with (and can change the colour of) coloured floor tiles adds a lot of depth to the gameplay. There are also graphs for optimisation fun and community levels to play!
Use a visual programming language to solve which involve taking one set of inputs and generating a set of outputs. Puzzles can get very challenging towards the end especially if you are trying to achieve the optional goals for speed and number of operations! On top of a really nice UI and solid puzzles, the visual style is also really quirky and fun. If this sounds interesting, don’t forget that the sequel, 7 Billion Humans is also available.
There have been lots of little web games where you put down conveyor belts to manipulate items. This game takes that concept and brings it into 3D. It’s got a fun side-story but the main draw is just how much depth the third dimension adds to the standard conveyor-belt gameplay. It’s hugely satisfying and again comes with the usual Zachtronics options for optimisation.
This game is kind of an evolution of TIS-100 in that you are still writing low-level code but there is also an electronics element involved so you are also building circuit boards with various components from simple logic gates and memory blocks, to different types of programmable processor. Again you have the usual options for optimisation and there is a sandbox mode to play with.
The blurb for this game pretty much says it all. If you like pretty low-level programming puzzles then you are in luck. The interesting part of this game is the way you have multiple modules all running in parallel which can make for some really interesting solutions. Again, you have optimisations for number of modules and speed etc.
This is a spiritual successor to one of Zachtronics earliest games called The Codex of Alchemical Engineering. In this game you set up and program an assortment of grabbers and little machines to pick up, combine and manipulate elements. The interface is really slick and it is as satisfying as ever to see little molecules being put together. Again you have graphs for things like speed, cost and footprint which keeps you coming back to fiddle.
In SpaceChem you place instructions on the floor which form routes for two little ‘waldos’ to follow in order to pick up combine and manipulate elements. You can do some really clever things syncing up the two paths and if you are reading this list and haven’t played this game then you need to go get it right the hell now. Lots to keep you busy and really satisfying. You can also see graphs for things like speed/cost which keeps you coming back to tweak.