HEADER

Selfless Heroes

Posted on July 8th, 2020

Solve puzzles by designing an AI for a team of selfless heroes. Test your algorithm, optimize it, and emerge victorious from the dungeon!

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”

Shapez.io

Posted on June 22nd, 2020

shapez.io is a game about building factories to automate the creation and combination of increasingly complex shapes within an infinite map.

Heavily inspired by Factorio, but actually this really strongly reminds me of an old Flash puzzle game series called Factory Balls by Bert Bonte. Mine, split, colour, rotate and layer together various resources from an infinite map in order to mass product increasingly complicated symbols.

Automachef

Posted on May 29th, 2019

Welcome to Automachef, a resource management puzzler where you design kitchens, program machinery and watch your genius come to life! It’s time to engineer tomorrow’s kitchen, today!

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.

EXAPUNKS

Posted on March 11th, 2019

The year is 1997. You used to be a hacker, but now you have the phage. You made a deal: one hack, one dose. There’s nothing left to lose… except your life.

Zachtronics is back with another programming game with a cyberpunky storyline and in-game ‘zines’ for you to print out and play with. If you are new to Zachtronics games then there are probably easier ones to begin with, but if you’ve played all the others then you’ll want to play this too. There is even a separate program on Steam to allow you to run programs written in the in-game language!

Satisfactory

Posted on March 11th, 2019

Satisfactory is a first-person open-world factory building game with a dash of exploration and combat.

Most people seem happy to describe this as Factorio in 3D, which you can understand looking at it. It is currently in development so we shall have to see how it turns out.

The Sequence[2]

Posted on March 11th, 2019

Think out of the box!

The follow up to [the Sequence]. This is more of the same, but instead of being set on a squared grid you are on a hex grid which adds to the complication. As with the first game things start simple and as more types of component are added, the challenge increases.

7 Billion Humans

Posted on March 11th, 2019

Automate swarms of office workers to solve puzzles inside your very own parallel computer made of people….a thrilling followup to the award winning Human Resource Machine. Now with more humans!

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.

MindRover: The Europa Project

Posted on March 10th, 2019

Originally released in 2000. This game involved building a robot by taking a body, adding wheels/tracks/hover, steering, motors and sensors and then wiring them all together using various logic components in order to acheive various goals from simply following a line or going through a maze, to racing through coridors and locating and shooting other robots. Before the age of online multiplayer (and way before youTube), people used to have tournaments where everyone would email their robot save file to the person running the tournament. That person would run all the robots against each other two at a time and then post the results up on a website. I have a lot of nostalgia for this one. 🙂 For a recent version, try LogicBots.

The Codex of Alchemical Engineering

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“The Codex of Alchemical Engineering is a puzzle game about programming ‘manipulators’ to move, transmute, and bind alchemical ‘atoms’ into complex compounds.”

The game that inspired SpaceChem. You can place down various little machines and robot arms and then give each arm a set of actions which it should perform. Use the arms to move, combine and modify various elements. Starts pretty simple. Gets pretty complicated and if you finish it, there is the Magnum Opus challenge which gives you a whole new set of levels.

Perfect Paths

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“Perfect Paths is puzzle solving game where you create paths and add other instructions to move blocks to their designated positions.”

This is a pure logistics puzzle game, really nicely presented and with a decent challenge. The thing which makes this game really interesting is that each type of action happens in sequence, so objects aren’t all moving at once, but rather things moving up with move, then those moving left, then down etc. It doesn’t seem like much but it can add real depth puzzle solutions.

[The Sequence]

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“The Sequence is a unique puzzle game. Build a sequence using special modules to transfer binary cell. Find solutions to solve 72 levels with simple and complex structure.”

I’m not sure this really is unique. I think it again shares a lot in common with games like The Codex of Alchemical Engineering in that you use little devices to push, pull and rotate objects around each level, but what it is is very nicely (minimally) presented with a decent UI and puzzles which get very challenging toward the end of the game.

Autonauts

Posted on March 10th, 2019

The ‘Automationauts’ (to give them their fuller, grander, longerwindeder title) travel the universe with the sole goal of setting worlds in motion through the power of automation.

Autonauts is an automation game. You start with nothing but sticks and stones but quickly are able make your own little robots. Once you get to that point the game just takes off. You can automate anything you do either by getting the robots to watch you and directly with a nice visual programming language. Before you know it you have hundreds of the little things working away like bees in a hive. It’s really satisfying to build up little production systems and then watch them go!

Human Resource Machine

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“Program little office workers to solve puzzles. Be a good employee! The machines are coming… for your job.”

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.

Infinifactory

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“Build factories that assemble products for your alien overlords, and try not to die in the process.”

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.

Shenzen I/O

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“SHENZHEN I/O: BUILD CIRCUITS. WRITE CODE. RTFM.”

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.

TIS-100

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“TIS-100 is an open-ended programming game in which you rewrite corrupted code segments to repair the TIS-100 and unlock its secrets. It’s the assembly language programming game you never asked for!”

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.

Opus Magnum

Posted on March 10th, 2019

“Master the intricate, physical machinery of the transmutation engine, the alchemical engineer’s most advanced tool, and use it to create vital remedies, precious gemstones, deadly weapons, and more.”

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.

Spacechem

Posted on February 26th, 2019

“Take on the role of a Reactor Engineer working for SpaceChem, the leading chemical synthesizer for frontier colonies. Construct elaborate factories to transform raw materials into valuable chemical products!”

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.