Better Living Through SpaceChem Updates

I wish I were good at SpaceChem, but all I have are pipe dreams.

For my money, überpuzzler SpaceChem is still the best indie game we’ve seen in 2011. You can read Wot I Think here, but don’t just take my word for it- even renowned X-Men author Kieron Gillen said that it’d been a long time since he’d played something “so obviously genius”.

As of this weekend, developer Zachtronics has just upended another frothing beaker of content into the deadly vat of entertainment that is SpaceChem. By which I mean they’ve updated it. I’m talking Team Fortress 2 tie-in items, I’m talking 12 new levels, I’m even talking about a new level editor and inbuilt sharing options to make sure there’ll always be some hateful new puzzle that will paralyse your mind like a King Cobra. Details after the jump.

Here you go:

* A brand spanking new Level Editor, letting all our fans design their own research assignments
* The Journal of Reaction Engineering, delivering 12 all new levels for more mind bending challenges
* SHARE your levels with your friends through our built in web uploader
* Earn Steam Achievements if you use a Steam account, including Director of Moustache Research and Chief Executive Officer
* Compare your scores with your Steam friends Think you’re better at optimizing for symbol count than your friends? Prove it!
* Three special TF2 item puzzles that grants Moustachium Alloy in TF2. What does it do? Who knows!
* Bug and Usability fixes, making it easier than ever to play SpaceChem

I already almost lost one of my friends forever after I he read my SpaceChem review. He has a mathematical mind, and the game took a hold of it and smacked it about like a ball between two cybernetically-enhanced female tennis pros. When I saw him a week later he was a pale thing, and gave off all the heat and motion of a piece of toast, but at least he’d completed the game.

I fear what this update, with its potentially unlimited supply of levels and competetiveness, might do to him. I should probably pop over to his house with some Mars bars and a tinfoil cloak.


  1. Ba5 says:

    “* Bug and Usability fixes, making it easier than ever to play SpaceChem”

    Is it easier now, or just the same difficulty, but easier to interact with?

  2. Juiceman says:

    Probably some kind of TF2 hat

    Btw, I dunno if yall heard in the UK, but…OSAMA’s DEAD SON. WOOOOOO

    • bill says:

      Er.. ok. yay? But that did give me a cool image of you in a cowboy hat and shooting pistols in the air while doing a little jig. :-)

    • Heliocentric says:

      Unless you ate thinking of reprocessing him into foodstuffs you are off topic.

    • GenBanks says:


      Osama will never get to play SpaceChem

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Maybe he was so engrossed in Spacechem he didn’t here the knocking on the door.

      Anyway, that means the war(s)’s over, right?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Aaand this is, where the OT discussion ends. Fuckin’ terrorists anyway, those Catholibans.


      I found that the demo of SpaceChem already delivered all the difficulty I needed, plus a nice final boss battle. I don’t know if I really even want to play the full version. I’ve already got a day full of Haskell every 24±12 hours. (Redefinable semicolon baby! Rede-fucking-finable semicolon! ;)

      It’s definitely a very fine game! Very elegant. But somehow I have a even higher standard for “genius”. Like it creating some emotions in me, and it leaving a feeling of a different world view inside me afterwards… on top of such great mechanics.

      Maybe in “SpaceChem 2.0: Holy Fucking Shit Edition!!!1one(lim (x→0) ((sin x)/x))”.;)

  3. The Army of None says:

    Oh man… This may push me over into buying it. Doubly so now that summer is rapidly approaching after this finals week, and I’ll have nothing to exercise my organic chemistry muscles.

    • malexmave says:

      Doo eet! It’s an awesome game. And that comes from someone who is more into the shooter and RTS genre ;-)

  4. KauhuK says:

    Maybe I’ll get this from a sale. I’m on a tight budget and I need to buy Witcher 2 and Dungeon Siege 3 so no money for other games :(.

  5. monkehhh says:

    This is a brilliant, brilliant game and very deserving of your money. It is also very challenging – you will feel like a king when you finally get ‘that’ solution to work.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    Hell, there is a demo which sold me on the game. the only thing is backlog has afforded me to wait for a sale.
    can I just say that inefficient pipes in screen shots make baby Jesus cry.

    • Sassenach says:

      That’s not inefficient piping, that’s backlog storage!

    • Heliocentric says:

      The pipe leading from the source does nothing but delay the start.

    • tomeoftom says:

      Your mum has inefficient piping.

      …wait. Is it more offensive to say it’s actually quite efficient?

  7. President Weasel says:

    Spacechem is ridiculously good, and if you haven’t bought it yet you should. That is all.

    • Lilliput King says:


      Public service announcement: Try the excellent and generous demo! (on the right)

  8. Tetragrammaton says:

    Mmmmm, I love that song

  9. Dominic White says:

    N’thing the glowing praise for the game. It’s a fantastically good puzzle game, and now it’s a bigger, more varied, and probably forever-expanding fantastic puzzle game. There’s new puzzle elements, too, adding quantum tunneling and fission to the mix, as if fusion and uncertainty wasn’t enough.

  10. Ridnarhtim says:

    This game was way too brutally difficult for me. I got so stuck on the second to last planet (where the greek symbols come in) that I just stopped playing.

    • Kester says:

      Yeah, it’s a good design, but I burned out on it pretty quickly too. When you get halfway through the game and just KNOW at the start of each level that it’s going to take you a couple of hours to make a solution that even works, let alone optimising it, it makes it a lot harder to set some time aside to play.

  11. Carra says:

    Been wondering if I’d buy it this weekend.

    I probably just should :)

  12. MasterBoo says:

    My steam says I played it for 50 hours. It’s an incredible game and I’m actually stuck on the last mission :).

    My only problem with it is that the difficulty increases by 1000% in the last levels which was a bit frustrating (I don’t care the game is difficult at all, but these levels were like passing through hell).

  13. Pemptus says:

    To those enamored of SpaceChem – play Codex of Alchemical Engineering by the same author. It’s a free flash game with some wonky save-game mechanics, but otherwise I like it even better than SpaceChem.

  14. Nameless1 says:

    “überpuzzler SpaceChem”
    Hahha, i lol’d hard :D

    For what It’s worth I really recommend this game; bought it at release and totally worth the price.

  15. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Sweet. SpaceChem is my favorite indie game so far this year as well.

  16. Vinraith says:

    It appears that keys purchased directly from Zachtronics now register on Steam, as well, which is always nice. Mind you Steam is not required (and the DRM on the direct-from-developer version is exceedingly light), it’s just an additional option.

  17. Daiv says:

    SpaceChem for President!

  18. jonfitt says:

    Since it activates on Steam, do Zachtronics make more money if I buy direct from them, or from Steam?

    I love Valve, but would rather make sure as much as possible goes to the indie developer.

    • Vinraith says:

      Valve takes a roughly 30% cut of Steam sales, purchases direct from the developer let them keep all (or at least most) of that 30%. It’s always better to buy direct, especially if the product registers on your service of choice anyway.

    • CMaster says:

      Developer will lose 2-5% probably of direct purchases, plus probably some time for billing support. So yeah, buying direct from the developer will pretty much always please the dev. Cliffski talks about it at some point on his blog, can’t find a perfect example right now though.

    • jonfitt says:

      It seems nice of Valve to let the developer’s sales register on Steam and have all the benefits of a Steam-purchased copy but without their cut. I guess they figure there will be more sales through Steam and re-downloads of an indie game aren’t going to cost them much so it all balances out.

    • CMaster says:

      It’s not just indie games. My retail copy of FO:NV could be redownloaded through steam many times, despite them not getting a cut, as well as using Steam Cloud to save content. I think Valve probably figure that getting the store out there makes it worth it. Bandwidth is reasonably cheap these days too.

    • Vinraith says:

      The difference being that FO:NV has Steamworks. That’s not a choice, that’s a DRM-scheme.

      Regardless, in both cases it’s very inexpensive advertising for Steam, and a way to get their store platform onto more computers. It’s not an act of charity, it’s an act of business savvy.

  19. Premium User Badge

    colinmarc says:

    Why would you do this to me!?

  20. pbl64k says:

    For my money, überpuzzler SpaceChem is still the best game I’ve seen in 2011.

    I’s boughts me two, so good it was.

  21. Vinraith says:

    Thanks for this post Quinns, you got me to go back to Spacechem and I managed to solve the puzzle I’d gotten hopelessly stuck on a few months back. Onwards to being stuck on new puzzles!

  22. Thants says:

    “The Journal of Reaction Engineering, delivering 12 all new levels for more mind bending challenges”

    I’m in some real trouble here.

  23. JiminyJickers says:

    Bought this last night, it is good.

    When I first saw it, I thought it was a Chemistry educational game. Didn’t read the Wot I Think which refutes it in the first paragraph, haha. Happy to hand them my money for this excellent game.

  24. kennycrown says:

    I love Valve, but would rather make sure as much as possible goes to the indie developer.