The creator of SpaceChem, TIS-100, and Infinifactory is back with another making-things-work puzzle game. Zachtronics last night launched SHENZHEN I/O [official site] onto Steam Early Access, letting people have a crack at building circuits from electronic components then program them by writing in an assembly language. Easy peasy! Zachtronics say Shenzhen I/O is already “highly polished and would be perfectly acceptable to release in a traditional fashion” but they’re again turning to early access for feedback to make it even better – maybe from you?
So! There you are, starting a new job at Shenzhen Longteng Electronics Co., Ltd. in China’s electronics heart, having to build circuits – with components from logic gates to LCD screens – and write code to power them. No problem. That can’t be difficult. Especially when you can refer to your thirty-page manual full of helpful diagrams and… wait, is that page in Chinese? Ah. And as there pleasingly often are in Zachlikes, there’s a story running through it, this time with e-mails and whatnot from your co-workers.
As well as a story campaign, it has a sandbox mode to tinker in.
If this is your bag, do also check out programmer Matt Sayer’s thoughts on program-o-games.
Zachtronics have previously taken Infinifactory and TIS-100 through early access, so they do know what they’re doing here. Like those two, they say SHENZEN I/O is basically done as it hits early access, with everything they’d planned intact, but they’re hoping player feedback can mega-polish it. They suggest they might add new puzzles, new parts, new tools, maybe even Steam Workshop support – it depends on what people think it needs.
If you want in now, it’s £9.89/13,49€/$13.49 through Steam Early Access for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you’d rather wait, Zachtronics say the full release will likely come in a month or two.