SHENZHEN I/O [official site], the latest Zachlike from the creator of TIS-100 and SpaceChem, today properly launched after six weeks in early access. It’s a puzzle game about assembling circuits from components then writing code to drive them, while poring over a manual for help and getting to know your new co-workers a little. SHENZHEN I/O was already a cracking game when Brendan prematurely evaluated it in October but Zachtronics have given it a nice bit of polish since. Along with the usual bug fixes and balance tweaks you’d expect, they’ve also added new components, including a synthesiser, and oh, a bonus campaign of extra puzzles.
My favourite change from the whole early access process, mind, is this:
- Added a new puzzle to the main campaign based on one of Zach’s failed business ideas from before he started Zachtronics.
Here’s what Brendan concluded about the early access version, and I’d wager most of that applies to the full release too:
“The thing to take away, apart from a subtle sense of numberdread, is this: SHENZHEN I/O is a polished and compelling puzzler. It is also a very traditional Zachlike, which is not something I consider a complaint. These games have always elicited an appropriately binary response in me. It’s one of the few subgenres which can make me feel both like a dribbling buffoon and a superhuman genius who has come to take over the world’s technology firms using drones and maths – all within the same 30 minutes. To those not afraid to tackle the manual – get yourself ready. You’re going to need some brainspace.”
A small launch discount brings Shenzhen I/O down to £9.89/13,49€/$13.49 on Steam.