Look at you, hacker. No, really look at you, look at that gorgeous scarf. And those sunglasses are simply sublime. I hope your code tampering is as good as your fashion sense, because spidery hacking sim Exapunks is coming out later in October. It’s been in early access, yup, but now it’s jacking out completely. Free from the system, man.
October 22nd. That’s the date of true release. Although talking about the release of a Zachtronics puzzle game is becoming academic, since Exapunks was brought to early access in a more or less finished state, using the process more to correct small bugs and make tiny tweaks. They did the same with alchemical puzzler Opus Magnum. As a fan of ridiculous patch notes, this is unfortunate, because it means updates are small and functional and straightforward. You will never find “shark no longer swims upside down” in the patch notes of a Zachlike. But it does mean you get a full-fat game right from the start (not counting the 9 bonus levels that were recently added).
Anyway, if you’ve been holding out for bug-free hacking, that’s your date. I still haven’t unlocked the second zine (it comes packaged with printable hacking mags that help you through the missions) and my brain is mostly mush after an hour of programming spiderbots to hack cash machines. But I did find Exapunks a satisfying puzzle game. Alex Wiltshire also liked it, and had an interview with designer Zach Barth about the limits (or lack thereof) in hacking games.
It’s also caused those smartypants show-offs to creep out of the circuitboards. I’m talking about clever players who have created songs and minigames using the in-game GameBoy-like device, the Redshift. I have no idea how they manage this stuff using just words and numbers and little spider machines, but they do. Zachtronics have also released the Redshift itself on Steam as a free demo that lets you play other hackers’ creations just by plugging in their PNG cartridges. Right on.