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Exapunks hacks its way out of early access, GIF'd for bragging rights

A highly optimised run through early access

If there's three things Zachlikes have become known for, it's programming-inspired puzzling, histograms and animated victory recordings to gloat over on Twitter - now Exapunks has all three. After a brief tour of early access, grungy retro-cyberpunk hacking sim Exapunks is free to rampage across the internet. While no patch notes have rolled out for the official version 1.0 release, a patch a few days ago introduced the animated victory GIFs we all know and love, displaying scores and EXA movements, although not the code within.

As with Zachtronics's recent releases, Exapunks was nearly complete and quite polished when it entered early access. Those months were mostly used to tune things up, balance a few particularly ornery puzzles and implement some quality-of-life features. The biggest thing added in early access was a set of nine extra puzzles, following the lives of the secondary characters you bumped into in the in-game chat network. Another nice features was a standalone version of the Redshift Player, a virtual console programmable in-game which runs virtual cartridges embedded in image files.

The end result is admittedly less accessible than the delightfully tactile Opus Magnum, but yet another slick brain-mangler from the studio, praised by Brendy in his early review here. While my favourite Zachlike remains Infinifactory (I just handle its blocky 3D puzzle-spaces better), I've enjoyed what I've solved so far in Exapunks, and I aim to make time to master its assembly-based code sometime. My only regret is that I didn't get the physical edition, including zines, 3D glasses an an Ominous Lore Envelope. A few more of these copies are available direct from the developer.

Exapunks is out now on Steam and Humble, 20% discounted for launch, bringing it down to £12.39/€13.49/$15.99. The standalone TEC Redshift Player is available here, and free.

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