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.
EXAPUNKS has left Early Access!
— Zachtronics (@zachtronics) October 22, 2018
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.