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Boot Up: TIS-100 Dev's SHENZEN I/O Hits Early Access

My head hurts

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.

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.