Posts Tagged ‘Opus Magnum’

What Works And Why: Opus Magnum


What Works And Why is a new monthly column where Gunpoint and Heat Signature designer Tom Francis digs into the design of a game and analyses what makes it good.

Opus Magnum is a puzzle game about designing machines that arrange and combine shiny little atoms to turn lead to gold, and other fanciful alchemy. It’s by Zachtronics, whose games follow such a recognised pattern that they’ve become a genre: the Zachlike. SpaceChem, Infinifactory, Shenzhen IO, and now Opus Magnum all involve designing an automated system to process some given input, and produce some desired output. But it’s a particular quirk of this format I want to dive into, and it’s one Opus Magnum does especially well: optimisation. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum launches on GOG, after initial rejection

The DRM-free digital game store GOG have reversed a baffling curation decision and started selling Opus Magnum, the wonderful machine-building puzzler from the studio behind Spacechem and Shenzhen I/O. GOG had initially declined to stock the game and gave developers Zachtronics a mysterious explanation that it “did not pass our internal curation system”. Given that Opus Magnum is one of the best PC games of 2017 and that GOG already stocked several similar Zachtronics games, y’know, it was weird. With digital stores drawing different lines in the virtuasand over which games they will and won’t stock, this stuck out as an unexpected casualty of curation. Read the rest of this entry »

Best PC games of 2017


The calendar’s doors have been opened and the games inside have been eaten. But fear not, latecomer – we’ve reconstructed the list in this single post for easy re-consumption. Click on to discover the best games of 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum whirs out of Early Access


The age of machines has begun. I’m not talking about world conquering, human enslaving robots from the Matrix or what have you, nor the warped logic of paperclip-producing AIs. I’m talking about clunky factory lines producing wizard-viagra (‘stamina’ potions), and cobbled together contraptions that eventually churn out stain-removers. Now that I think about it, those were two unfortunate examples to use next to each other.

What I’m trying to say is that ace puzzler Opus Magnum left early access on Thursday, so you’ve got no excuse not to jump in and start building machines of your own.

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Zach of Zachtronics: “I really like making my dumb little games that don’t matter”

Hubble, bubble, toil and puzzle

The alchemical puzzler Opus Magnum has a few of us at House RPS scratching our heads and shouting “a-ha!” before giddily sharing our twisted contraptions in GIF form. It’s real good, friends. The studio behind it, Zachtronics, is headed by Zach Barth. I spoke to him about the game’s machines, his short stint at Valve, and the reasons he sold his own company. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Into The Breach, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and “running away”

Tactical retreats

Cowardice is a virtue. So says the team on this week’s RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. That’s because our theme is “running away” – games that encourage you to flee from danger, or that give you a choice between fight and flight. Adam will run from the soldiers of Arma or the post-apocalyptic antagonists of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Brendan will scarper from poor odds in For Honor or Overwatch, while Alice only pretends to run away in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, tricking her foes into giving chase before ambushing them like some kind of velociraptor. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum player makes an alchemical computer

Does compute

By the laws of the game-o-sphere, a computer made from the marbles and metal of alchemy-based puzzler Opus Magnum almost seems like an inevitability. Alchemy and code fan Peer Backhaus has built a – ahem – “Brainfuck interpreter”, which is a real computing term and not something I expected to see in my emails when I came into work this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum’s most monstrous machines

'opeless Magnum

Opus Magnum is Zachtronics’ best game and you’ll have to extricate me from an impossible web of metal talons if you want to argue otherwise. It’s both understandable and open-ended. I spent almost ten hours on a single puzzle last week, not because I couldn’t decipher a solution but because I wanted a better solution. In the end, the stain remover I invented was a terrible, hacky mess. But I was proud of it. Like all of nature’s most wondrous creations, it had 17 arms. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s machina: Our proudest Opus Magnum machines

I'm not even sure what this does. But it works.

The fever of alchemical engineering has descended on the RPS team like a dank fog. Opus Magnum is the new Zachtronics puzzler that asks you to make some hair gel out of salt and a hangover cure out of marbles. It’s really good. We’ve already shown you some mechanical marvels and talked about it on the podcast but since the game includes a “record GIF” button, we wanted to show off three of our own proudest creations. Come see the clockwork beauty of our well-oiled machines. Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

Alice is on holiday and she’s taken all the games with her. Luckily some developers released new games after she’d left, so the rest of us still have something to play. Our choices are below, but we want to know from you: what are you playing in this weekend of plenty?

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Podcast: Guilty pleasures and Opus Magnum


It’s a simple theme this week with the Electronic Wireless Show. We’re talking about guilty pleasures – the games that make us feel a wee bit embarrassed but not so much that we won’t squirrel away at them while grinning  like idiots. Alec feels a bit sheepish bringing his toy steering wheel to work when planning to play American Truck Simulator. Meanwhile, Matt remembers how he enjoyed the passage of time while picking flax in a Runescape field, and Brendan attempts to explain the relaxing sea-based boredom of Sailaway.

We’ve also been tinkering with alchemical puzzler Opus Magnum from Zachtronics, fiddling with small machines to produce precious metals, hangover cures and the kinds of “stamina potions” you might find spamming up your junk folder. Come listen, guilt-free. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum’s alchemy machines are gorgeous


I am raising my head from the alchemy desk to tell you: Opus Magnum is out now and it is good. It’s the new puzzle game from Zachtronics which crept up on us this week. This studio’s puzzlers have a definite flavour to them. They’re about fiddling with machines, hacking together a solution out of strange gadgets and mental duct tape before revealing a loudly-ticking device and feeling impossibly proud of yourself. This is no different, except that your end results are flipping gorgeous.
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Opus Magnum: a new puzzler from Infinifactory creator

Hubble, bubble, toil and puzzle

Is there any joy like the humble Zachlike? Don’t answer that. Zach Barth, creator of head-scratchers like Spacechem and SHENZHEN I/O, continues his slow march towards filling the planet earth with intricately complex puzzle games. His development studio has just announced Opus Magnum [official site] a game of dark machinery and darker alchemy in which you must use a “transmutation engine” to create “vital remedies, precious gemstones, deadly weapons, and more”. You will be pleased to learn that it too has a built-in solitaire game. Read the rest of this entry »