It's a first-person logic puzzle game about constructing self-sufficient, three-dimensional factory machines through the use of individual building blocks. What makes it stand out from other puzzle games is its systemic nature. Apart from some of the tutorials, the player's job is never to find the developers' predetermined solution, but to create their own instead. The puzzles are composed of resource containers and an end goal, sometimes also minor terrain elements. That's about it. Everything else depends on your understanding of the various systems and ability to come up with creative solutions. Thankfully, the game is always perfectly fair.
In fact, it's the amount of creativity this game allows that fascinates me the most. I've looked at some other people's solutions to contrast with my own, and I couldn't believe what I saw and how stupid it made me feel in comparison!
It's Minecraft with a purpose, basically.
This game also does what a lot of great puzzle games do: It actively rewires your brain to better operate within the game logic. Instead of thinking with portals, this time you're thinking with conveyor belts and challenges that once seemed flat-out insurmountable will soon look ridiculously easy in hindsight. The learning curve is a bit steep, but it's an incredibly satisfying feeling to see your precious little machine that you've put so much thought and effort into finally work as intended after hours of planning and fine-tuning.
I'm usually not too fond of systemic game design, but the end result here is truly special. Far from a graphical powerhouse, no story to speak of - and yet I can't wait to get back to it tomorrow. Currently discounted on PSN. Best 8€ I've spent in a looong time.
...I think my syntax is even poorer than usual, but I've been playing this infernal thing the entire evening and now my brain is completely mush. Also, I'm hungry.
Here's the recent Matthewmatosis video that first introduced me to this game:
Here's an excellent video by Mark Brown dedicated to puzzle games:
And here are four different gifs from the exact same early level that perfectly exemplify the insane mechanical diversity this game allows:
- Spoiler: show