I hated chemistry in school. You know that meme about math problems? The one about word math problems and the answer is "Purple because aliens don't wear hats". That one. That is how I felt and still feel about chemistry, engineering, and math. I have no idea where I even got SpaceChem, because I sure as hell wouldn't have bought it, unless I now have a sleep-buying condition I don't know about. At any rate, SpaceChem sat in my library for a very long time and it was only because I wanted the trading cards did I fire it up.
It sat playing in the background for a little bit, and then I noticed the soundtrack. Such an elaborate soundscape, I had to take a look at this game, even if it fried my brain.
The UI is stylish and minimalist, everything I would expect from a game with the words "Space" and "Chemistry" referenced in it. What I wasn't expecting was the rich story unfolding within the game. Like a science fiction unraveling through the planets explored with the completion of a set of puzzles found on each planet.
I won't lie, the puzzles involve chemistry and engineering (to a degree... hur hur) but don't let that put you off. Initially, I could feel my brain melt out of my ears as my senses felt overloaded with symbols, flashbacks to chemistry lab and purple because aliens don't wear hats.
But that soon subsided as I got stuck in with the tutorial and slowly tackled a couple of the earlier puzzles. There is a fluidity and beauty to this puzzle game that is perhaps what makes mathematicians, scientists and engineers smile when something goes right. I hate to admit it, but I felt it compelling at times to just watch a result replay. And there is a great sense of achievement when you solve a puzzle!
There is a lot at your fingertips within this game - there's even a periodic table that you can review - but don't let that put you off. I can only play the game in doses, but the music is perfect to thinking and solving a logical puzzle, and that is ultimately what this game comes down to: logic with chemistry elements. I imagine anyone studying engineering or chemistry may find great joy within this game - and it could even be a great learning tool to someone trying to master some of the key concepts of the subject.
If you can get pass some of symbols and terminology (and stop giggling at the term "waldo") then you will not be wasting your time exploring the puzzles and story within SpaceChem. The soundtrack alone is worth it.
I never thought I would say it, but SpaceChem is a little gem of a puzzle game. I recommend it.