Normally I play Civilization V Scenarios and almost only that. Recently though I can’t make screenshots of the games anymore, which makes “playing these scenarios” and “preparing for blog posts” utterly difficult. Luckily Steam offers a wide range of solutions. Namely other games. So I distracted myself with SpaceChem, a nice chemistry puzzle game.
NO WORRIES: I didn’t love chemistry in school and there is no need to know anything about it. The game has a great learning curve and you’ll be up to speed in no time.
Since I play no games without achievements (gamification really works on me), here’s my
SpaceChem Steam Achievement Guide
Even though SpaceChem puzzles, once they’re finished, look extremely complex, they’re relatively easy to build. Here’s a gameplay sneak peek from one of the earlier levels (first level of stage 3):
Unlocked 25 Jun 2017 @ 3:29pm
Reach the south pole of Sernimir IV.
Junior Permutation Technician
Unlocked 2 Jul 2017 @ 3:00am
Beat the assignment “Challenge: In-Place Swap”.
Unlocked 5 Jul 2017 @ 4:35pm
Beat the assignment “No Ordinary Headache” using only one reactor.
Junior Performance Specialist
Unlocked 6 Jul 2017 @ 4:40pm
Beat the assignment “Nothing Works” in under 1000 cycles.
Beating this assignment was an incredibly close call for me: I made it in exactly 1000 cycles and I didn’t know where else to speed it up without rebuilding the entire thing:
Unlocked 10 Jul 2017 @ 1:02pm
Beat the assignment “No Thanks Necessary” in under 2200 cycles.
Unlocked 12 Jul 2017 @ 4:51pm
Beat the assignment “Challenge: Going Green”.
Unlocked 16 Jul 2017 @ 2:34am
Beat the assignment “Challenge: Applied Fusion”.
Science is an Indoor Activity
Unlocked 16 Jul 2017 @ 4:17am
Beat 3 published ResearchNet assignments.
These achievements are about solving the puzzles created by the community and released in regular cycles. There’s some crazy complex ones, but fortunately you’ll find plenty easier puzzles. So regardless whether you are an ambitious SpaceChemist or just a busy Steam Achievement hunter — there are puzzles for you.
Here’s one of mine that was basically about building a 2^4 decision tree, to drop 16 Helium atoms on the stage, whilst outputting 15 Hydrogen atoms:
Junior Publication Reviewer
Unlocked 16 Jul 2017 @ 7:00am
Beat 10 published ResearchNet assignments.
To make it easier for you, here’s the first 10 ResearchNet assignments I finished
1.1 Tunnels I
1.1 Tunnels II
1.2 Fission I
1.2 Fission II
1.2 Fission III
1.7 Industrial Methanol
1.8 Sulfuric Acid
1.9 Wöhler Synthesis
1.12 The Big Cleanup
2.5 Fusion Germane
Cost Control Specialist
Unlocked 16 Jul 2017 @ 2:30pm
Beat the assignment “Falling” using two or fewer reactors.
Distinguished Publication Reviewer
Unlocked 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:13pm
Beat 20 published ResearchNet assignments.
And here are my finished ResearchNet assignments #11-20:
3.3 Life Prep Work
5.1 PAX CHallenge 3
7.1 Misfortune Modifier
7.1 Fructose Factory
7.2 Sun Simulator
7.4 Dessication Station
8.1 Dewer Benzene
8.3 Fenton Industries
8.6 Waste Gas as described further above is actually much harder than I though, but it looked so simple and once it got me hooked I really really wanted to finish it. So this makes 21 finished ResearchNet assignments 😉
Senior Efficiency Specialist
Unlocked 22 Jul 2017 @ 9:09am
Beat the assignment “Molecular Foundry” using two or fewer reactors.
This one I “cheated” and looked up a solution on the web, after trying it myself for hours… 🙁
Performance Specialist II
Unlocked 23 Jul 2017 @ 3:15pm
Beat the assignment “Gas Works Park” in under 2700 cycles.
Here’s an assignment or rather a solution I’m really proud of: I bet the challenge by more than 50%!
Materials Engineer of the People
Unlocked 25 Jul 2017 @ 12:40pm
Beat the assignment “Challenge: KOHCTPYKTOP”.
Senior Performance Specialist
Unlocked 18 Sep 2017 @ 10:04am
Beat the assignment “Sigma-Ethylene” in under 6000 cycles.
This one is really hard. But not super crazy hard. I recommend trying this first, as it is a so much more rewarding experience.
After this I cheated on the levels
Chief Executive Officer
Unlocked 3 Oct 2017 @ 4:12am
Beat the game!
Aaaaand the 4th level I cheated: End of the Line. I’ll detail this in the conclusion, but these were just crazy hard.
Moustache Research Assistant
Unlocked 3 Oct 2017 @ 4:33am
Beat the assignment “Moustachium 602”.
Unlocked 3 Oct 2017 @ 5:34am
Beat the assignment “Moustachium 604”.
A bit harder, but still “normal” difficulty.
Director of Moustache Research
Unlocked 3 Oct 2017 @ 6:00am
Beat the assignment “Moustachium 608”.
Some brainwork, but moderate compared to the campaign.
Interstellar Transportation Specialist
Unlocked 5 Oct 2017 @ 10:31am
Beat the assignment “Collapsar” in the 63 Corvi campaign.
Finally: The bonus campaign made up for the too hard (thus for me unrewarding) end of the standard campaign. I made it all by myself. A great feeling!
SpaceChem Steam Achievements – Conclusion
SpaceChem is an excellent puzzle game with a great learning curve! It got me hooked immediately. Incredibly good value for money: 80 hours play time for 10€!
I didn’t mind the story much, but went straight from puzzle to puzzle. The main campaign was too difficult for me in the end, which was frustrating. After having spent several hours across several evenings on 4 levels (each!), I used help from the web.
The DLC campaign made up for it with challenging but solvable puzzles and that huge satisfaction in the end of having finished the game without external help. Rewards are: A deeply satisfying feeling and a nice forum signature badge: