Game Review: Opus MagnumBack
Opus Magnum is a captivating puzzle game. It’s set in a stylish, pseudo-futuristic fantasy world where alchemy is a fundamental part of life and devices can turn water to fuel, lead to gold, etc. The machines you build move and shift with mechanical clunks. The mix of science and magic reinforces the idea that anything is possible, but it’s takes hard work to figure out how.
There’s no “correct” solution to anything. Every puzzle gives you an alchemical product to create and near-infinite freedom to build the machine that creates it. But that doesn’t mean Opus Magnum doesn’t challenge you. There are three criteria it keeps track of: How long it takes you to assemble the target product six times, how many hex tiles you take up while doing it, and how much all the machine parts you’ve used cost. Frequently, those three qualities are in direct conflict with each other. And, despite the relatively straightforward goal of each level, Opus Magnum has a lot of different parts that you must learn to control.
After completing a level, you are presented with leaderboards based on the three criteria of speed, size, and cost. You can see the rough averages of what most people managed to hit for that puzzle, as well as specific bests for anyone on your friends list. While just passing a level isn’t too difficult with enough trial and error, finding tricks to refine solutions and compete on the leaderboards can be seriously challenging – especially in that game’s later levels.
Opus Magnum’s campaign does have an overarching story, putting you in the shoes of a young alchemist who is unexpectedly thrown into the middle of a pair of feuding royal houses, and though it’s written well, it’s definitely inconsequential to the puzzles themselves. The game is basically a collection of brilliant puzzles that you’ll always want to replay and re-solve.