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Opus Magnum is an exceptional puzzle game available for Linux

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I decided to bite the bullet and actually pick up a personal copy of Opus Magnum, I’m glad I did and it's fantastic.

At first, it’s a little bit like there’s a tiny man inside your brain just shouting “AHH!” as there’s quite a lot to take in, but once you push through the initial brain overload it’s a brilliant experience. I wouldn’t say I was generally a huge puzzle game fan, but Opus Magnum absolutely fascinates me in ways I didn’t think possible.

Honestly, the way I feel about it is a little like Factorio. How you build something that starts off small and it gradually gets more intricate, but for some reason you enjoy the madness—you become proud of your wild designs! Zachtronics’ games have always scared me a little, but this is very different to their usual games. Although, it's actually the opposite of Factorio really, since once you have something working, you want to make it smaller.

What makes it especially interesting, is that there’s many ways to solve a puzzle. It’s not a simple question of having the right answer, but more a question of having the best answer. It’s not too difficult to find a working solution, but making your solution better is what will keep you going. It’s also incredibly amusing when you mess up really badly, but rewarding since you can experiment as much as you like. There's also no timers to worry about and no score you have to reach—just get it working.

Here’s an example from the first time it doesn’t hold your hand, made using the built-in gif maker. I won’t show later puzzles as I don’t want to spoil too much, since experimentation is part of the fun. This was my first working attempt:

Looks sweet right? Well, after watching it I instantly realised I was a bit daft and so I improved it to use less cycles, less money and take up less space:

While my second working solution wasn’t the best, the point is I still managed to complete it. However, it’s a game where you will want to improve on your designs and I ended up spending a good two hours on this one seeing if I could make it better before I even bothered with the next puzzle. It really is that completely engrossing.

It uses a very simpistic form of programming to get everything moving, so it does require a few minutes to learn. It gives you a timeline bar and various actions you can perform on each moving part like so:

You program in pieces to rotate, pick up, drop, repeat and so on. The presentation is simply fantastic, including the handy shortcuts to quickly place bits of logic on the timeline.

Once you do finish a level, you're given a results and score screen which shows how you did against your friends. It's a good way to promote a little healthy competition to get you thinking. I will admit, seeing how much people spent and seeing their cycles really did make me go back, multiple times, to see if I could do any better.

What makes experimentation super simple, is that you can copy any of your solutions, rename them and tinker away until you're happy with the results, without messing with your other solution. This allows for a frustration-free experience not often found in puzzle games, especially for me when this type of game usually make me flip a keyboard in annoyance. I've had nothing but a smooth and enjoyable experience that's really been worth every single penny spent.

To top it all off, it has Steam Workshop support, so if you do ever get bored of improving your designs in the campaign, you can make your own and try out others.

I’ve played a lot of my time in Opus Magnum on my laptop in bed, a very unusual way for me to relax which says two things about it overall: It’s bloody good and performs well enough to be a good laptop game. This could easily be my favourite game from 2017.

The craziest thing—GOG refused to have it on their store. I don’t want to get into a long discussion about the pros and cons of the curation that GOG do vs stores like Steam, but in this case I think they’re nuts. So for now, it’s Humble Store (DRM free plus a Steam key) or Steam directly.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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tuubi Jan 11, 2018
Gameplay seems a lot like other Zachtronics games. I actually think you'd like Shenzhen I/O as well, Liam. TIS-100 as well, if you can get over the retro UI.

Thanks for the review! As if I didn't already know I want this game...
Ardje Jan 11, 2018
Wait... They are doing curation at GoG? I thought all that matters was no DRM and it has to be old. I mean, there is a load of crap at GoG, just like on Steam. And Opus Magnum is no crap. It reminds me of SpaceChem. And yes, TIS-100 is cool. I'd just wish it was a bit more intelligent like a full blown transputer emulator. Who doesn't remember the T800 and T414... Man... If I read the wikipedia article it feels as such a loss that I never was able to afford a T800.
Just like missing out on the intel 8089... But I digress..
sub Jan 11, 2018
I simply love the Zachtronics games.

Only issue I have on Linux is that my notebook is almost melting.
For whatever reason these simplistic games (presentation wise) seem to require a lot of resources on Linux.
At least for my configuration Haswell+integrated graphics.
This is different on Windows for the very same machine.
kazriko Jan 11, 2018
This game was tied with Finding Paradise for best Linux game last year for me. I kind of like TIS-100 more, but this is the best one they've made since that.
Cyril Jan 11, 2018
QuoteThe craziest thing—GOG refused to have it on their store. I don’t want to get into a long discussion about the pros and cons of the curation that GOG do vs stores like Steam, but in this case I think they’re nuts. So for now, it’s Steam or the Humble Store, Humble even have the DRM free version too.

I'm agree. That pretty sucks, even i like GOG a lot.
rstrube Jan 27, 2018
Here's my solution for stabilized water! https://imgur.com/a/AYlTh
clapbr Jan 19, 2019
I had some input lag/slow cursor until I changed ~/.local/share/Opus Magnum/*somebignumber/config.cfg
edit UseSoftwareCursor = True to UseSoftwareCursor = False
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