Puzzle game

Puzzle game studio Zachtronics prepares its latest game

Puzzle game developer Zachtronics is currently working on its swan song, and it looks like the studio is planning to release with a bang. Last Call BBS is a game about playing cracked games on a retro computer console called Z5 Powerlance and finding strange gems in the process. It will also be the studio’s last game.

Similar to other Zachtronics games like Shenzen I/O and Exapunks, Last Call BBS comes as the interface to a bespoke computing environment. In this case, it’s the Z5 Powerlance, a kind of high-tech version of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum or Apple IIe. The premise is that a bartender has loaded this machine up with access to a bunch of cool puzzle games to try, and each feels like a trip down a Zachlikes-themed memory lane.

Some of the games look like standard solitaire clones (although you can bet there will be a twist to figure it out). Another involves assembling conveyor belts and other industrial machinery and programming control units, while another seems to be about producing bits of organic meat for some creepy cosmic aliens. Then there’s one that involves assembling and painting gunpla models.

The Last Call BBS blurb describes it as “the latest game from Zachtronics”. On Twitter, a fan asked if this meant “last” or “last”, and the company confirmed that it was the last they planned to do with a simple and straightforward answer.

Zachtronics was founded by designer Zach Barth in 2000 and has produced 13 games, including Infinifactory, Ironclad Tactics, and Mobius Front ’83. Last Call BBS will be the fourteenth game from the studio and is set to launch on July 5 on Steam.