The Chemist bubbles up into Steam

One and only black-market chemistry simulator celebrates early access release.

The Chemist

We’ve all been there. Strapped for cash, living in a basement, with no skills except a DIY chemistry hobby. OK, maybe not that last part. But if you had the ability to get rich quick by selling dodgy concoctions to shady businesses looking to cut costs, you’d do it, right? Well, hopefully not. But if you ever enjoyed chemistry class at school, The Chemist is for you. It allows you to run a black-market chemistry business and get creative with all the chemicals you can think of, without the risk of chemical burns.

The Chemist is the latest of a long line of over-realistic simulators you never knew you wanted, but let’s be clear: this isn’t just some modern day RPG potion crafter. This game has fully realistic physics for all actions, so you actually have to pick up and pour the chemicals into the beakers yourself, and you will get it wrong and spill sulphuric acid all over your furniture, or smash the containers on the floor, during your first few tries. Your job is to grow a business by creating sellable products, be it soap or baby lotion, and you will spend a lot of time doing the basic business admin of taking orders and sending them off. But, this is also a sandbox game, where you have access to liquids from crude oil to chlorine to milk, and can mix them in any way you want, just to see what happens. If you want to make and sell hallucinogenic marmalade, you can probably do that.

This game is a lot bigger and more complex than it first appears, with a pretty well-realized environment complete with dynamic features such as weather and trash collection. And the scope for creativity is really amazing. You can stick to making foods and cosmetics, to your own recipe (motor oil flavoured soy sauce sound good?) but if you want the big bucks, you will have to make some slightly less wholesome products, and things can start getting tricky when scripted events in the outside world (of which there are over 800) affect your supply chain and profit margins.

The Chemist, which is celebrating its early access release with a free giveaway competition on IndieDB, has had very good reviews from buyers, although some are reporting that it’s still a little unstable. The game has actually been on sale for a couple of months now, and creators Tensixfour have been very responsive with bug fixes and updates. The Chemist looks like a fun game with a unique concept and a great sandbox element, and will teach you a lot about chemistry in the process. Buy it on Steam, and if you like quirky simulators then check out Game Dev Tycoon too, which has now released on Android.