Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love is the kind of game you fire up when you know you want to play something but aren't quite sure what you're in the mood for. The delightfully abstract experience from Doppler Interactive puts you in a gray world and says "now go out and do stuff". That "stuff" involves bumping into trees, painting the ground different colors, knocking corners with other shapes, collecting some of the many strange items hidden throughout the environment, and just generally rolling around to see what you can see. Somehow, it's bizarrely entertaining.
Chucklefish's hotly anticipated indie sci-fi sandbox sim finally reaches playable beta. Fight, mine, craft, and explore your way, along or with friends, through a boundless procedurally generated universe aboard your own spaceship. When each planet has its own randomly created monsters and environments, you never know what you'll find.
Troubleopolis! City of Action! And Adventure! And Driving! And Shooting! And, uh, Dating Sims! It's a real multi-genre kind of place in Retro City Rampage, a humorous open-world sandbox adventure game by VBlank Entertainment that sends up just about about every bit of 80s and 90s game culture you could hope to bring to your nostalgia-addled mind. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the early Grand Theft Auto releases (it actually began its decade of development under the name Grandtheftendo), but this wholly new and wholly comical experience stands on its own as a mad, mad parody with plenty of in-jokes to absorb!
ScrumbleShip is an in-progress sandbox-style game of ship construction and combat simulation, all accomplished using a massive list of building materials and a surprisingly smart heat simulation model. Built around simple block placements, you have complete freedom of movement in this game, allowing you to jet yourself in any direction so you can construct the most accurate (or most hilariously inaccurate) piece of space-faring machinery you've ever seen. Want a tiny escape pod all your own? Done. How about a massive star base? Orbital station? Or maybe even a Death Sta— er, moon?!
Originally developed by Kepuli Games for the 7 Day FPS Challenge, then polished up to win 2nd in the Assembly GameDev Competition, Force: Leashed is a first-person gravity-based physics puzzle game. It combines the structure of the Quake engine with the mechanics of Auditorium and the overall design sense of Portal (if GLaDOS never spoke and handed out gravity guns). And despite the title, Jar Jar doesn't show up once. That's gotta be worth half a point right there.
Just over two years ago from this day, a relatively unknown indie programmer called Notch posted about a work-in-progress version of a sandbox building game on the TIGSource forums. It was called Minecraft, and at the time, people thought it was really very cool. Fast forward to the present and Minecraft has sold over four million copies, been through extended alpha and beta phases, spawned the Mojang indie studio, and gained so much popularity, the launch of its official version took place at a Las Vegas convention dubbed MineCon. That's an impressive feat for any game, let alone one started by a single person. But now, Minecraft is officially out. No more beta, no more alpha, it's here. Time to lose yourself in a voxel world all over again!
Terraria, a new action/adventure/creativity game from Re-Logic, is perfect for a sand emperor like myself. It offers the thrill of discovery mixed with the chance to meticulously construct your own little village, city or empire. And before you think it: yes, it's a lot like Minecraft, only in 2D!
Following in the tradition of the classic sandbox games (Sand Sand Sand and Powder Game), The Powder Toy by HardWIRED is a small download which stretches the boundaries of what is possible with a few simple elements. In fact, you can do almost anything with it, the only limit is your imagination.