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.
Plunked into a 2D, side-scrolling world randomly generated and populated with dangerous dungeons, and you'll need to smash, stab, dig, and otherwise destroy your environment to gather the supplies you'll need to craft and survive day-to-day. Turns out in a great battle, the kingdom was destroyed and all its people carted off to dungeons, and only you can save them.
With the Minecraft and Terraria and other sandbox games going strong, Junk Jack X from Pixbits arrives with a lot of great ideas in tow. It's a sequel to the 2011 Junk Jack release that adds a number of new features and improvements, including multiplayer support for both online and offline play, creative and adventure modes, Retina graphics, and thousands of items to find, treasures to uncover, and objects to be built. It's one of the most full-featured sandbox games on any mobile device and will easily keep you glued to your iOS device for hours on end.
Gather your tools and find a comfortable chair, Terraria has rolled onto iPhone and iPad! The universal app ported by 505 Games shrinks sandbox adventure world found in the PC/Mac downloadable version of the game, rearranging the menus and grafting a couple of virtual joysticks onto the screen. It looks, feels and plays just like the original, and even with its few missing features, it's a solid port of Terraria through and through.
It's the end of the world, but turn that frown upside down, because the apocalypse has never been so cheerful! In this free iOS simulation, you're in charge of rebuilding a utopian society in space... by yourself. Fortunately for you, you've got an endless supply of incoming clones, and a bunch of genetic material to mix and match to create more jobs and more buildings. A vibrant pixel style and cheeky sense of humour make this one light, addictive casual sim that's hard to put down.
The world of creativity games continues to expand, but this time it's on mobile devices! Growtopia, a combined effort from Robot Wants developer Hamumu and Dungeon Scroll creator Robinson Technologies, strips out a lot of the complexities often found in creativity games like Minecraft or Terraria, allowing you to build and decorate your own little world that goes wherever your mobile device goes. Bored on the bus? Growtopia! Don't wanna listen to your boss droning on? Growtopia! Entire evening free? GROWTOPIA!
It's been a while since we've seen serious activity from Kloonigames' Crayon Physics games. From its debut as an experimental project in 2007 to the release of Crayon Physics Deluxe a few years later, the crayon-drawing physics/puzzle game went from being a neat-o toy to OMG WANT MORE. And now, not too long after its initial mobile release, the game has fully grown up and is ready for its HD iPad debut, sporting a few nice extras along with the visual upgrade.
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.
The Sandbox is a creative elemental puzzle game for iOS by Pixowl. It mixes puzzles and challenges with good old fashioned elemental interactions, exactly the kind you would find in classic browser games like Sand Sand Sand. Guiding the all-powerful element dropping utility that is your finger, you can mix dozens of unique elements to create fantastic reactions, functioning machines, crazy Rube Goldberg-like devices, or just paint pretty pictures on your screen. There's plenty of room for creativity, but also a fair amount of thoughtful challenge as well!
The cute and captivating sandbox meets simulation game Clouds & Sheep is going to be the number one reason you can't keep a full charge on your Android device. Combining elements from games like Tiny Tower, Pocket God, Virtual Villagers, and more, you are put in charge of a pasture of lovely little sheep, your only goal being to make them happy and make them multiply. To do that, you'll take control of the weather, utilize dozens of items, and complete challenges that range from zapping things with lightning to rolling sheep into rocks!
Anything good is always better when there is more of it. So when Candyflame comes out with more Isoball, it's a no-brainer that it's going to be awesome. Merging the joy of a Hot Wheels track, a Lego set and a very fragile glass marble, Isoball X1 adds thirty-six more levels, eighteen hidden achievements and a complex sandbox to the player pleasing physics puzzler. Gameplay sounds simple: devise a route to move the ball from start to finish. Yet this feat is made complicated by a multifarious map, prescribed checkpoints and a limited number of building blocks. When you also take into account fun new pieces, a helpful "how to" menu and keyboard shortcuts, it's easy to see why Isoball X1 is not only compellingly addicting, it's more fun!
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!
We all know Minecraft by now, the massively cool 3D sandbox creativity game that lets you explore, craft, and build anything you like. Then there's Terraria, a game that took the same formula and flattened it into a 2D sidescrolling game, adding combat and some other nice extras in the process. Both titles have spawned similar games on numerous platforms, but so far the mobile realm hasn't been a fertile ground for the sandbox genre. Until Junk Jack came along. This 2D pixel-gorgeous game takes the all-too-familiar crafting, digging, and exploration formula to your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, bringing with it an entire world of possibilities.
Well it finally happened. After years of cheating, fighting and swirlying, you've been expelled, and your parents aren't happy. The only thing standing between you and juvenile detention is St. Frost's School for Slackers, Troublemakers and Idiots. The students are a mixed bag of violent sadists and amiable dunces, the teachers aren't much better, and the last new student had a nervous breakdown after two months. But hey, you ruled one school before didn't you? How different can this one be? It's all about doing the right things for the right people... So is the premise of Wasted Youth, the new open world adventure-RPG from GPStudios.
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!
You can keep your CGI mippy-maps and digitally inserted explosions. In my mind, what the best movie stunts need is non-negotiable: An actual dude, in an actual car, making actual jumps (possibly with an actual dude hanging from the rear axle with an actual whip). I suppose then it's a little contradictory that I turn to computer gaming to recreate this real-life experience, but Stunt Crazy, the new physics driving game by The Podge definitely has the right spirit... and a ton of stuff that goes boom. Can't forget that.
Go underwater in Lucas Paahk's stunning new exploration-centric sandbox game about one lovely fish and one big, beautiful ocean. Collect tokens, run races, perform acrobatic tricks and uncover secrets in a truly stunning oceanic environment. Though lacking any sort of story or overarching goal, Azurefish provides a relaxing, atmospheric experience that you can really sink yourself into.
Way back in 2003, XGenStudios released the first version of Stick RPG. A semi-remix of the flash dating sims that were gaining popularity, it focused on humor and role-playing elements rather than scantily clad anime girls. Whatever its inspirations, the tale of a Stickman trying to make it in an unfamiliar world was quite fun and quite well-received. And so fans eagerly waited for a promised updated sequel. And waited. And waited. And years later, Stick RPG 2, a huge open-world RPG, has finally been released. Was SRPG2 worth the wait until "when it was ready"? Unambiguously, yes.
Lots of wizards can shoot fireballs. Blasts of ice and electricity aren't so uncommon either. However, creating large stones out of nothingness requires an MC^2 amount of E, so only the most skilled are able to accomplish it. Such is the power of Wizard Hult, star of the new puzzle platformer from Bloblob. Alas, Earthbending skills ia not, in and of itself, a sufficient display of manliness for the witch who has caught his eye. And so she wait atop her challenge-filled tower waiting for the wizard to show his dedication... and to bring her something shiny and expensive. An innovate platformer with slightly finicky physics.
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.
Elemental Box is a brand new physics webtoy from our beloved sandbox game creator ha55ii. Unlike previous releases such as Powder Game or Irritation Stickman, Elemental Box is focused on the physical interaction of solid objects, not so much the elemental properties of them. It's a bit like a building game, complete with a start/stop timer device, that gives you full freedom to let your creativity run wild.
In February, Isoball 2 came out with 50 levels of block building, ball rolling, isometric madness. Now, Candyflame is back with 75 more levels of puzzling goodness in the imaginatively named Isoball 3. I took forward to playing all 825 levels of Isoball 33, guys.
Sometimes, a game goes through such a metamorphosis during its development cycle that it's practically a different product from its original release. Thus is the case with Minecraft, a little old building game, inspired by Infiniminer and Dwarf Fortress, and created by Markus Persson. Whether you can only play it for fifteen minutes at a time, or end up devoting hours at a stretch (often unintentionally) to it, Minecraft is intensely enjoyable, and an incredible bargain. Minecraft Beta will be out on December 20th, so this is your last opportunity to get the game at Alpha pricing and with the promise of all future updates for free.
Wallace and Gromit are back with another game, a physics puzzler that will well and truly test your noggin. Necessity is the mother of invention and apparently it's a necessity to get Crash-Test-Wallace from one end of a workshop into a waiting chute by inventing contraptions to help him get there. You'll use a variety of apparatus and mechanisms in your creations including balloons, motors, wheels and rockets. There's even dynamite!
Not a lot can be said without spoiling the fun of playing Srdjan Susnic's entry into our CGDC#8. What you should know is that ZOO Director is a truly traditional sandbox gameplay experience. Your aim is to rise above the rank of humble Zoo Novice to claim the glorious title of Zoo Director, by creating and maintaining your very own zoo. Sounds simple, but this quirky little game quickly reveals its challenges.
Have you ever wanted to run your very own tile factory? Of course you have. But manual labour is so yesterday; these days we use electronic tiles to program our conveyor belts and other machinery into delivering our orders safely to their goals! All you have to do is puzzle out what goes where in this simple but tricky game that placed second overall in 2010's Casual Gameplay Design Competition #8.
Physics-heavy, sandbox-style webtoys are loads of fun to play with, and Ha55ii's Powder Game has always stood as one of the best and most feature-rich. Version 7 introduces several new elements to unleash on your screen of chaos/coolness!
A tiny world is at your fingertips, ready for you to shape it. Create a cavern teeming with life... provided you can discover all the creatures hiding inside. Using sandbox tools, manipulate the environment to coax each creature into the open, or how to create them. A charming little simulation tool that encourages experimentation.
Minecraft is a sandbox game that lets you make your own world out of colorful building blocks. Construct a fortress, and then plant tulips on the parapets. Dig a vast network of subterranean tunnels, drop a colony of people down the rabbit hole, and watch them wander. Or, if you're in a particularly metacognitive mood, make a sandbox. Uncage your imagination, and let it take you where it will.
In our inaugural entry for a brand new feature, You Are Games, we are highlighting the latest from Grubby Games: Incredibots 2! Now in open beta, we are leveraging the community and level sharing aspect of the game with a mini-competition instead of a review. Announcing the Jay is Games Incredibots 2 Mini-Brawl!
Petri Purho of Kloonigames has a reputation for churning out experimental prototypes in a matter of days. In 2007 one of these prototypes was the sandbox-style puzzle game Crayon Physics. The premise was simple — use a "crayon" to draw shapes that immediately come alive and interact with each other, the ultimate goal being to collect a star somewhere on the screen. The experiment was a hit, and soon it was announced that a full-fledged version of the game was in the works: Crayon Physics Deluxe.
IncrediBots is a brand new physics-based webtoy from Grubby Games, creator of the Professor Fizzwizzle series. Much like Fantastic Contraption and Line Rider before it, IncrediBots gives you a handful of simple tools and sets you free to explore your creative impulses. Draw shapes, connect them with joints, and tweak their basic properties to create living, moving, and functioning 'bots that can perform any task. You can even make movies, complete with text, than can be shared with the IncrediBots community.
A new webtoy designed to steal your afternoon and be a playground for your creativity. Earth Editor uses similar particle physics and materials as previous games but adds a unique twist: centralized gravity. Drop some sand on the screen and it's pulled to the middle. Add water and you have yourself a little planet. Then you fling some meteors and watch the fun explode!
When you think of what this medium is capable of it's easy to grab for lofty terms like "emergence" or even "organic beauty", but have nothing solid to hold onto. The Powder Game is a rare beacon of hope for those who dream of deep interactivity. It is a fondue of loose goals and free play; creation and destruction wrapped in a tumbling embrace. Oh yeah, this game is that good and will keep you engaged for hours.
Free Rider 2 is a sequel that continues the more interactive spin on the Line Rider formula. Using a large tool set you can sculpt, edit and decorate the environment any way you choose. When you're done, take to the arrow keys and drive your rider through the stage. It's webtoy-meets-level-editor kind of experience, and it's even better than the original.
Ha55ii, creator of the previously reviewed Liquid Webtoy, has put forth another addictive webtoy: Powder Game. It bears a similarity in essence to the Falling Sand games, but takes it a step further with the introduction of wind and air pressure.
Playing with blocks is a universal experience, being not only fun for all ages but also an essential tool in development. Students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology have taken that basic structure and created a marvelous strategy game that involves not only stacking blocks but, in a stroke that some would call brilliant but I call mandatory, knocking your opponent's structures down.
Free Rider is a brand new take on the massively popular Line Rider, which you voted best web toy of 2006. Pete adds several interactive elements to the mix that actually serve to create an entirely different experience. It's more like Line Rider meets Teagames' BMX series, the result of which is a create-your-own-level style of game.
Block Quest, the sequel to Block Action, is a free online platformer game with hundreds of user-created levels to play. Run, climb and wall jump your way through the surprisingly deep variety of stages of varying difficulty and creativity. It's a very simple game idea that has turned to gold in the hands of its users.
Rubicon is an amazing machine-building puzzle game, level editor, and sandbox toy. Gameplay consists of moving crates to one or more targets for each level. Each crate must come to rest on its corresponding target for a green light to appear. Use the component materials provided to construct any machine that will succeed at the task.
Personal Universe is a puzzle game that lets you play with physics. Using sets of colored blocks you must build moving machines that help you complete tasks. Just as the name implies, Personal Universe gives you the materials to let you build a living universe all your own. It's filled with possibilities and offers a surprising amount of freedom to explore and experiment at your leisure.
This simple and strangely compelling toy was just released onto Web featuring a primitive drawing interface with which to create a track for a little character to slide upon. Save and load tracks and even try to attain objectives to increase the enjoyment from this creative little sandbox webtoy.
Liquid Webtoy is a Java-based application very similar to the Falling Sand games we're all so fond of. Rather than playing with solid elements, however, this game is focused on two things: liquid and color. Fill the screen with water, slosh it around with your mouse and add different shades to the mix. It can be as relaxing or chaotic as you like and is a great time-waster.
Sand Sand Sand is another entry in the Falling Sand games from Dofi-Blog. This installment incorporates some of the best elements of World of Sand and Hell of Sand into one, allowing you to play with a variety of elements in even more ways than before.
There is more than one way to enjoy this simple but effective Flash platform game construction set. Leveraging the power of player-generated content and the Web, Block Action puts platform game level design into the hands of millions and thus offers virtually unlimited variety in ways to enjoy its gameplay.
Brain Strainer is a physics-based construction kit with which the player creates a quasi-perpetual machine from a palette of objects including bumpers, kickers, conveyor belts and other contraptions. The objective is to score enough points to launch a rocket.
The Dofi-Blog sand and zombie toys are making their way around the Web like a ??? explosion (inside joke), and for good reason: they are quite literally sand box games that allow for a seemingly infinite variety of creative play. And now the author, d_of_i, has released another sand world, Hell of Sand, which appears to be a combination of the previously reviewed War of the Hell and World of Sand.
There is plenty of remarkable work being done over at Dofi-Blog in both the Java and Processing languages. Although the blog is written predominantly in Japanese, there are several compelling and engaging interactive games and toys that should not be missed regardless of your language of choice. Strongly recommended: World of Sand.
This action puzzle game uses physics as the basis for its gameplay. There is a package that must get to the exit of each level. In construction set style, utilize a palette of contraptions to build a system that moves the package to its final destination.