The Sandbox (Pixowl Inc.)

Facebook
Like The Sandbox on Facebook

Twitter 
Follow The Sandbox on Twitter

Website
Check out the official
The Sandbox Website

Discussion
Give the developers feedback on the Steam Discussion Page

Purchase
Buy your Early Access copy on the Steam Store page 

After already impressing players on iOS and Android, The Sandbox has made the leap to the PC and is available as an Early Access title interestingly enough. This shows that the developers are not just treating the PC version as a quick port and are willing to listen to player feedback in order to deliver a good game.

In case you missed out on the mobile versions of The Sandbox the idea is very simple, you are given a bunch of tools and encouraged to use them in creative ways. Depending on how creative you are, this can be a little daunting, but fortunately there are tutorials, in the form of missions, that explain everything you need to know. In total there are eleven campaigns that encompass about 161 puzzles in total so these should keep you busy for a while. The campaigns are split up into themes and walk you through the basic steps of combining elements and demonstrating the effects. There are some pretty interesting campaigns that feature dinosaurs, contraptions, humans, zombies, robots and even an alien invasion, but most are locked until a previous campaign is completed.

The visuals are 2D and all the elements are represented by pixel block art so the game does look a little basic. Don’t be fooled though as there is plenty of depth and with more than 150 elements you are limited only by your creativity when it comes to messing around. The Free Mode runs in “HD” for the Steam version of the game which is basically four times the resolution of the original mobile versions, but unless you are a fan of pixel art it is still going to look very basic. Pixowl have mentioned that resolution options are in the works so hopefully they are able to spruce up the visuals a bit more.

While the mobile version of the game is free, you do have to pay for the Steam version, but it comes with the benefit of no micro-transactions and no advertisements. Mana is required to unlock items, buy hints or bypass levels, but you are awarded an abundance of the stuff for completing levels so it should be pretty hard to run out.

The amount of fun that you will have with The Sandbox really depends on how creative you are. Some people will spend a few hours working their way through the puzzles while others will want to jump straight in and mess around with the Free Mode. You are restricted to working on a single screen which feels a bit limited initially, but once you get the hang of the various elements there is a lot of fun to be had. There are also tons of user-generated content that you can check out for inspiration if your creative well runs dry.

The Sandbox impressed us with the wealth of elements and easy to use interface. It is the type of game where you really have to put in a lot of time to really appreciate the depth and requires some creativity from the player to really shine. We will continue to monitor what Pixowl brings to the table for this PC version of the game and do a full review once the game leaves Early Access. In the meantime, you can check out the free mobile versions of the game if possible to get a general idea what to expect on PC.

This preview is based on version 1.5.16 of the game.

Related posts

Caromble! (Crimson Owl Studios)

Caromble! (Crimson Owl Studios)

Fancy a rather destructive take on the brick break genre? Well, Caromble from Crimson Owl Studios has got you covered. The five members that make up this talented team of Dutch indie developers have apparently been working on the game for a few years already while also juggling other jobs, so clearly they are committed to getting it right!

Leap of Fate (Clever Plays)

Leap of Fate (Clever Plays)

Leap of Faith, the debut release of indie studio clever-plays, certainly isn’t lacking in ambition. With influences that range from The Binding of Isaac and League of Legends to Diablo, it is a game that aims to offer replayability, precise controls and feel-good combat. These are lofty goals, but despite the fact that the game is still in Early Access, it already looks like the developers will be able to deliver on these promises.

Wrack (Final Boss Entertainment)

Wrack is an arcade style first person shooter that provides you with plenty of guns, aliens to use them on and then lets you get on with the fun. It is also a game that doesn't believe in weapon carry limits, hiding behind cover or regenerating health. The result is a lean and mean shooter that doesn't get bogged down in scripted sequences or boring quick time events.

Rising World (JIW-Games)

Rising World (JIW-Games)

After the success of Doom, every new game released with a first person perspective and guns were quickly labeled “Doom clones” despite whatever other merits they might have had. Thankfully people soon realized how stupid this practice was and instead recognized the first person shooter as a genre. However, here we are, many years later and every open world sandbox game with crafting involved is labeled as a “Minecraft clone.” Dismissing Rising World this way would be a mistake though, as despite the fact that the game is still in early access, it is already showing a lot of promise.

From The Depths (Brilliant Skies Ltd.)

From The Depths (Brilliant Skies Ltd.)

Sitting down to play From the Depths for the first time is quite a daunting experience. I followed the advice of Nick Smart, the developer, and checked out the tutorial video first, but my first few hours with the game mostly consisted of playing tutorial missions and messing about in the vehicle designer. There are a lot of hand holding and step by step instructions for the tutorials, but From the Depths is a very complicated game and it takes time, not to mention patience, before everything start to make sense.

Lichdom: Battlemage (Xaviant)

Books and movies always portray mages as powerful and nearly unstoppable, but when it comes to gaming it usually only takes one or two hits from a lowly Kobold before your mage is out of action. Even if they do manage to avoid getting killed in the first few minutes of battle they are rendered useless after only a few powerful spells because their mana is depleted.

Leave a comment

15 + 1 =