The Sandbox launched back in 2013 to give you a pixel art based world builder. The game let you drop in various types of elements, pixel by pixel, to create whatever you could think of. The original has become relatively dated, and the result is the release of the sequel, The Sandbox Evolution. The new edition maintains the core concepts of the original, and fleshes it out with all new elements, online connectivity, and creative possibilities.
The Sandbox Evolution features over 170 elements from the basic water, stone, and wood to the more acid, electricity, and voids. You still get to drop in each element pixel by pixel by just dragging your finger around the screen. There are so many possibilities, and it all comes down to the amount of time you invest in placing each pixel. The sequel also introduces new creative canvases allowing you to make platformer levels, chip tunes soundtracks, and pixel art in addition to the living worlds. You can continue to experiment with each new element, and the game includes a specific campaign to unlock new elements and game modes within the flow of the campaign. It’s great to see a world take shape, especially when you include elements that can interact with one another.
The platformer component is a neat addition, and the levels offer more than the traditional game maker. Levels take awhile to compose to be truly compelling, but it is possible as you can add in enemies, crumbling platforms, lava flows, and more. The flowing and interactive elements of the world creation apply in the platformer, and you can create tricky set-ups by using the elements. Since the creative potential is there, you can connect online to access a gallery of player made levels to give you tons of platformer levels to play, and be inspired by. The levels aren’t as complex as a stand alone platformer, but they are still worth playing through. There’s continuous incentive to experiment with elements, create levels, and play levels to keep you engaged in the total experience.
The game is free to play, and it costs in-game currency to unlock each new element. If you try to get new elements from the menu, it can be a little overwhelming and disconcerting. On the flip side, if you unlock elements in the flow of the campaign and with the mission suggestions, you won’t run out of currency. Each completed level in the campaign helps you earn in-game currency to always be able to unlock what you need as you progress.
The Sandbox Evolution (Free, Universal) delivers a jam packed and enjoyable creative experience that is well worth picking up.