The Sandbox Review: Play with Pixels until you Pop
The interface of The Sandbox is simple and easy to use. You have a row of icons across the top of your screen that give you drop-down boxes full of elements, weather settings, and tools. To create all you need to do is pick an element and a tool, your finger takes care of the rest. It’s a cool way to play with the elements as you can pour sand from your fingertip or make it snow pixels by dragging your finger across the screen. Want to melt your pixelated wax sculpture you just made? Just turn up the heat or drop some magma near it to see physics in action.
The Sandbox basically consists of two modes of play with Campaigns and Free Mode. Free Mode lets you play with pixels in an open environment where you can use any element or setting you’ve unlocked in Campaign mode or through the shop. This is probably where you’ll spend most of your time as you can play unrestricted so watch how you spend your Mana until you check out all the cool elements in the game.
The Campaign mode take you through different scenarios where you’ll take on missions that range from making a tree grow to setting off a Volcano. The levels are broken down into days which sticks to the whole “God” them of the game, and you’ll earn coins and “access” to new elements for completing each day. I say access because you still have to unlock each new element using Mana you earn from the completing the days. The earning to spending ratio is so-so, I burned through the first 30 levels in a little over an hour, but had to complete a few free offers to unlock some elements I couldn’t afford outright.
Now for the fun part… the elements. The Sandbox is LOADED with cool stuff that ranges from your base elements to more complex things like C4, Dinosaurs, and LED lights. There are 30 base elements that include things like Fire, Ice, Steam, Mud, Acid, and Wax. In addition to those you’ll get around 12 types of trees, 4 animal elements, and 9 different minerals like Diamonds and Amethysts. Next up is the Technology section with 16 different elements including explosives, colored LED’s, and sensors. Last but certainly not least is the decoration tab that has around 16 different buildings and dinosaurs to play with.
Now for the not so fun part… Outside of the “Initial Story” campaign that consists of 30 days there are four more level packs with 41 more levels. They range in price from $0.99 to $1.99 for the contraptions and dinosaur packs. The campaign packs also give you extra Mana which comes in handy for all the cool expensive elements. The Sandbox has a few other ways to let you get Mana or elements as you can purchase all 30 base elements for $3.99 or buy Mana packs outright. They do utilize Tapjoy so you will be able to get some free Mana for completing actions and downloading games.
This one’s kind of tough as The Sandbox is a game I had been looking forward to since it was released on iOS. The game itself is just as good as I’d imagined, and I can’t express how much fun you can have playing around with pixels made of ice, sand, acid, and countless other elements. The only thing that limits you is your imagination… and your wallet. While The Sandbox is free and you get a wide open Free Mode to play around in, you’re going to spend a lot of time completing free offers if you want all the elements. It’s that or buy Mana to get them, and the prices aren’t all that great considering how much there is to unlock in the game.
Is The Sandbox still worth checking out? Most definitely, it’s just extremely disappointing that its setup the way it is as it’s one of the coolest games I’ve played. The developers have dropped the prices on some of the levels packs, but what we really need to see are cheaper Mana prices on the elements. You can pick up Pixowl’s The Sandbox for free on Google Play.
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