Who needs the Big Bang?? Now you really CAN create your own universe from start to finish!

Price: FREE
Age: 4+


Younger children will need help with reading directions.
The Sandbox - Bulkypix

Pros:

– Endless choices to flex your creative muscle
– Fun and retro pixelated graphics
– Ability to view other players’ creations

Cons:

– The amount of decisions to be made can really be overwhelming
– Younger children may not “get” the concept of this game
– In-app links to other games may not be suitable for all ages

You’re a god.  No, really, in this app you can create a universe tailored to your omnipresent, omnipotent powers. The Sandbox allows you to create or destroy in any combination of mud, water, oil, fire, and more. Using Pixel Art and custom-composed background, you will truly be master of your iPad domain.

The app initially sent me into story mode where a bearded pixel-dude walked me though the fundamentals of creationism. On each day I needed to complete certain tasks by combining elements. On Day 1 I started slowly by spreading sand over water to make mud, and then adding stone to the water to produce sand, which both completed the day’s tasks and earned me the two new elements of sand and mud.

Pixel-Dude walked me through the rest of the week in much the same fashion. Mud plus seeds created trees, water plus sunlight equals clouds, and so on. My inventory of elements grew and by the 8th day the free mode was unlocked, and I know had the freedom to move at my own pace.

Eventually my worlds grew and then devolved in the circle which is “life”. The free mode allowed for my complete creativity and endless combination of elements. I also created my own chiptune music and the 8-bit sound enhanced the 80s appeal of the Pixel Art graphics.

When I was through creating – which happens to be tiring work – I saved my world. I then shared my universe with other creators in an online gallery, and feeling quite powerful by now, I shared my expert opinion by rating the other creations. I had the option of loading previously saved games or even deleting them and starting all over.

There are a few downsides that I stumbled across. Most importantly, the directions need to be read so younger non-reading players will need some help getting started.  There are also a crazy number of options in this app, which I found overwhelming even as a grown-up. It’s easy to see how children could get very frustrated and totally miss the point behind being able to create without boundaries.

The app also redirected me to a list of games from the developers, one of which happened to be about a homicidal psycho. My kids can’t yet read but I shudder at the thought of having to explain what that meant to them. Another heads-up for parents who limit internet access: Because of the gallery in the game I could also connect directly to the iPad browser.

As much as I liked the idea of having a virtual world at my fingertips I’m really neutral on this game despite the fact that it’s free. I’m not a huge earth science fan but for those that are, this would be a perfect way to kill some free time. There were just too mayy decisions to make and not a clear enough end goal for me to stay interested.

Details:

– Fun Pixel Art graphics and 8-bit music
– Endless options to create your ever-evolving world
– Sharing gallery to see what other creators are up to

Please help support iPadKids by downloading the game via the App Store icon below!
The Sandbox - Bulkypix

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