Tuesday, 20 August 2013

App Review No. 15 The Sandbox

Strong Points:
Lots of elements
Lots of campaigns
Free mode is fun
Nice mechanics
Lots of achievements

Weak Points:
You have to buy most of the campaigns (for real money)
You run out of mana quickly
Quite repetitive

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: 4th May 2012

Tap or hold to release pixels

This game is basically a pixel art creator with some added physics. First off you play through the initial story buying the elements you need on the go. You then use them in free mode to create wonderful pieces of art and share them in gallery for everyone to vote and play your game. This is all really fun and makes you think creatively. That is until you run out of mana.

You need mana to buy elements in the game to progress through the story. Every time you complete a level you get mana. But it is not enough mana for you to progress so you have to go into free mode and complete achievements or buy the mana through IAP. You can also complete the daily quest to get mana but sometimes you won't have that element to complete it. Also, near the end of the story you start running out of achievements, meaning you can wait a long time to see a daily quest you can actually do or you have to buy all the elements for around £7.

Also, while some of the campaigns are free and really fun (pixel art), some of them are £2 which is a bit weird. Although you can play user-created levels for free so you won't run out of things to do very quickly.

Free mode is the best part of the app, as it lets you run wild with creativity and make anything you like.

Conclusion: overall this is a good pixel art game but there are better ones. This game's main strategy is the user created levels as there can be infinite possibilities.

Rating: 72%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

Updates (main points):

Christmas has come to town and brings with it a few gifts:
First of all is the special item, the Gift, which can appear in many different colours! Humans and Characters love them and they can also be used to upgrade your Gift Tree and as a decoration
A new controllable character - Santa (can double jump, defeat foes by jumping on them and take Gifts from his magical bag and drop them)
The Gift Tree - an upgradable tree with many states of decay and development and one that will wither and die if damaged and heal and develop when given Gifts
Xmas Elf - a small humanoid that searches for Gifts and brings them to the Gift Tree all while jumping enthusiastically to express their happiness
The Grouch - a hateful creature that dresses as Santa but drops bad Gifts that explode on touch (other than when Xmas Elves grab them) and will evven damage the Gift Tree!
4 new decorative Elements - the Happy Snowman, Candy Cane, Snow Globe and a Decorated House!

Halloween is here and it brings with it a few treats (or tricks depending on how you look at it):
A new controllable Element - the Headless Horseman (a ghostly rider on a demonic steed that can throw his pumpkin head as an exploding projectile)
2 new enemies that can turn Humans into their own kind - the Vampire (who will seek and attack Humans and can shapeshift into a Bat when not under the effect of light) and the Werewolf (will also seek and attack Humans and will revert back to Human Form after a while if affected by light)
4 new decorative Elements - the Jack O'Lantern, Cauldron, Haunted Tree and Tombstones

Touch control issues on iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus have been fixed!

2 new controllable Elements and their enemy counterparts - the Atlantean (a fish-like humanoid that can breathe and dash underwater but suffocates and jumps when outside of it. Also, it has a ranged attack), the Submarine (a vehicle that can only move in water and can shoot Torpedoes (which are projectiles that can only move in liquids but don't destroy said liquids when they explode. If they are spawned outside of liquids then they will simply fall downwards and explode when they make contact with the floor)
4 new Sea Animals - the Shark (goes from side to side in search of prey), Jellyfish (cute, glowing and deadly poisonous) and Anemones (which will attract and suck small fish towards them but are mostly harmless. However, the MutaGem can be used on them...)
1 new Tech Element - the Torpedo Launcher, which works in the same way as the Rocket Launcher... but fires Torpedoes
A campaign of X levels where you will follow Jones in search of the Lost City of Atlantis, using the Submarine and the help of an Atlantean Prince. In it you will fight your way through underwater caves, mysterious temples and the mouth of a giant beast!

A new Monster - Cutethulu is a giant flying Monster that can summon hordes of minions through portals and invoke a Meteor shower to rain down
A new Enemy - the Spawn of Cutethulu are flying minions that serve Cutethulu and die with an explosive attack that turns most living Elements into Aberrations

A new Element, the Mutagem, that allows you to transform living beings into monsters
A campaign containing 18 levels that will take you through the nuclear wasteland from the end of the Ecology 2 campaign
The Aberrations - failed products of the MutaGem that just hate the world and want to see everything on it crushed
A new animal - the Earthworm (also the Catalyst for the DoomGrub Element)
A new enemy - the Robodrile, a croc with enhanced durability and a missile launcher for a mouth
2 new mutant monsters - the Haijira (a likable, gigantic grey Dinosaur that strikes with its tail and lets off a deadly blue Atomic Breath) and the MechaRex (the mechanical counterpart of the Haijira that strikes with its mouth and fires a scorching red Laser Breath)
The MindRay - a weapon that allows you to take control of the Giant Monsters and make them fight!

Fixes a compatibility issue with iOS7 allowing you to play again on your iPhone 4, 4S or iPad 3, 4 or iPad Mini and iPad Mini 2 on iOS7
1000 free mana for all players who update!

A campaign of 10 levels taken from The Sandbox EDU game where you will learn some basic chemistry and element interactions
A new Element, the Filter separates Water from the Elements that absorb it such as Water from Mud to leave Soil
A new animal, the Croc, that opens its mouth and tries kill living beings that come near it
The DoomGrub - a giant worm capable of eating almost anything and a teaser for the upcoming Mutant Monsters campaign

Ecology 2 campaign - 17 levels featuring everyone's favourite energy sources such as Coal, Uranium, Wind and Water!
New Elements: Volcano and Solar Ray
New App Icon

Over 15 new Daily Quests offering new challenges and mana rewards every day!
New Elements related to Ecology including: a new Force of Nature (the Wind Element) and a Wind Sensor (that makes electricity when affected by Wind), powerful but polluting energy sources (Uranium and Coal), Element Byproducts (Toxic Waste and Smog), new contamination mechanics (Radioactivity and Smog Pollution), 2 energy generating multipixels (Hydroelectric Turbine and Eolic Generator)
New App Icon
Various bug fixes

A new campaign featuring the adventurer, Jones!
Over 15 new elements including: new enemies such as the Snake, Mayan Guardian, Piranha and Killer Bees, 3 colours of Keys and Doors, Powerups such as the Whip, Rope, Boomerang and Torch, Game Design Elements such as the Big Rock and Lever, Weapons such as the Missile Launcher Turret and Power Cannon and Special Items and Decorations such as Treasure, Golden Idol, El Dorado Building, Mayan Magician, Giant Mayan Calendar, Quetzalcoatl Stone and Sacrifice Alter. This will allow you to make your own mini-games such as a retro platmormer!
New Game Music
New App Icon
Various optimizations and bug fixes

A new campaign based on the comic book series, 'Invincible'
A super-villain (from the comics) to fight!
The game is now available in the Russian language
New music and sound effects
New app icon
Many bug fixes

Brainiac is back with a whole new campaign of 15 levels - and he wants to redeem himself!
Enhance your Braniac with several new modules
New Bodies to assemble with the Braniac
4 new super-hero elements based on the heroes from the comic book series 'Invincible'
Many improvements
A featured tab in the Elements menu enables you to access, directly, the new or top elements
Campaigns can now be bought in Mana, directly
New, in built help system

Arnold Campaign 1 and 2: 18 new levels featuring Arnold
13 new elements: Mummy, Grunt, Slime, Predator, Ammo, Bombs, Armour, Health, Bazooka, Killing Spikes, Falling Stalactites, Vertical Platforms, Floating Mines and Exploding Barrels
New game music

Zombie Campaign: 20 new levels only available during Halloween week!
New Ghost element

Sandmix Vol. 3: 10 new levels combining Brainiac, Contraptions, Controllable Elements and Pixel Art
New controllable character: Arnold who can shoot and launch grenades
20 new coloured elements to create amazing Pixel Art
Optimisation for iOS 8

2 new campaigns (one free) with 17 new levels!
One new element: The Brainiac. Allows you to craft dynamic contraptions.
8 interactive bodies to connect with The Brainiac: Spaceship, Plane, Flying Car, UFO, Train, Drill, Mechcloud and Kamikaze Drone
Make doors with Gate and Gate Control
Shoot Rockets with the Launcher
New music

Sandmix Vol. 2: 9 levels of fun based on the newest human improvements!
Access directly the 5 special humans buildings from the elements menu (Bakery, Restaurant, Space Colony, Jewellery and Tree House).
Top Games button added in the online gallery which allows you to play the best mini-games created by players.

Country Life Campaign: 15 new levels full of country life!
Improvements on the Humans: Hunter can now shoot animals and place traps, and the Farmer can raise chickens and convert them to food. After collecting a certain amount of specific resources, you can create special buildings and your Humans can interact with them through the use of emoticons.
6 new elements: Tractor, Chicken, Chicks, Eggs, Fox, Crow, Scarecrow and the E-drain
2 new blueprints: Bullseye and the Chicken Pen
New farm life related backrounds
New sounds and backround music for most campaigns

Sandmix Vol. 1: brand new type of campaign, featuring 9 exclusive levels of mixed types: gaming, pixel art, music and more!
2 new job powders: Farmer and Fisherman
3 new elements: Corn, Pumpkins and Wheat
4 new buildings: Haystack, Silo, Barn and Windmill

Ecology Campaign: 20 new levels in which you have to protect the planet by solving environmental puzzles
13 new elements: Tornado, Earthquake, Tsunami, Eruption, Nuke, Salt, Sea Water, Rust, Salt Mud, Blue Whale, Oil Tanker, Cacao Tree, Mangrove Tree
New introduction level

Ninja Campaign: sneak through 17 beautiful levels while dodging deadly traps, solving tricky puzzles and fighting the Evil Army to save Shogunate!
5 new elements: Sun Stone, Oni the Giant Demon Imp, White Ninja, Pink Ninja and the Bamboo Bush
7 new blueprints and some Japanese themed decorative items

Game is now available in German
User-Created Campaign #2: the finest levels made by the community and all completely free!
6 new elements: Avatar, Ninjas, Imp, Moving and Falling Platforms and the Light Prism
Quartz and Aluminite lasers
New daily quests
Automatic world tagging

Game is now available in Brazilian Portuguese
Retro Gaming Campaign: 12 levels of puzzle and skill featuring some of the greatest video games of all time
10 new elements (2 blueprints and 8 elements which can be controlled) - Shooter, Attacker, Sneaker, Laser Bike, Intelli Bike, Game Wall, Game Point, Area Multi, Christmas Tree and Xmas Gifts
Can record replays on to YouTube and share to Facebook

Alien Invasion campaign: 10 new levels where you will travel through the universe to reach an uncharted galaxy.
7 new elements - Xenovine, Mushboom, Pirantha, Lunar Lander, Spaceman Powder, Aluminites and Stinger
Share achievements through Facebook

2 new elements: Flamingos and Lions
New magic powder.
1 new contraption - LED Sensor
5 new levels for the Robocalypse Campaign.
3 new backrounds

Robocalypse campaign: 10 levels where you will join the Resistance and fight to survive!
4 new elements: Robots, Berserk and Sentinel powder, Colourful Fireworks, Galaxy Invaders

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