Universe Sandbox Review
So what is Universe Sandbox? I hear the imaginary nerds in my head ask. Well, imaginary nerds in my head, not surprisingly, it’s a sandbox universe simulator.
Every aspect of the known universe has been recreated in astonishingly realistic detail and accuracy. You can choose to view every celestial object in existence at once, including all the statistics and information you could possibly ask for, and have your mind blown, (like our sun inevitably will in 6 billion years, but more about that later), or you can choose to study a galaxy, solar system, planet, moon, star or meteorite and everything inbetween. Actually, I don’t know what’s inbetween. Dark Matter? The Multiverse? God? I don’t think such esoteric concepts are included, but I could be wrong.
This isn’t just a very impressive virtual planetarium though. Oh no. What makes Universe Sandbox unique is that it’s also a game. A what? I hear the imaginary scantily clad, hot, rampant French maids in my head ask. A game. Yes, as well as simply viewing, studying and learning lots of amazing facts about the universe, you can fuck with it too.
If so desired, you can take our own wondrous solar system and for the lolz, double the size of the Sun, triple the size of the Moon, shrink the Earth, speed up time and then watch the unfolding chaos, all the while firing meteors at it all in a fit of omnipotent fury.
That’s just a small example though. You can edit every imaginable aspect of the universe, or if you would rather follow your solipsist destiny and become God, create your own universe from scratch and then destroy it all on a whim. Mwaaahaaahaaaaaaaa.
I was also very happy to see that included are a lot of NASA space craft flights (strangely, the craft are represented by ominous huge, dark blocks floating through space, a lot like Borg craft). Bizarrely, there is the option to create a confusing, magic mushroom type reality involving massive floating billiard balls and footballs, and what universe simulator would be complete without an option to turn Earth in to Endor with the Deathstar menacingly orbiting it. Not this one, mate.
The graphics are great, the operation intuitive (it’s similar to most large scale RTS type controls) and the versatility is pleasing.
There is also an automatic request for feedback at the end of every session, which I thought was nice. What struck me as quite odd is that the ‘game’ is completely silent, even in the menus (I thought my speakers were bust). There are the inevitable few bugs and crashes, but the developer works closely with the community and also assured me that fixes are being worked on this week, resulting in possibly two updates.
There are Steam achievements too!
Universe Sandbox is developed and published by Giant Army
AMD 4200+ X2 2233 MHz CPU
ATI HD4670 512mb GPU
Windows XP SP3