Universe Sandbox PC

User Score
7.2

Mixed or average reviews- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 113
  2. Negative: 12 out of 113

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  1. Apr 3, 2012
    6
    This is a fun simulation program. I wouldn't really call it much of a game, but it can be very fun. You can play around with galaxies, stars, planets, moons, etc. You can either go onto the already made systems and toy around with them, perhaps crash a few planets together, etc, or you can create your own planet system if you wish. The game allows you to make alterations to the cosmicThis is a fun simulation program. I wouldn't really call it much of a game, but it can be very fun. You can play around with galaxies, stars, planets, moons, etc. You can either go onto the already made systems and toy around with them, perhaps crash a few planets together, etc, or you can create your own planet system if you wish. The game allows you to make alterations to the cosmic bodies, such as making them a certain mass and size for example. However, despite it being fun to create and destroy various systems in Universe Sandbox, it also gets repetitive very fast. I think this game could've been made even bigger and more diverse. So far we only have the planets of the solar system to play with, as well as some of the known stars, and basically about a dozen of each of the other object types, but there is no huge variety of what sort of worlds one can create. You cannot for example create an entire sci-fi universe in great detail in it. So yes - a very well done program, but could've been more diverse. Expand
  2. Dec 15, 2011
    7
    This is a very fun simulation that anyone with a even a mild interest in planetary mechanics should own. Used properly, it is very educational, but it has a very serious flaw that makes it more an item of curiosity than a true simulator: calculations are based on your time step instead of a true interpolation of the movement equations. Basically, it appears to just calculate the positionsThis is a very fun simulation that anyone with a even a mild interest in planetary mechanics should own. Used properly, it is very educational, but it has a very serious flaw that makes it more an item of curiosity than a true simulator: calculations are based on your time step instead of a true interpolation of the movement equations. Basically, it appears to just calculate the positions from one frame to the next and interpolates the motion as a straight line between those two points. What this means is that if you set a step of 1 second per frame, you get a very precise approximation of the motion of the stellar bodies, but if you accelerate the process and set the steps to 1 year per frame, the planets and stars no longer travel along smooth curved paths, but along a jagged path of connected straight lines. Aside from being ugly, this also gives incorrect results and often sends planets hurtling out of their orbits at tremendous speeds, which would not have happened with a better interpolation. The bottom line is that you can correctly simulate only stable systems at high speed; you can't speed up the effects of a destabilizing force to see what would actually happen. For all this, it's still well worth the $10 (or less if you grab it during one of Steam's sales). I mean, seriously. Don't you want to know what would happen if aliens replaced our sun with a black hole? Or what would happen if half the planets started orbiting in the opposite direction? You know you do! I now know and I sleep better at night for knowing it. ;-) Expand
  3. Feb 26, 2013
    5
    Nothing to do here. Once you finish the tutorial and look at the pre-programmed simulations you're done. I hope you enjoyed your 1 hour of amusement. To be fair some of it is neat. The colliding galaxies is mesmerizing, and I never really appreciated Jupiters incredible collection of moons before. But at the end of the day for something with this much scope it feels oddly shallow. SettingNothing to do here. Once you finish the tutorial and look at the pre-programmed simulations you're done. I hope you enjoyed your 1 hour of amusement. To be fair some of it is neat. The colliding galaxies is mesmerizing, and I never really appreciated Jupiters incredible collection of moons before. But at the end of the day for something with this much scope it feels oddly shallow. Setting up your own systems is tedious, obscure and unfulfilling. "Congrats you made a dot that spins around another dot" What then, watch it for a few hours? The program also seems to glitch badly when you try to do some interesting things. For example if you set an object on a collision course with a planet at a significant fraction of light speed it just goes straight though it with no effect. Where was my earth shattering kaboom? 5/10 for being a visual aid slightly more useful than a coffee table book about astronomy. Expand
  4. May 8, 2011
    7
    This isn't a game as much as a simulation. This title has a challenge in scale; Zooming out on a solar system will quickly reduce celestial objects into invisibilty. It's a cool way to get a sense of the largeness of space. The UI is really well put together given the giant subject matter... It isn't hard to find one of the 60 moons of Jupiter in the sprawling work area. I'm not sure howThis isn't a game as much as a simulation. This title has a challenge in scale; Zooming out on a solar system will quickly reduce celestial objects into invisibilty. It's a cool way to get a sense of the largeness of space. The UI is really well put together given the giant subject matter... It isn't hard to find one of the 60 moons of Jupiter in the sprawling work area. I'm not sure how much I will play it. It's fun tossing a red giant on top of Pluto and watching everything hurtle out of orbit, but where does one go from there? I cannot knowledgably assess the accuracy of the physics; I'll leave that to the astrophysicists. Regardless, I think there is some solid educational value to this title. Expand
  5. Jul 19, 2011
    6
    I was expecting something more like a Garry's Mod toolbox environment with the ability to quickly place stars, planets, moons, black holes, galaxies, etc. The GUI is not very user friendly making it very cumbersome to try things out. It has a lot of potential, but they really need to focus on cleaning up the user interface so you don't need an astrophysics degree to figure out what is going on.
  6. Jan 2, 2012
    6
    It's hardly a game. Yes, you can rule your own universe or mess with existing one, but flawed user interface makes it a real pain. After trying more or less all of the possibilities within this game, you'll probably stop playing... Crushing planets with each other, merging galaxies - it's fun.For the first time. Later on, it becomes rather boring. Nevertheless, it is a interestingIt's hardly a game. Yes, you can rule your own universe or mess with existing one, but flawed user interface makes it a real pain. After trying more or less all of the possibilities within this game, you'll probably stop playing... Crushing planets with each other, merging galaxies - it's fun.For the first time. Later on, it becomes rather boring. Nevertheless, it is a interesting product, i would recommend it for all physic / astrophysic wannabies. Expand
  7. Jul 14, 2013
    5
    I was expecting a lot more from this game. Sure, it's funny to mess around for ten minutes, but after that the game is really limited. I'm a huge fan of sandbox games, yet this is still far from enjoyable.
  8. Jun 28, 2014
    5
    Universe Sandbox, sadly fails. It is supposed to be a game but is not a fun one. It could have been an educational tool but lacks any expositional elements, voice overs explanations or presentations.... so it doesn't do that. As a simulation it is also lacking. This game is a sketch of a good idea. It is a rough draft of what a space-science game might look like. Dan Dixon (the developer)Universe Sandbox, sadly fails. It is supposed to be a game but is not a fun one. It could have been an educational tool but lacks any expositional elements, voice overs explanations or presentations.... so it doesn't do that. As a simulation it is also lacking. This game is a sketch of a good idea. It is a rough draft of what a space-science game might look like. Dan Dixon (the developer) needs to re-invest money he is making from this into a second version of the game that expands greatly on the potential here for great science education and entertainment.

    Orctowngrot.
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  9. Dec 29, 2013
    7
    If you know what you're doing then it's a fun little simulation game. I think the biggest downside of this game is its unfriendly interface. If you don't have a very big attention span or a will to put in some work to learn the controls/interface then this game isn't for you. If you can get past the difficult interface then you will find enjoyment in this game smashing universes together,If you know what you're doing then it's a fun little simulation game. I think the biggest downside of this game is its unfriendly interface. If you don't have a very big attention span or a will to put in some work to learn the controls/interface then this game isn't for you. If you can get past the difficult interface then you will find enjoyment in this game smashing universes together, creating black holes, etc.

    The one piece of advice I can offer the developers is to make a better tutorial system or to make the interface more user friendly.
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  10. Nov 4, 2015
    7
    A very nice space-physics simulation sandbox. I am not sure if anything like that was available to public before; but it helps to visualize where we are in the universe. Excellent software for school projects - pretty good algorithms (it seems) for simulating gravity and mass. Since this was developed, if i am not mistaken, by one guy - it is a little rough - graphics are not top--notchA very nice space-physics simulation sandbox. I am not sure if anything like that was available to public before; but it helps to visualize where we are in the universe. Excellent software for school projects - pretty good algorithms (it seems) for simulating gravity and mass. Since this was developed, if i am not mistaken, by one guy - it is a little rough - graphics are not top--notch (not that it matters much in this case), collision and projectile physics are not there (again - programming those involves a lot and also will burden the processing power of the PC), no sound whatsoever (again - not necessary, but would be nice with some ambiance), and not sure if magnetic force is simulated either (again - would be an over-complicated model).

    So in terms of "game-play" - while it is fun to look at what happens if Earth's mass is increased to that of the Sun's, and to observe how two galaxies collide, if your imagination stops there - the fun factor and replayability pretty much stop right there too.

    Still, a fun program that will show you our galaxy up close and let you create your own solar systems. Also, Galaxy Sandbox 2 is coming out - with many improvements.
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  11. Dec 22, 2012
    5
    I love astrophysics but this simulation has left me disappointed. In an hour of play I've experienced seven crashes, and as many in-game errors that didn't result in a crash but made restarting my universe a necessity. On my modern and overclocked system increasing the speed to the point where you can really see things happen (more than 1 second = 50 days) quickly results in grossI love astrophysics but this simulation has left me disappointed. In an hour of play I've experienced seven crashes, and as many in-game errors that didn't result in a crash but made restarting my universe a necessity. On my modern and overclocked system increasing the speed to the point where you can really see things happen (more than 1 second = 50 days) quickly results in gross inaccuracies occurring. There is a lot of potential, however I have been left very underwhelmed and the price tag is indefensible with the "game" in this state. Expand
  12. Jun 3, 2013
    5
    Its a fun little universe sim in which you get to control things like planet/star/moon/galaxy placement, the mass of celestial bodies and the passage of time within the simulation. If that brief description doesn't peak your interest, you can safely give this "game" a pass.

    To call Universe Sandbox a game is a bit of a stretch, I would personally categorize it under Programs. There are
    Its a fun little universe sim in which you get to control things like planet/star/moon/galaxy placement, the mass of celestial bodies and the passage of time within the simulation. If that brief description doesn't peak your interest, you can safely give this "game" a pass.

    To call Universe Sandbox a game is a bit of a stretch, I would personally categorize it under Programs. There are scenarios included in the package, but they really only serve to outline the most obvious tests anyone with a passing interest in astronomy would most likely attempt to carry out. That said, coming from a someone who's galactic knowledge extends as far as news headlines, Wikipedia and my grade 10 science classes, engulfing the Earth with the Sun or shooting Uranus out of orbit and off into the depths of space is surprisingly entertaining.

    The graphics are simple and should be easily run by even the most bare-bones computers The interface is smooth, comprehensive and has a minimalistic style. The controls are intuitive and allows full control with the mouse, though some keys are utilized optionally. Achievements are present for those that want them but feel tacked on without much thought, ranging from "You Turned on the Game For the First Time" to "You Have Ruled Over Your Universe for 12 Months".

    Personally I do not regret picking this little title up for the paltry $3.00 it sat at with 75% off, but for anyone not particularly interested in astronomy I think the full $10.00 is asking too much. For the general public this is a 5 minute amusement you start up while waiting for a download to finish.
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  13. Feb 13, 2017
    5
    It's a decent space physics simulator, if that's what you're looking for, but there's no reason to buy it anymore.
    The developer made a pretty major update to this simulator, but decided to release it as a sequel.
    From what I have seen the sequel is much better, so you should consider buying that one instead (although it is rather pricey, so I suppose there is one reason why would you
    It's a decent space physics simulator, if that's what you're looking for, but there's no reason to buy it anymore.
    The developer made a pretty major update to this simulator, but decided to release it as a sequel.
    From what I have seen the sequel is much better, so you should consider buying that one instead (although it is rather pricey, so I suppose there is one reason why would you want to buy inferior version.)
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Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 4 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Nov 13, 2011
    84
    Fun with physics, if you're happy to dig to find your treasures, Universe Sandbox has them in spades. [Dec 2011, p.112]
  2. PC Gamer
    Jul 14, 2011
    87
    This is where universe sandbox succeeds brilliantly: players experience godly power to create or destroy, while almost unavoidably learning something about the physical properties or our universe. [Sept 2011, p.69]
  3. May 18, 2011
    80
    Universe Sandbox isn't a game per se; there are no bosses, aims or levels, merely an accurate model of astronomical bodies for you to fiddle with. It's really more of a toy – the virtual equivalent of a configurable orrery, except hugely more complex than any mechanical system.