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Action Sandbox Review

Action Sandbox is a physics sandbox, in a similar vein to People Playground. It isn’t a game where there is a goal or score. The purpose of Action Sandbox is purely amusement through the creation of simple or complex scenes, then exerting some control to see if the desired outcome was achieved. There are numerous objects to build a scene with, and these objects may be simple or very complex. Most have some properties that can be set through a context menu. Some type can be controlled while scene is in “play” mode. Although the objects have a three-dimensional feel to them, everything is from a side perspective, giving a flat look.

Action Sandbox has some graphics options, although not very many. The only sound option is simply the volume for all sound. There is control customization, where the default keys can be changed, but for some reason, not all of the key that are used can be customized. This is annoying, particularly for left-handed players that remap controls to the keypad. There doesn’t appear to be a good reason why some controls cannot be remapped, the developer seems to have just left them out. Action Sandbox also supports the loading of custom objects created by other players through the Steam Workshop, there are nearly 900 items available at present. The player can also build highly detailed custom objects from simple parts.

The objects in Action Sandbox range from simple immobile crates and blocks to creatures and vehicles. The player can adjust the settings and properties for all of the objects to some degree. Simple objects have few properties, for example, a brick block can have its material changed from brick to glass, it can have its gravity and mass values changed, it can have colliders turned off, etc. Objects can be grouped together to create structures, simple or complex. There are NPC and “Control” objects that are more complex and controllable vehicles. In play mode, these can be movement controlled, doing things like making a car crash into a structure or NPCs. Some objects can fly, some have rotation controls in addition to flying. All of these objects and vehicles have physics properties which will determine what happens when they interact or collide with each other.

The quality of the graphics, meaning the look and feel of the objects, NPCs, and vehicles is low. Everything has a very amateurish look to it, except for some of the menus. The game’s engine is Unity and it appears that some scenes can cause the engine to slow down quite a bit. A fairly simple scene made of blocks that act like shattering glass with a few vehicles ground the frame rate down to single digits very quickly for no apparent reason. In another test, loads of vehicles breaking and shattering seemed to have no impact on performance at all. Action Sandbox is a simple looking physics sandbox, but has a tremendous amount of possible depth and complexity. A player could spend hours creating one scene and adjusting many of the details, but most players probably won’t spend so much time in this game. Action Sandbox is marginally recommended for players that love physics sandboxes and don’t mind putting in the time it would take to go beyond the basics.

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