Video Game Review: “Universe Sandbox2“

Rating: 5 / 5

Ever wanted to increase the density of Mercury until it turned into a black hole? Throw objects at the speed of light at Earth? Break the laws of physics as we know them? Universe Sandbox2 lets you do all that and more. The game is a space simulator that combines various aspects of real life, such as gravity, climate, and time to simulate advanced environments in real-time. The developers notably upgraded the graphics and realism of collisions from the original “Universe Sandbox.” Space physics students, take note. 

“Universe Sandbox2 is a beautiful game. Simulations take place from a set perspective, which is defined by the user. These can be from the perspective of a star, planet, moon, or another body in the simulation. The player can also “stand” on the surface of a body or just watch the simulation using the body as a focus point. This makes it easy to, say, make the Sun go supernova and watch it destroy the entire solar system or watch from the perspective of a particular body. There is calming music in the background to really tie everything together.

There is a mind-bogglingly large amount of things to do in “Universe Sandbox2. For starters, there are a number of pre-simulated situations. You can spawn the solar system instantly, the Earth with Saturn-like rings, or a “perfectly-engineered solar system” where there are as many planets fit around the habitable zone of a star as possible. From there you can modify aspects of the bodies such as mass, radius, density, and even chemical composition. The Earth can be an iron ball the size of Pluto. If a planet’s position from a star changes dramatically, its average temperature will rapidly update to reflect that. If it changes size rapidly, its density will change almost instantly. 

One of the best parts of “Universe Sandbox2is that you can break the laws of physics without entirely crashing the game. For example, there are several pre-created objects such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, bowling balls, teapots, and more that you can shoot at other objects at impossible speeds. Like, the escape velocity of Earth. Or the speed of light. Or 100x the speed of light. This is not restricted to just smaller objects. The Sun could fly at Betelgeuse, one of the largest stars ever discovered, at 100x the speed of light if you wish. 

The game isn’t just destruction. Players can interact with the game by trying to create as much as possible. The perfectly-engineered solar system is a perfect example of using physics to do something other than destroy. Since all pre-simulated instances can be modified, players can use these to expand upon the creative aspects of the game. Or they can create complicated orbits that would otherwise not exist in nature and sit back and enjoy the view.

Overall, “Universe Sandbox2“ is less of an actual game and more of a simulator, albeit with an engine designed for a very complicated game. Players can shape the universe how they see fit. Since the game updated its graphics significantly from the original game to the second, the visual aspect of the many processes in the game have contributed to its high rating. Furthermore, the game truly allows players to create or destroy as they wish, which allows for many interesting scenarios. The game makes it easy to load a simulation and then for players to adjust it however they wish. Since time is also controllable, players can watch their actions unfold as fast or as slow as they wish. “Universe Sandbox2is a game for expanding the mind. And for watching the universe blow up in any way imaginable. 

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