Posted: November 26, 2013
When I say that I'd reccomend this game it's only to a small niche of people. Because I happen to fall in the niche I rather liked Universe Sandbox, though I can see where many people woud not. Universe Sandbox is pretty self explanatory in the title, its a astrophysics sandbox in which you can create and destroy solar systems, galaxys, or even galaxy clusters (if your computer is beefy enough) Many stats and attributes are tracked as you simulate the astral dance of heavenly bodies.
Things like density, spin, velocity, mass, and heat are all tracked and simulated to give you the most realistic expierience possible. Unfortunately, it doesnt get very realistic. My biggest gripe I would suppose is the physics. The game uses Eular math, or if you have a processing power Runge Kata. But eventually stable orbits will do someting completely random, sending a few planets and stars on random vectors straight out if your little "pitri dish". This doesnt bother me too much because it mostly only happens when it comes to simulating galaxies. On the solar system level it does quite well and it has enough options to accomodate nearly any computer's processing power. That is, if you can navigate the menus.
Theres lots of options and statistics for every celestial body and you can edit every fascet. the problem is, this creates a very confusing series of menus, with confusing abbreviations and volcabulary if you're not already familiar with scientific notation and units of measurement. If the menus were a bit more friendly I think it would open up this game to alot more people. The actual simulation field can be a bother to wrangle too. I found it sometimes likes to snap focus to nearly every other celestial body but the one I want to focus on. The "searchbar" at the top ended up being my best friend.
If youre like me, and you can wrangle the menus and put up with the sometimes sketchy simulation, it truely is a universe at your fingertips. This simulator will only take you as far as your imagination (or processor) will take you. Binary systems, rings around Earth -- have you ever wondered what it would look like if the earth had a ring then the moon crashed through it? The possiblities are more or less limitless, given your computer can handle the math. If youre into astronomy, physics or just enjoy space to any degree, this game is worth checking out.
Without an actual objectives or things to accomplish, this game falls short of actually being a game. It would be better described as an app. This one probably isnt right for the masses, but just right for the armchair astronomer in me.