Universe Sandbox Game Poster Image

Universe Sandbox



Space sandbox turns our solar system into a playground.
  • Platform: Windows
  • Price: $9.99 individual; free for schools
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Release Year: 2012

What parents need to know

Educational value

Universe Sandbox gives players an amazing set of controls to experiment with our universe, letting them learn how mass, size, gravity, and velocity, among other things, all are interconnected and allowing them to play around, testing different ideas on the fly. Players can observe objects in motion in space, comparing moons to planets to stars, and experience physics in action, tweaking conditions and introducing new variables.

Positive messages

There's no story or narrative; it's only a simulation.

Positive role models

No characters.

Ease of play

Many tutorials are provided to introduce players to the controls and features.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Universe Sandbox is not necessarily a game. It's more a sophisticated visualization and simulation tool that helps players understand astronomy and astrophysics by letting them manipulate planetary and stellar objects in a variety of ways.

What's it about?

UNIVERSE SANDBOX is not a game with a story or characters. Rather, it's a 3-D simulation of our universe, accurately modeling it on many levels, from whole galaxies down to individual planets and even comets. Players are given sliders and other controls for any object they select and can change its size, mass, velocity, and orbit, among other things. This lets players quickly see how changing different properties of an object affects both its own other properties and the properties of other objects. Want to throw some asteroids at the moon? You can do that! Want to see two galaxies collide? Go for it! Ever wonder why Pluto was downgraded from a planet? Well, now you can check out how different it is from the other planets in our system.

Is it any good?


The game is very effective at what it does: allowing players to experiment in a massive open laboratory and discovering what would happen in response to any number of astronomy-related "what if" questions. The simulation is visually stunning, and the visualization tools are diverse and interesting. Universe Sandbox comes with a variety of optional scenarios and tests whether players want more direction in their sandbox play. Ultimately, however, it's just a tool, and some players may find it difficult to stay engaged for an extended period.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can explore some of the tool's preset scenarios/simulations.

  • Discuss the delicate balance of our solar system by introducing different objects into it and seeing what happens.

  • Extend learning by having kids make their own handmade models of the solar system or planets.

Game details

Subjects:Science: astronomy, gravity, motion, physics
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, part-whole relationships
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
Price:$9.99 individual; free for schools
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Available online
Developer:Giant Army
Release date:October 1, 2012
Topics:Space and aliens
ESRB rating:NR

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bynickthenooddle July 13, 2015

it is math and science

it is awesome game
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 14 years old Written byMarfit June 7, 2016

I played this while ago

I loved playing with this. Constantly making little solar systems, then shooting a black hole through it to see the chaos it can do. It's sequel, Universe Sandbox 2 is more of a game, as it has hyper-realistic impacts, craters, heating simulation, lighting simulation, and climate simulation.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use


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