Ever wanted to create your own universe? Or destroy it by ramming planets into each other, destruction derby-style? Well, here you go.
Universe Sandbox 2, which just hit Steam today, doesn't have clearly defined goals. It is as its name suggests: a sandbox, a near-limitless playground for your demented imagination. Within a minute of booting it up, I'd already smashed Earth into a second, identical Earth and watched both erupt into flame, blossom thousands of tiny volcanic flowers. "That escalated quickly," I said, realising even as the words came out of my mouth that it was an understatement.
Here are just a few of the things you can do:
Now, it's worth pointing out that if you're not the type who loves tinkering and structuring your own elaborate "what if?" scenarios, Universe Sandbox might not be for you. As I said, it's not really a game with goals or progression. Smashing planets together is only fun for so long. Beyond that, the game offers thrills of a more granular nature. You can adjust planets' gravity, or give Mars carbon dioxide and try to terraform it, or supernova a goddamn star by ageing it or adding mass.
Or you can dot a universe with black holes and extinguish all life. You monster.
You make your own fun, basically — perform experiments using numbers and physics rooted in real-life science. I doubt it will become my new addiction, but it will be fun to fuck around with every once in a while. It's like my great grandfather always used to say, "Nothing like destroying 45 simultaneous instances of the Milky Way to brighten up a bad day." Wise words.