The Sandbox puts players in charge of designing and creating their own worlds from scratch using base materials like stone, sand and wood. Eventually, players use these substances to craft more advanced materials, enabling them to construct more-complex environments. To start, players complete a tutorial campaign which seeks to teach the basic mechanics and creative possibilities of the game. Missions include simple tasks like creating sand from stone and water, learning how to make oil and ignite volcanoes, or forming clouds that can dispense lightning, rain, and snow. After completing the initial “7 day” tutorial, players are then permitted to utilize a free-play mode, where they can build as they wish without objectives or limits. Players who seek more challenges can download additional missions via in-app purchases, as well as a host of premium items and tools. Creations can be with The Sandbox community, or explore the creations of others. The open-ended, creative experience at the game’s core is suitable for all ages, but mastering the game’s more complicated mechanics may prove too difficult for young children, making The Sandbox recommended for ages 6 and up.
Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.
Each level in The Sandbox provides players with a set of objectives that can often be achieved using a variety of creative methods. Players must determine which options are most viable for completing an objective and develop a basic plan of how best to use the available materials to execute these options. For example, in level 11 of the tutorial campaign, players are told to "light the volcano." There are a number of options for accomplishing this objective and players must develop a systematic plan that also accounts for the remaining objective to "boil some water." Failure to plan an approach which encompasses both objectives can mean that players will fail to achieve their objectives and will be forced to reset the level and begin again.
Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
When experimenting and executing different creative plans to achieve objectives, players will often make mistakes. The key to success in The Sandbox is learning to overcome these mistakes and continue to focus on the goals despite having setbacks. It can be extremely difficult to remain focused, especially when players have already "messed up," but The Sandbox allows players a great deal of flexibility in adjusting and correcting their mistakes. Whether erasing a previously created object, working around a mistake, or resetting the level, players must continue to maintain a high level of focus and effort. Players who fail to concentrate on the goals ahead and learn from mistakes will quickly be outpaced by players who are able to overcome these challenges.
Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations.
Completing a series of varying objectives in each new level requires players to devise and improvise new strategies. Objectives range from easy to difficult and players must determine the most viable strategies for success. When one strategy fails, players must be able to reassess their plan of action and make adjustments necessary to success. Players who are able to adapt to changing environments, conditions, tools, and objectives will find greater success in The Sandbox than players who remain rigid and cannot adapt. Many objectives are achievable using more than one route. Players can utilize creative Flexibility when determining the best way to achieve their goals. Understanding how to achieve a particular goal using a variety of different strategies is a great way to exercise the Flexibility thinking skill.
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