Free Fun: The Powder Toy

TL;DR: Physics + Pixels = Powder. Download for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows!

Welcome to the fourth article in the Free Fun series, bringing you great free gaming experiences every month. This month’s game is The Powder Toy, a physics sandbox available for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows (first multi-platform game woo!).

The Powder Toy is an open source falling-sand style game developed by a whole bunch of people (and you can join in!). It’s a physics sandbox gone haywire. The game is almost like taking a 3-dimensional box to the 2nd dimension. There’s velocity, pressure, gravity, heat, conductivity, pseudo-radioactivity, life, and various element interactions. With over 100 different elements at your disposal, you can do almost anything in this 2D world. Your imagination is the limit.

Click on the images for a closer look at the details.

Gameplay is made up of mainly spawning elements and watching physics unfold. In a sense you have to create your own fun, but once you think of an experiment to conduct or a creation to build, the game gives you all the tools to make that idea come to life. It’s like chemistry without the repercussions of blowing up a building. The game can get quite complex and deep with circuitry, sensors, logic gates, switches, and special indestructible elements. It’s a great way to relax for a few minutes watching water boil and create steam swirls. It’s also a great way to lose hours working on a creation.

There is no sound at all. There’s that section done. The graphics range from simple coloured pixels to fancy effects. The game can look very nice, which is great given that watching is half of the gameplay. Performance will vary depending on your computer specifications and graphics settings. The game can slow to a crawl when simulating thousands of particles but most simulations run smoothly on a modern computer.

Nuclear Fission

Roughly 7 FPS simulating plutonium fission

The Powder Toy is a great game for spending a few minutes or a few hours or even a few days (I do not condone this) in a 2D universe. There are no objectives to complete and no story to experience. But who needs those to have fun. The Powder Toy is available to download here. Check out the wiki for tutorials and information on the many elements in the game. Have fun and remember to not try any of this in our dimension.