It’s rare that you come across a game, or any work really, that successfully compiles all aspects of a certain concept into a quintessential piece. And yet, that’s what you get with The Powder Toy. There’s a good chance that sometime or another you’ve gone to a website or gotten a download of a game that let you create walls and particles and put them together to see what happens, and, well, The Powder Toy basically takes all of those games and complies them together into one grand selection of explosives and physics-defying anomalies.
I didn’t make this; clearly this person has an idea of what they’re doing.
The Powder Toy basically gives you a blank screen with a categorized list of various particles you can place upon your canvas. You have liquids, both massive and highly flammable; gases, both supercool and highly flammable; and explosives, both highly flammable and highly flammable. You’ve also got some stuff like the special category, which has everything from black holes to Portal-esque…portals. You can even throw around neutrons, photons, and electrons if you’re the science-y type. In fact, this is one of those games that makes you feel really smart as you smash your colored pixels together, knowing the result.
This game, unlike a lot of other games of this nature, also features stuff like air pressure, temperature, and currents. While this can be fun to play around with, sometimes you’ll basically make a whirlwind that will BLOW ALL OF YOUR STUFF OFF THE SCREEN NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TR—EUUUUURRRRGH. But that’s okay because the game comes with a handy “WHAT HAVE I CREATED OH GOD ERADICATE IT FROM EXISTENCE” button that gives you a completely blank slate, free from any influence of your previous actions.
The game looks good, I guess, as a game about colored pixels could be. Some of the effects are quite nice, but given the amount of independent things on your screen, the FPS is prone to drop drastically in times of great catastrophe. But, it never sinks into game-breaking territory, and everything manages to still move at a reasonable pace.
The only real downfall of this game is the sheer amount of stuff in it. Look, I’ve spent more time then I’d like to admit with this game of colored pixels, and I still don’t know what half of this stuff does. Each item that you are allowed to use comes with a short little description on what it is and whether or not it will explode, but sometimes they don’t really give enough information to the causal player. Sure, the accelerator speeds things up, but nothing seems to be going any faster when I drop stuff on it. And those little letters up in the corner supposedly do something, but be careful because there’s one that opens up a user script. Unless you are technologically savvy, you will have no idea what to do once you open it, and there’s not a button I can find to close it.
I suppose one cannot really fault a game for having a bunch of content to discover, though, and trust me: there’s a lot you can do in this game. I doubt I’ve mentioned even half of the different things you can do and explode. And for as cheap as free, there’s not really any risk aside from the memory space on your computer.
Download it for free on their website: http://powdertoy.co.uk/