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Build a sandy city then watch it fall to bits in Sandcastles

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I didn’t know that Sandcastles (opens in new tab)—an absolutely charming digital toy which caught my eye on itch.io—was by Patrick Smith’s Vectorpark (opens in new tab) when I started playing it. I really should have. It has that same attractive odd quality as his previous projects like Metamorphabet (opens in new tab) and Windosill (opens in new tab)

As with other Vectorpark projects I was drawn in by the clarity of the shapes and the brightness of the colours but then had a lovely time discovering unexpected treats as I interacted with it. 

Sandcastles is possibly the most straightforward of the Vectorpark projects I’ve played. You click on the sand and hold the left mouse button down as you trace a line upward, conjuring a complicated sand structure as you do so. They’re less like sand and more like sandy jellies which you can bend, stretch or truncate. 

You only have a limited window of time in which to drag these sand metropolises into being before a wave sweeps in. Everything gradually sinks below the surface of the water and the wave recedes, leaving a blank slate. Your only interaction options are in shaping the castles, both by your mouse sweeps and by which architectural styles you enable in the menu. I like to switch everything on and enjoy the mishmash of forms that throws out. 

It’s a game in the sense that you play on the tiny segment of beach and feel a sense of racing against the tide, but it’s also a relaxation tool. The simple interaction is very soothing when you choose to build but I’ve actually had Sandcastles running while I write this just to enjoy the sound of the waves. 

There's a free browser version (opens in new tab) and the downloadable $3 version on itch.io (opens in new tab).

Here's a perfectly looping gif of one of my sandy cities rising and then falling into oblivion: