Alpha Season 3 of The Sandbox concluded not too long ago. They drove a lot of players to the 90 different game experiences. During the 2 months, they had about 360k players, averaged 30k DAU, and average session length of 20 minutes. I tried all 90 experiences and here are my picks for the top 5.

5. Nine Chen’s Wonderland

This was a multiplayer experience, and the game design revolved around exploring the map. All multiplayer maps are about exploring at this point in The Sandbox. It had great visuals and some really amazing assets, like the one shown above.

4. Lululand

Lululand was another multiplayer experience with gorgeous landscapes full of hidden areas, perfect for exploration. Beyond that, they also implemented an innovative workaround to show ads inside The Sandbox.

They created their own NFTs which allowed them to manually update the image metadata on IFPS. I noticed this after jumping into the experience on different days. In the same location, I noticed two different images. I knew that functionality wasn’t possible in The Sandbox so I dug into how this was done. Well done!

3. Sueco’s Split Personality

This was a fun single-player game that used multiple game mechanics: trivia, mini-parkour, and a few fighting battles. If a game was created using just one of those mechanics, it would feel very grindy. I really like that those mechanics were used sparingly, making the game feel fresh.

The quests were also well designed. One particular thing I liked about this experience was that when you finished one of the quests, you were immediately teleported to the scene of where the next quest would start.

I also thought this was a very good brand integration as I still remember some of the details about Sueco.

2. The Walking Dead: Stay Alive

This game experience was extremely on-brand. The Walking Dead universe is all about having limited resources, endless waves of walkers, and never about direct fighting with walkers. This game experience captured many of these things. Combat was indirect. Instead of fighting walkers head-on, the player has to trick them to walk into barbed wires, which would kill them.

There wasn’t many unique assets that were created, which is fine. The quests were fun, but felt a bit long. That was the main reason why it didn’t get the number 1 spot.

1. Hanjin’s Music Palooza

This was my favorite experience in Sandbox Season 3 by far. It was very fun, and had a Crossy Road feel. The game design used different elements like parkour, climbing, fighting, and some trivia. Again, had the full game been just parkour, or climbing it would have felt like a grind.

Finishing a quest sent the player to another one nearby. It was very well thought out. I noticed this was a problem with many of the experiences in Season 3. A player would finish a quest, and then have to walk across the entire map to get to the next one. That’s where a large drop-off in players would occur.

For a further breakdown on each game, check out this clip:

Concluding Thoughts

The multiplayer experiences in Season 3 had very little gameplay. The developers of those experiences did their best based on the limited functionality of the GameMaker. The best multiplayer experiences thus relied on having great visuals and unique assets as was in the case of Nine Chen’s Wonderland, or a well-designed map for exploration as was in the case of Lululand.

The best single player experiences were well-designed games. It had a good onboarding, the quests were fun, and were clearly playtested. If I got stuck on a part of a quest for more than a few minutes, I left the experience completely and didn’t come back.

All in all, the future of The Sandbox Metaverse is looking bright. I hope to see even more fun experiences in Season 4 as well as showcasing the game our team has been working on.

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