Toybox by Souptoys is a neat product. It isn’t exactly a game, in that you aren’t given any concrete goals. There’s nothing to accomplish; it’s a toy. Souptoys describes their product as:
Souptoys are the newest way to have fun on your computer. Sitting right alongside your other applications, Souptoys turn your desktop into a playroom. They are fun and simple to play with and have unlimited possibilities. Build great castles, set up fantastic contraptions, decorate your desktop or just fling your toys around. It’s your choice – They’re your toys!
Basically, Toybox is a collection of 60 different physics contraptions: Levers, balls, balloons, catapult, and so on. The application is a desktop toy in the sense that it doesn’t go full screen or have its own primary window. Instead, the toys have their own transparency and fit into the normal Windows drawing order.
Toybox ships with 39 different pre-configured setups, called playsets. Some are fairly static, like castles and flower beds. Others are designed with interaction in mind. The video is captured from the “Target Practice”. It’s obviously set up so you can lob baseballs at the different toys set up across from the catapult. Of course, you could always pick up the blocks directly and smash things apart yourself.
You can save your own playset, which records the position of all of the objects. I didn’t see any way to manually edit the positions of things, though. For instance, you couldn’t place 10 balls hanging in the air and save that starting position as a playset (they would all fall to the ground before you could click the save button).
There are additional playsets available on their website, too, uploaded by other users. The process is a little cumbersome, unfortunately. Uploading and downloading new playsets should be handled in-application, particularly if they’re hoping to engage the casual user.
Toybox is available with an Armadillo-controlled 60-minute trial period. Despite its technical uniqueness and plethora of options, I can’t really see myself playing with Toybox past those 60 minutes. I’m probably not representative of their market, but I crave just a little bit more–some kind of multiplayer, maybe, which would be worth the additional development. Or perhaps the addition of goal-direct minigames would keep me playing. As it stands, I fiddle around with things for a few minutes before I inevitably end up bored. I’m willing to admit that I simply lack the imagination necessary to play with toys.
If you’re looking for inspiration for alternative business models, Toybox is a good example of something that completely breaks the mold of most downloadable games. If they’re able to improve their community features I think they’ll be able to slowly build a user base. And then, of course, sell expansion pack after expansion pack of new toys. I’m very curious to know if they’ve thought out their long-term business plan at all.
Try It Out!
Toybox is a great way to unwind, particularly if your real desk is far too cluttered to play with toys (or perhaps far too cluttered with toys). It’s a fun time waster, and clicking the X is certainly a lot faster than picking up after real toys.
Head over to Souptoys’ webpage to download the 60-minute Toybox demo (12.5 MB).