Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Toybox: Why Buy New When Digital Will Do?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 218 votes, average: 4.06 out of 5)

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!

Desktop Toy

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.

Lasting Fun?

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.

Toybox Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Toybox Game Screenshots)

Business Model

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).

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9 Responses to 'Toybox: Why Buy New When Digital Will Do?'

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  1. Jack (Wunderbear) said,

    on March 9th, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Quite interesting. I dislike time trials though.

    You want an objective? Try my playset, entitled Save the Bear (From a Grisly End). It’s as fun as it sounds!

    (That is, a lot.)

  2. on March 9th, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    I can’t express enough how much I love this site so far. I’m a huge fanatic of physics games, and having someone who is actually competent review and present them is a treat.

    I’ll be visiting every day. :)

  3. Thomas said,

    on March 10th, 2006 at 5:44 am

    A nice desktop toy indeed, however I felt the physics were a bit on the ‘light’ side. That meaty feeling just isn’t there. Guess it’s a sacrifice they had to make to stop it from eating all the system resources, but still…

  4. Thomas said,

    on March 10th, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    CaptainComedy hits the spot :) This site’s RSS is at the top of my list. The writing and features are top-notch, presenting all these sweet physics possibilities like a giant smörgÃ¥sbord.

  5. Matthew said,

    on March 10th, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    Glad you guys are enjoying the site! Just FYI, updates may thin out a little over the next two weeks–the Game Developer’s Conference is just around the corner, which promises to grind my soul into a ghoulish paste.

  6. Corey said,

    on March 12th, 2006 at 10:58 am

    “the Game Developer’s Conference is just around the corner, which promises to grind my soul into a ghoulish paste”… on the contrary, we are now expecting at least several 2:00am posts about all the GDC physics goodness you discover!

  7. Kurrus said,

    on October 15th, 2006 at 4:55 am

    I like this game, BTW they made it free, so give it a try ;)

  8. Khrob said,

    on October 18th, 2006 at 3:50 am

    Hey all

    I’m the artist over at Souptoys… just thought I’d say g’day to everyone who comes by here and a (very!) belated thanks for the great review! We’re still working hard on the toys (and yes, they’re free!) so stop on by and have a play.


  9. khrob said,

    on November 18th, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Hi all,

    Just a quick update to let you know that we’ve added a heap of new features and toys to the Toybox, and that our good friends at Oberon Media are publishing the full version for it now!

    We’ve made heaps of changes and additions so the toys are now easier than ever to play with – what’s more, we’ve got over 18,000 playsets for you to have fun with over at

    Many thanks to fun-motion for finding us so early on and for all the encouragement we’ve had from here

    Happy playing,


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