Mandarth’s Cavern
Danger – reading this blog can be fatally addictive.

Review 2- Burning Sand 2

Before I go any further into this review I thought I might settle a potential problem that some may have with this game. After playing it, it is quite probable that Someone would say “Mandarth, you Sexual Dynamo! Burning Sand 2 isn’t a game at all, rather more like a tool or a fun program,” and then go off ridiculously pleased with themselves as if they had just singlehandely proved that gravity was a CIA plot to keep us on earth just that bit longer. So, In a pre-emptive strike that even America would be proud of, I say this back. A game is a very loose term, probably best described as “An activity, with specified goals and boundaries, engaged in by one or more people for the merriment of said persons.” Seeing as this definition also encompasses Burglary, Participating in KKK rituals and enjoying anything by Pauly Shore, you can see what I mean by ‘loose’ definition. So let my provide my own, one that perhaps applies more to electronic games than any other: “An Activity from which enjoyment is derived, achievements achieved, and time wasted.” Yes, I know it’s shocking, but you try and come up with something better. And on that note I can only say 2 other things:

  1. Many of the ‘games’ that this Blog shall review could be said to be merely applications. However, the fun comes from designing your own challenges and experimenting with the tools that it has to offer.
  2. If you cant take it, Piss off.

So now onto this weeks review!


Burning Sand 2, created by Max Nagl, is a small application that I came across when searching for “Free online Sandbox Games.” Discovering a website called “” I was presented with a number of different applications, all dealing with the same premise: Particles. Yes, Particles.  Rather than being as interesting as a Year 9 Science lesson, these games provided perhaps one of the most varied, unique and enjoyable timewasting experiences I have found so far. Each was based on a simple system. . The Premise is this: you begin with a blank screen and then through a series of icons, you place certain elements (Such as oil or water, each represented by different coloured falling piecesof sand) in the space and watch them interact. For example, placing oil to fall, and holding fire beneath it, would set the oil on fire and create a small explosion. There were many variations on this site, each catering to a different taste, such as ecology (Plants, seeds, dirt and water interactions) or Explosions (Fire andevery type of explosive imaginable), but the most popular of all of these was ‘Burning Sand 2.’ This is because it takes all of the features of the other applications and rolls them into one streamlined game.


The amount of options that Burning Sand 2 offers is fantastic. You can chose from a total of 5 different element categories- Earth Tools, Water Tools, Fire Tools, Nature Tools and Gas Tools. In each of these categories contains at least 5 other elements each with its own properties. Each of these tools can be selected and spawned into the game space in a variety of different shapes and sizes. “Wait a second Mandarth,” you may say, “I’ve put an element into the game space and, despite being a beautiful display of particle physics in a game engine, this act is as boring as a re-run of Scrubs!” To this I would reply “You’ve missed the entire point of the game you twat! …. And Scrubs is Awesome.” The whole fun of this game comes by treating it as a combination of Paint, The Incredible Machine and CERN. The whole point is to watch what happens when the elements interact, an activity that occurs with remarkable similarity to the real world. For example- if i was to line the bottom of the screen with a source of fire (Sources are places where an element never stops being created) and on to it pour a whole bunch of water, the first water to hit would turn into steam until the fire was overwhelmed. Then it would heat up, then boil and eventually turn to a new element-Steam. If you added salt to this, the water would turn into salt water and wouldn’t boil as fast. Another example- Setting fire to the element of wood would burn slower than if you set fire to the plant element, and the burning of the wood would leave another new element-Ash.

Many things explode in Burning Sand 2...

Many things explode in Burning Sand 2...

Quite a bit of the fun in this game comes from creating real world scenarios, and then watching what happens when you destroy the living crap out of them. I made a small ecosystem, complete with a forest, ocean, tectonic plates, rain and dinosaurs made out of fireworks, then gained immense pleasure from playing god by releasing a meteor storm upon the entire mess.

The game itself is very easy to deal with. Each of the elemental categoriesis set out under a banner of symbols so even if you cant read you can still pretty much understand what will catch fire and what will blow up. There are a ridiculous number of options to play with a well, ranging from the size and type of brush used to the direction and strength of gravity. You are given 3 different ways to play the game: Sandbox, Mods and Levels. However, there are only 2 poorly conceived levels, and though the Mods for the game may keep you interested for a while, the only purpose they serve is to reinforce the awesomeness you could be achieving by playing in the sand box.

In a whimsical note to all those people who, rather than playing a game, enjoy modding it you shall be pleased to know that this game is very modifiable and a multitude of different alterations can be made fairly easily.

An Example of A mod made with Burning Sand 2

An Example of A mod made with Burning Sand 2

So Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Burning Sand 2, my official Number 2 Post, and also my official 2nd favourite time waster. Tune in next week for Number 1!

Mandarth Out!


Tips for Playing

  • Run the game in full screen
  • Go nuts with your imagination
  • Experiment with different combinations of elements to see what happens.
  • If you need to get rid of something quickly, place the question mark element (?) under the X category and see what happens. However, i challenge you to get rid of it once its placed…

Mandarth’s Challenge

Attempt to create a chain reaction that lasts for over 10 minutes. For example, have water released onto fire, which turns into steam, which destroys the plants above it, which releases acid and so on. Post how long you got in the comments!

Download Here!

Burning Sand 2 Download Link. Scroll down the page to Download!


2 Responses to “Review 2- Burning Sand 2”


  2. I’ve had this game for a long time and I think I’ve tested every combination of elements. One of my favourites is that fire extinguisher blows up glue. I wonder if that will really happen…

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