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Sandbox Mode

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In quite a lot of games there's a lot of huge and cool environments or areas. They may feature lush interaction, cool challenges, points of interest, or just contain a shit-ton of stuff that you can do, but couldn't in the main game. Some games feature a bonus mode where the player can interact with all of that with either some constraints or not at all.

This trope is mostly used in games, but if there's any other folder based tropes, please, add more.


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  • Ape Escape games had a few "extra" modes. Some were Time Trial mode, but another was "Free Play" mode, which gave you infinite lives within the level you chose the mode for. This mode made it so the player could explore the level without having to worry about dying and running out of lives. In the third one, there's only one major flaw which can ruin the experience: Getting caught with your own Monkey Net. Why? It sends you back to the Hub Level, which normally wouldn't reset much, but your progress in "Free Mode" is not saved.
  • Bloons Tower Defense games starting from 4 (which was likely the Trope Namer) include a sandbox mode which is unlocked at rank 25/26 in which you have nearly unlimited money and lives and you can test all towers as well as bloons in it.
  • In Colobot, after you unlock a planet in the normal missions, you also unlock its sandbox version, where you can build any of the buildings and robots you have already unlocked in the main campaign.
  • DayZ from ARMA 2 might be Dead Rising 2 OTR's realistic other. Sadly this is limited due to Perma-death.
  • Dead Rising 2: Off the Record features this and is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The player has the freedom to do everything they could normally, but with infinite time. The game goes through a loop of the games 3-4 day cycle, every survivor's a psychopath, and there's challenges to do to unlock Protoman's outfit or just get achievements, and if you got a buddy to play, co-operative version of this! It's supposed to be Dead Rising 1's Infinite Mode's spiritual successor.
    • In DR2: OTR Dead Rising 1 had Infinite Mode which had Frank survive and vice versa. Could be averted since it got a hunger system exclusive to DR1 which depletes Frank's health one by one after 120 seconds, giving you finite time to roam around the games world freely.
      • Another difference between the follwing Dead Rising games are that DR1 Frank will die at some point, since health items are finite and he can only go on for so much time before dying from starvation, whereas DR2 had a multiplayer mode instead to earn cash, while DR2: OTR followed it by the book.
  • Learn To Fly 3: A sandbox mode can be unlocked in which you can raise or lower many attributes such your speed, gravity, the amount of obstacles and control power. Just don't raise them too much or you will crash the game.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon has Mega Park, a map unlocked for completing every base game scenario. Every type of object can be researched here, and you have no objective. You are still limited by your funds, however.
    • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 added a true sandbox mode to the series, giving you a wide open space to build and unlimited funds with all objects unlocked.
  • Toy Story 3, the game, is most famous for its sandbox mode.
  • Zoo Tycoon has Freeform games as an alternative to the scenarios. Here you have no objectives to complete, and can design a zoo as you wish in one of many maps. You don't have unlimited funds, but can choose to start with anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000. You also still have to research various upgrades and unlock objects. Marine Mania adds a "Kids Map", which is even more of a sandbox, starting you off with a few exhibits and with everything unlocked.
    • Zoo Tycoon 2 retains something very similar to the original Freeform, now called Challenge mode. Freeform itself is now even more of a sandbox, giving you unlimited funds and unlocking all animals and objects from the start.


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