Sand City

Sand City is a homebrew game by Team Pocket Sand released on 21 August 2023 where you build a city on the beach to bring crabs in to live. It was released to compete in the 64brew Game Jam 2023.

To get the ROM, visit the download page and use the password crabbysandycity or get it from Drive. You can also find the source code on Github.

Sand city style and gameplay

Out of all the entries in the game jam, this one has to be the most difficult to understand. I’m not sure if I’m missing something or if the game is as simple as it seems.

The idea is that you need to build a city for crabs to live in, that much is clear. You can landscape your sand city up and down by adding and removing sand to the pile, and you can build three kinds of buildings:

  • Small Building: 6 sand, 1 cookie, 2 pop, 0 jobs
  • Large Building: 14 sand, 3 cookies, 6 pop, 2 jobs
  • Watchtower: 8 sand, 1 cookie, 1 pop, 2 jobs

Every 150 seconds, you get sand and cookies according to this code:

SC_CityStats.propertyTaxRate = 2;
SC_CityStats.salesTaxRate = 1;
int salesTaxIncome = (1 + (SC_CityStats.mood * .25)) * (SC_CityStats.residents * SC_CityStats.salesTaxRate);
int propTaxIncome = (2 * (SC_CityStats.buildings * SC_CityStats.propertyTaxRate));

So it depends on your population, buildings and mood.

Buildings do have stability and mood, but it doesn’t matter very much since they never collapse and always have a positive mood.

That’s all there really is with the game. If you wait long enough, you’ll get all the money you would ever want, so it’s really just a game of building a fun pattern of sandcastles.

‘Summer’ theme

The summer theme in Sand City comes from the beach setting. Simple as that.


Sand City was made by Team Pocket Sand which consists of:

  • Wade-Tyhon – Programming and graphics
  • Cryb – Music, SFX

Review and conclusion

It’s a bit hard to understand the idea behind this game when you first come to it. You can make buildings and they give you as much money/sand as you want as long as you wait eough so there’s no real challenge. I thought that there might be some kind of disaster, or maybe crabs not wanting to move into the city for whatever reason but that was never the case.

This means that the best way to approach Sand City is to look at it like a design tool to make interesting patterns rather than a game with a challenge. The upgrading/repair doesn’t do anything so there’s a section of the game that wasn’t used at all.

In the interview, Wade said that the game was mostly just a test for working with the graphics engine and that the gameplay elements were added on in the end without much time to get them to work properly. They originally planned to have little crabbies walking around to give the city a bit more life, but that was cancelled due to slowdown and the deadline approaching.

Overall, Sand City is an incomplete game that could have benefitted from a bit more time. That said it is a little bit interesting in the sense that it does look pretty good and gives the player some kind of creativity in the form of city design.

Articles across the web

Sand City is a homebrew simulation game by Team Pocket Sand where you build a city to attract a crabby population to live and work in it.
Article published on N64 Squid


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