iLands is a decent substitute sandbox game

iLands screenshot

iLands is a free game for iPhone and iPad that's available for iOS 4.3 or later. However, iLands Premium is available as an in-app purchase for (US $3.99.) If you're not wanting to drop $6.99 for Minecraft - Pocket Edition, then this is your game. You start with a fresh block world to build on and customize however you chose.

The graphics are pretty decent in comparison to Minecraft - Pocket Edition, but they could be much better. The D-pad on the left side of the screen that allows for strafing, moving forward and backwards. Moving around using the D-pad can become somewhat frustrating at times. The sensitivity takes a little getting used at first, but it's bearable for the most part. The control on the right side is solely for jumping up and worked pretty well. When navigating the terrain, the experience was a little jerky when hopping over obstacles in your path. Sometime the touch targets would not respond unless I tapped them a few times. For instance,when using the X to bust up grass, dirt, or blocks, it would take a more than two taps. The game crashed frequently while I was right in the middle of building and exploring my Solo world.

iLands screenshot

You're allocated a base of building materials that range from sand, grass, bricks. The steel skeleton cubes are unique to iLands because I had never seen anything similar to them in Minecraft - Pocket Edition. The steel skeleton blocks are awesome because you can build a solid structure and still have a view and daylight unlike building with solid blocks. I enjoyed building with the cobblestone to construct houses and roads. The materials with locks can be unlocked by purchasing the full version. For this review I only played the free version.

If you're looking for the survival mode similar to Minecraft - Pocket Edition, you will not find it in the free version of iLands. I'm unsure it something like survival is available in the full paid version. I tend to play in creative mode all the time in Minecraft - Pocket Edition anyway, so I didn't mind that in iLands.

Overall, iLands is worth the free download if you love building with blocks in a virtual world like I do. I'd be interested in learning what all the paid version of the game allows the user to do, aside from unlocking building materials. I enjoyed creating buildings and whatever else my imagination decided to dream up.