Following loosely in the footsteps of other "element creation" games like Doodle God, Toca Lab lets you discover various substances to fill out a periodic table. But unlike any game before it, Toca Lab presents everything in full 3D, giving each element a hilarious personality, temperament and even a voice.
You start out with just one element -- the element "P," or Phosphorus, to be exact -- and you must use it to discover others. Finding new elements is as simple as playing around with the various lab equipment at your disposal. Taking Phosphorus and heating it up on a burner produces Nitrogen gas, element "N" on the periodic table. This has no basis in actual science of course, but it's an extremely fun and rewarding way to fill out the table.
Not all elements respond to all experiments, however, so finding new substances quickly becomes a matter of exciting trial and error. Sometimes elements respond in ways other than simply becoming a different element, such as certain gases turning into thunderous storm clouds when exposed to electricity. This won't help you fill out the table, but finding out how certain elements react to heat, cold, electricity or chemicals still offers the excitement of discovery.
In all, there are 118 elements to discover and experiment with, which should keep you busy for a good long while. However, it's worth noting that the app is facing a good deal of criticism due to its extremely unscientific take on the periodic table. Many user reviews call foul, claiming that the app could mislead kids into thinking that freezing an element, for example, can turn it into another element.
No, Toca Lab doesn't offer even a slightly realistic look at the elements that make up our world, but as a game, it's downright fantastic. For US$2.99 you'll get hours of charming fun, as long as you can suspend your disbelief.