Note: If you’re interested in publishing a portfolio of games with low costs that bring in downloads long-term, I recommend first checking out our free video that describes our simple App Scaling Formula and how we made well over six figures last year from apps. Update: November 12, 2014: We no longer have Buildbox and thus do not see the updates, fixes, improvements, etc. Buildbox and Game Academy will continue to improve their software, but we will not see these changes anymore and cannot comment on that. Also, I would like to mention that GameAcademy support has always been very helpful (as seen in the comments below)–replying very quickly (within 24 hours) and providing the answers we’re looking for.

Damn, that Trey Smith is so good at marketing… (and more on that later). My partner and I, of course, watched his presentations about his new software: Buildbox. At the time (August 2014), it was impossible to find a Buildbox review buildbox review screen shotbecause the software was brand new. After being blown away by the videos, we talked about it… then talked again. We were on the fence. With other projects in the works, it would be tough to dedicate time to this; however, it would be nice to have if we could spit out games quickly without spending so much time on coding. Thanks to some profitable projects, we were in a position where we could spend the $2,675 and it wouldn’t completely break our bank account. When we put the pros (assets that come with it and bonuses if we buy early, plus we’ll be able to review the software for you guys) against the cons (price, software could very well stop getting updated after 6 months to a year), we decided we were 51/49 in favor of biting the bullet and buying it. To be honest, it was me that pushed us from 50/50 to 51/49 to buy it. 2 months later… we haven’t created anything with the Buildbox software, and not because we’re lazy. Damn (sorry, Lee!). Here’s an honest Buildbox review for you if you’re on the fence, especially since it is reopening for sale (very convenient, and more on that later). There are no affiliate links here and we are in no way affiliated with Buildbox or  

Buildbox Review – The Buildbox Software by Trey Smith of GameAcademy

When you’re thinking about this type of investment, there are some obvious things to consider. Let’s go right through those factors; hopefully that will help you understand if the Buildbox software is right for you.

The Software Itself

This is probably what you’re looking for if you stumbled upon this post after Googling “Buildbox Review.” You want to know–is the software good? My answer is yes and no. When we first bought it in August 2014, Buildbox was buggy as hell. I bought it thinking I could remake Swing Copters (the new app that Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen released), but boy was I wrong. I totally thought it would be easy, especially since Trey Smith shows that he can build a Flappy bird clone in less than 1 minute using the Buildbox software. If you can build Flappy Bird, you should totally be able to build Swing Copters, right? Wrong. After messing with it for a few hours, I realized that you can’t make the levels move upwards–meaning, you could only have the game move right–like a character walking across or flying across the screen. That was extremely frustrating, especially since it was shown to go in multiple directions in the videos of Buildbox. But that’s not all… the action of the character in Swing Copters is to move right when first clicked, but move left when clicked a second time. Buildbox doesn’t allow this–your character can move multiple directions, but you have to assign different buttons to those actions, so making the character go left instead of right with the same button click isn’t possible. And that’s just the half of it. Trey shows that the code can be exported easily to Xcode. When I exported, though, the code was pre-compiled, making it very difficult to work with. On top of that, the app did not function at all like it did in Buildbox. Bummer. That said, did respond to my concern and noted that they were working on the fix for the directional problem. Since then, the software has been updated a handful of times, and I believe you can now make a game that moves forward up & down instead of only left & right; however, I haven’t had the time to test it because with less effort, I could reskin a $27 Quiz code or our Bingo game, which would almost certainly make more money. Also, I still wouldn’t be able to make Swing Copters because of the movement of the character that I mentioned above. You could, however, make a portfolio of runner games, if that’s your thing, and you could use the characters and objects he provides so you wouldn’t have to hire a graphic designer.

Images, Music, and Sounds

buildbox background images

This is actually probably my favorite thing about the purchase–it did come with a good amount of images, music, and sounds as you can see above and below. However, they are very specific to action games, like a flying dragon or a spikey wheel. Sadly, I probably won’t be able to use the images with our other apps. The music and sounds are pretty good, too, but you can license this stuff for like $1-$5 a piece on GraphicRiver (actually it looks like all of the graphics that he gives us are on GraphicRiver!!), so it’s not that big of a deal.

buildbox characters images

Price/Cost of Buildbox

When we purchased it, Buildox was $2,675 outright or you could do monthly payments for a larger total cost. When thinking about this, here’s what you should consider:

How risky is $2,675+ for you?

For us, it’s a sizable risk, but if we do absolutely nothing with it, yeah, that would suck, but we can recover because we have so many other apps and projects. Is that true for you? Would you recover, or will you be spending your entire app budget on it? I would only recommend buying this if you have a lot more money to work with. You will certainly need it. Publishing games with Buildbox might look and sound very easy, but there are some details that are left out in the videos and it still requires a lot of patience and knowledge.

What else could you do with that money?

This is really important to think about. You could spend $2,675 to make an unlimited amount of pretty much only runner-style games with the Buildbox software (and get access to the fairly large selection of images and audio), or you could spend that money to buy 10 or more different source codes for apps that are proven to make money in many different categories, like a  Bingo game would. The key here is portfolio differentiation. Yes, you can make a bunch of different apps in Buildbox that look different, but there’s no chance you can make a Bingo game. There’s no chance you can make a Photo editing app. Even if you drill into games, you can’t make a Casino game like a slot machine. Really, you’re limited to Adventure-style games that will pretty much only be runner-style games (with levels, or endless runner style, or both). Flappy Bird would be included in this style because it’s essentially a runner game–the only different is it’s flying instead of running. So if you’re thinking about it, is that what you want? Do you want a collection of runner adventure games? If you’re new and just starting out, I would advise against it. Here’s why… When you’re a beginner in big bad app world, you need to hit what makes the most money, and adventure-style games are some of the worst at monetizing. Bingo and other casino games, like poker, solitaire, and dice, on the other hand, do the best with ads. Or if you want to hit long-term in-app purchase revenue, specific niches with content-based source codes kill it (learn more about that with our free video here). But adventure just doesn’t pay much in terms of ad revenue or in-app purchases. We know this from experience. You might be thinking: but Trey Smith’s first game built with the Buildbox software reached Top 30 in the App Store and made a ton of money, and his Line Zen app did even better! But did you know that it was because of a licensing deal that he hooked up with the major app development company Ketchapp? If you’re not familiar with Ketchapp, they published a game you might’ve heard of: it’s called 2048. Now, whenever they release any title, it reaches the Top Charts in the App Store, despite how crappy how it is. Trey, with his marketing power, hooked up with them and teamed up to re-release the game under Ketchapp, and that’s when it shot to the top of the charts because of Ketchapp’s insane power of cross-promotion. If you want to get that many downloads, you’re gonna need a deal with Ketchapp, too, or some crazy marketing power. And good luck getting that! Thousands of people try to make deals with Ketchapp, but if you can’t sell a ketchup (no pun intended) popsicle to a woman in white gloves, you won’t be so lucky. Conveniently, right after the huge surge in downloads (over 1 million) of his game, Trey and GameAcademy are reopening the Buildbox software for purchase again… and I’m sure we’ll hear about how the first game he built with Buildbox achieved a million downloads. The point needs to be emphasized that the game wouldn’t have hit the Top Charts without Ketchapp.

Updates & The Future

So far, they’ve been making a lot of updates to fix the many problems that the software currently has, but I’m genuinely concerned about the future. Here’s why: Pretty much every year, Trey Smith and GameAcademy release a product like this. Before, it was named Project Zero or Project Mayhem. Then it was Project Mayhem 2. We wrote about that one, and it had an even bigger price tag. Knowing that he had these other software packages (that some people claim aren’t being updated nearly enough) should’ve been a red flag. It’s almost certain that he will release a new Buildbox type of software, but maybe it’ll be named something different, and you’ll have to pay all over again to get access… and it’ll be much better than this version, albeit with its own set of problems and bugs. After Buildbox gets 1,000 sales and makes Trey another couple million dollars, why would he spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in support and fixing the software, when he could just create another Buildbox and sell it for $2,675 all over again? See the predicament? Sadly, as much as I think Trey seems like a genuine, cool guy, I don’t see updates going beyond a 12-18 months, and we could be left with an inferior product that never gets updated or doesn’t keep up with changes in iOS versions, etc. That’s the risk that comes with software like this.

The Bottom Line: Should You Buy Buildbox?

What this comes down to is awesome marketing with somewhat-good software. My honest opinion is that you should only buy Buildbox if you can afford to lose all that money, you have the time to spend to only focus on adventure-style games (and for some reason, those are the only games you want to build), you’ll make use of the graphics & sounds, and you can get it done fast, before the app landscape changes significantly. In other words, I’d rather buy something else, like a collection of really cool source codes, so your portfolio is more diversified and thus, less risky. If you’re a beginner, it’s really easy to learn how to reskin apps–easier than learning the Buildbox software. Drag and drop software and limiting yourself to adventure games isn’t the answer. If you’re just starting out: [Tweet “Don’t spend $3k on software you might not use. Buy 10 source codes instead.”]
Do you have the Buildbox software and disagree? Agree? Let us know if the comments. We really want this to be an honest Buildbox review, and getting other perspectives is more than welcomed.

89 thoughts on “Buildbox Review – Is the Trey Smith GameAcademy Buildbox Software Worth It?

  1. Very good article. Clear, concise and pretty unbiased. That is a pretty huge price tag, as you said, so I want good value for it. Knowing that it doesn’t offer much variety, or ease of use or long term support, I would not even consider it. I watched the slick marketing videos too and I was very curious. Building software with huge claims but doesn’t deliver would be scathed in any other market. Legit software that last we use to develop – Photoshop, Maya, Unity, etc is all cheaper but they are reputable proprietors. They are going to be here for the long haul and updated regularly. I cannot believe Trey gets away with this to be honest. His business dealings do not seem to possess integrity. I think that you guys nailed it when you said that he is essentially out to benefit himself. Thanks for the article. I hope that it will be read by many.

    1. Thanks Tim. I do like the guy–I follow him, I learn from him, and I respect his opinions about cloners and app reskinners, although I have a different perspective. That said, I do agree with your point that legit software (which is cheaper) is in for the long haul, and it just doesn’t seem like we’re going to get that same kind of attention… since his software in the past claims very similar things and from what I’ve heard, updates aren’t good enough. I would love to be proven wrong. Personally, I think all of this should have been labelled Project Mayhem and it should all be the same software.

  2. While I appreciate the honest review (there are still very few out there), I think you guys often miss interpret Trey Smith, Game Academy, and their software. (Disclaimer: while I never met him in person, I did a few tasks for him as an intern and got access to most of his software for free). It’s intended to give you a way to create a portfolio of games without a programmer and with the art bonuses, without an artist. Of course reskinning takes less time and effort and may be more profitable. But Game Academy is about building a business of games and value, not just filling the appstores with essentially the same app. The value of Buildbox is that no two games are likely to be the same, unlike with reskins.

    FYI, those who bought Game Studio Elite (aka PM2) are getting Buildbox for free and PM2 is still getting updated.

    Also, I don’t think it’s fair to review software you didn’t even use just because it couldn’t make a Swing Copters clone. If you want to chase trends then reskinning is definitely a better path to take. It’s a game builder after all and will be limited.

    With all that said, there are some things I do agree with in your post. Buildbox and their other software isn’t for everybody so it is up to the individual to decide if it’s worth it.

    1. Thank you Sean! I’m really glad you wrote in because I was hoping to get some push-back. Thanks for the disclaimer as well.
      I think you’re right, also–something I could’ve brought up is Trey’s stance on reskinning. He does think app developers should take their time to develop something unique or at the very minimum, takes an idea and improves upon it, and his software was clearly built with that vision in mind. Our stance is that beginners can learn so much from reskinning (while making a living in the process), that it’s a great way to start, and then it’s up to them where they want to go from there. We also know, from experience, that reskinning is almost certainly the more viable option for someone quitting their job and having bills to pay, since often you’ll get proven results from a source code and it’ll be less than a tenth of the price of the Buildbox software.
      It’s really good to hear that PM2 is getting updated and that he gave Buildbox for free to those buyers. I had no idea that was the case… and that eases the tension a lot for me.
      As far as not using the software, I legitimately spent a good amount of time working through it, and I watched every single tutorial that they offer. I rebuilt the same flappy bird game he did in his tutorial and when I exported the code and ran it on my device, it was a total disaster. So while Swing Copters was my first choice in what I wanted to create with Buildbox, it wasn’t the only thing, and when I weighed the options (i.e. should we build an endless runner game and figure out why Buildbox isn’t exporting correctly–or should we build a new custom keyboard for iOS 8), other projects made a lot more sense, and I stand by that decision. I am 99.9% confident that we have made more money with recently launched projects than what we would’ve with any Buildbox game(s) that we could’ve created.
      Again, thanks for sharing–it’s important to hear both sides and I think your opinion should be considered by everyone else who stumbles upon this article.

  3. Thanks Justin for this review. I’ll be honest, I was considering buying BuildBox especially since his app was so successful in such a short period of time. Maybe I’m naive, but I was not expecting a price tag of almost 3 grand. I’m new to the app business and you are absolutely right, I don’t have that kind of money to lay out on one software tool. I would much rather purchase source codes to reskin. I follow your website all the time and have never been disappointed or misled by any of your articles. I will attend the opening Monday to give Trey a fair chance to wow me, but at least I will go in with my eyes wide open. Thanks again for your honest review.

    1. Thanks Wynne. I’m curious how you feel about the second round of BuildBox videos… and I’m even more curious if he’ll be completely honest with everyone and explain that he achieved 1 million downloads because of his licensing deal with Ketchapp! If you have a chance, we’d love to hear your thoughts after Monday’s presentations.

  4. Yes, he really emphasizes the point of modeling and improving instead of just cloning.
    I agree, reskinning is a great way to get into apps, especially if you go the bootstrap method and do everything yourself (graphics from sites like graphicriver, a little Photoshop, uploading to iTC, which is what I’ve mostly done). Anything “original” will require more time and effort compared to proven source code (that is not to say that all source codes are clones of popular apps, just that anything you start from scratch is a lot harder to get right).
    But really, the performance of an app depends on so much more than the app itself that I think it’s an unfair comparison. The package comes with everything you could need to create games without having to outsource any jobs (with a little work) which significantly reduces the cost. I think this is ultimately the value he’s providing (or trying to at least). Reskinning has its pros and cons and so does this package.
    I read on a Unity forum thread that the price was too high and I agree. Project Zero was ~$500 or so when I bought it and I think Buildbox would have had greater appeal with a lower price point.
    I’m glad you spent a lot of time using the software. PM1 and 2 took me a while to get used to from PZ, and PZ was easy to use so I don’t think learning the software is too much work if you are really committed to making games using any of their software. I’d also argue that all game builders have a learning curve but that is instead of learning to program games, which is the tradeoff.
    In my opinion, Builbox and the other software really take a lot of creativity to create really fun games people actually wanna play. Gameplay testing and debugging isn’t always the funnest thing either.
    Since I don’t have the software to try, I didn’t know it exported messy code. That is definitely a minus!
    He mentions the Ketchapp deal on his Facebook page. I can’t say whether he will mention it in the relaunch event but he’s not hiding it.
    Happy to give my opinion!

    1. I agree with your perspective. I think the trouble people are having (and everyone I’ve talked to that have bought it) is that the software isn’t as smooth and complete as pitched, although I do agree that he seems to have good intentions and wants to make the software better–only time will tell where it goes from here. Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Justin,
    Thank you for the straight-forward review of Buildbox. I have been very curious about it and was honestly tempted to buy it. I emailed their support guys Friday to ask a few technical questions and have not yet received a response.

    The videos are good at dazzling you but the entire process has to be considered. Therefore, I asked about the export of the code and what has to be done in xCode (for example) before you can upload to iTunes. I am glad you mentioned the quality of the code that was exported. Since this was not even demonstrated in the marketing videos, I suspected there may be problems there.

    I also asked about ad network integration, which I suspect does not exist in Buildbox and therefore, you still need to do some work in the native development software (again, xCode as an example). This alone could cause some Buildbox buyers to hire a programmer if they cannot do the integration themselves. Maybe the cost of outsourcing it would be relatively small, but it is still a cost in terms of money and time. Buyers will need to keep this in mind unless they are going the Paid app route, which Trey doesn’t seem to tout at all. Obviously, everyone’s goal is to make money from their apps. I don’t necessarily expect the builder software to include ad networks, but the lack of discussion on this topic in the marketing videos is interesting to me.

    Thanks again for your review! You saved me some time tomorrow, as I removed a certain reminder from my calendar… 🙂

    1. Yep, for sure. The software’s purpose is to get rid of the developer and graphic designer, but unfortunately it’s just not there yet, unless you only want iAds. To be fair, here’s what someone who used the software more recently than me has said for ad networks that work: “admob (banner & interstitial) and iAd (banner), but tested the others some time ago and they weren’t working.”
      Supposedly, more ad networks are supposed to be functional, and that’s my main problem with the software–it’s not finished yet, but it’s being reopened for sale (conveniently when Phases hit the Top Charts and before it’s totally crashed back down). Instead of making more money on it, they should fix the major issues and constraints.
      The deal with exporting to Xcode is this crappy little thing called “pre-compilation.” If you’re not familiar with coding, basically that means each piece of the game isn’t separated out like normal code would be; instead it’s all compiled together, which makes it impossible to separate out actions (like when the character jumps) and other parts. When you do this, you get one group of code for the entire gameplay, and that makes it impossible to really get in there and change small things if you want. I guess that’s somewhat fair, though, since this isn’t marketed for people who want to tweak in Xcode–it’s supposed to be a full solution. But again, it’s not a full solution yet because of all the missing features and bugs.

  6. Thanks for the review, Malik.

    I’ve been following Trey closely for a few years now, and I think he is super smart guy and a great marketer.

    He is so smart, in fact, that he realized that the best business during the gold rush is NOT digging for gold, but selling shovels. 🙂

    And that’s exactly what he is doing. He is no longer in the business of making apps. NONE of his apps (either under Kayabit or under Secret HQ Inc accounts) have been updated for over a year. Phases is the only game he made in 2014 and it was probably for one purpose and one purpose only – sell his Buildbox software.

    His deal with Ketchapp was brilliant..he probably gave them better than a regular 50/50 split, and a piece of his Buildbox profits.

    1. I think you’re spot on. It’s a genius move, and now he can market the software to any non-programmer in the world, setting his customer base to 95% of the population, including children (or their parents, really), all the while touting that the very first game he created with his software got over 1 million downloads. While genius, it’s misleading, and I really hope he’s more transparent about that in his sales videos.

  7. Hi guys,
    Thanks for this post, you guys are the real thing. I have been reskinning for more than a year now, and this review just makes me more sure of what i thout before – Do not buy this software!! Why? Becuase it would take a very long time to be ROI positive if at all. If there are no ads integrations you would need to pay a programmer to complete the game. In this industry you need to make your money back in 1 month at worst, and then double it in 2, otherwise you are loosing money (because your time is spent badly). I think anyone starting off in reskining/app development should not spend more than 500$ on any software. And by the way, there are many game builders out there, some for as little as 99$ a year, that can do Flappy Birds and many other games.

    1. You’re right–game salad, game maker, and then if you want to learn more of the technical, Unity is a better option. There are lots of options, and I’ll be honest; I didn’t do my research when we purchased this. I really should have, because there aren’t many additional features in this software that isn’t already offered by others–maybe just the cool lighting effects, which most people probably won’t use.
      And yeah, I do think ROI is going to be much tougher with this compared to buying one source code that you want to work on (and improve if you can).

  8. I’m a Trey customer since the Project Zero days and moved along to Project Mayhem, Project Mayhem 2 and received Buildbox and all bonuses for free as a customer. In addition to this I also reskin from existing source code, use Unity and Game Salad and develop my own apps if it’s not in the games genre. I find it strange that there is so much negative feedback on Trey’s software and programs especially considering that I made some great money not just using his software, graphics and audio, but using the app marketing principles I learnt through his various courses. Honestly for what you get from the courses alone (that comes with all his software) it’s more than worth the price tag of the software.

    Project Mayhem 2 is still being updated and received amazing support from his team. Buildbox as with all software has it’s teething problems. I’ve never in my all my years in the development industry seen any software at v.1.0 come out with no issues and Buildbox is no exception. The great thing is that Nik (the developer and his team) are always working on it. I’d be more surprised if it was perfect.

    Everything he claims in the marketing videos are true. I’ve been testing and creating games with the software since launch and have been able to replicate everything touted in the videos. The only time anyone would need a developer is to upload from Xcode to ITC if you lack the technical skills – other than that all the ad network frameworks (Chartboost, Revmob, iAd, Vungle, Leadbolt, Admob, Mopub and Playhaven, are already in the source with no requirements for a developer to manually edit anything in the Xcode project. This was true for Project Mayhem 2 and is true for Buildbox.

    I’m a huge proponent of diversifying and that’s where I agree with you guys. I would say that potential entrants into this game should begin with reskinning, but by all means they should look into all app revenue avenues and formats as it can only enhance their portfolios and knowledge of the app industry.

    I’m a fan of you guys as I love when appreneurs succeed and share their knowledge with others. So please don’t take this the wrong way, but respectfully, I do feel that this review has a (albeit small) marketing agenda aimed at your own source codes. If it didn’t include allusions to your own source code I might not think that, but it is what it is.

    To those deciding on whether to buy Buildbox or not or any other marketing package that Trey has to offer, ask the people who’ve garnered success through his teaching and tools and have been doing so for longer than a year (like myself, Sean above or any number of the game producers who offer reviews on his site.) As a member of his forums I can guarantee that they are real people.

    Thanks for allowing me to state my opinion and trust me it’s an honest one – even if it is on the internet 😉


    1. Thanks, Jonin. I’m always open to other perspectives.

      You mentioned that what you get from the courses is more than worth the price tag of the software… while I think the course section is fairly good, especially for beginners, I definitely do not think it’s worth $2600+. 95% of that information can be found on app development blogs or in books, or if you want to pay for that aspect, a complete solution like AppEmpire can provide it for a lower cost.

      As for the software, when we tried to replicate the simplest of games (like the Flappy Bird clone) using the tutorials, we ran into a bunch of issues. The simulator wasn’t looking right, there were issues with the hit zones, not all of the ad networks mentioned in the videos worked, and exporting to Xcode/running on an actual device did not work and look like it did in the simulator. I also did not like the fact that everything was pre-compiled, making it really difficult if not impossible to make some small changes to the game. For those reasons, we had to move on to other projects. I contacted GameAcademy support, and while they did respond, one of the answers we got was that it was indeed broken and it needed to be fixed. I agree, software is rarely perfect the first time around. But if you’re charging that much, it should be better in my opinion, or at a minimum, function exactly like it did in the sales videos, which it did not at the time.

      I can see how it might sound like we have a marketing agenda, but I don’t believe that stopping someone from paying nearly $3k on software is what is required to push them to buy a cheap source code. If someone is willing to pay that much, they probably already have bought source codes. I could’ve easily lied and said I thought the software is amazing, and I really don’t think that would affect source code sales. I link my posts to other areas of my site because it’s good SEO practice, and writing this does not have a bigger purpose than to create a discussion about Buildbox and what real users think about it.

      What it comes down to for me is the value: we disagree that the graphics (which, by the way, are from, which felt misleading), music, and courses are worth $3k, as I mentioned above, and I strongly believe that 8-12 source codes (reskinned in multiple ways) in a variety of app categories would outperform adventure games built with Buildbox while running the same price. On top of that, I truly believe that the knowledge gained by working with 10 unique codes in multiple app categories will increase a beginner app developer’s learning curve by so much more than if (s)he was limited to creating side-scrolling games only. You’re really limiting yourself. Timewise, I think it would be roughly the same, especially if you were to buy source codes from someone that provides free tutorials showing you how to reskin the app. See what I did there? Haha

      1. Thanks for the response Justin. I just typed a lengthy response but lost it lol. My ultimate point was that I just wanted to give a review that my experience with Game Academy has not been one where I’ve found them disingenuous in their product offerings; and also that it was not my intention to imply that the value of the (admittedly GraphicRiver (a GREAT site’s) graphics, cool audio and training) was worth the cost of BuildBox, but rather that my learning experience from Project Mayhem 2 through to BuildBox has been worth the cost. I’ve quadrupled my income since taking Trey’s courses and using his software. I’ve built games and replicated the BuildBox videos hence my opinion that it did what the videos showed. I didn’t delve into the code as you did, so I understand that you would’ve picked up issues I wouldn’t have been privy to otherwise. But overall I am loving this software and find myself using it more than GameSalad and Unity.

        Bottom line, your view is also appreciated and respected. I just wanted to give my own perspective as well. Thanks for your time and yes I saw what you did there lol thanks for explaining 😉

        1. Thanks Jonin! I can imagine you must’ve gained a ton of knowledge if you’ve been learning from Trey since the beginning or starting with Project Mayhem. He has a ton to offer and definitely has a lot of cool insights. Thanks again for sharing your perspective… it’s always good to get both sides of the coin!

  9. Hi,

    This is Natalie, the Administrative Manager at Thanks for being customers and for the review. We always encourage people to post their thoughts.

    I wanted to answer some of the questions I’ve seen bouncing around here:

    1. New Game Builders and Updates:

    This is the flagship software for our company and took 18 months of continuous development to create. It is not going anywhere and we have no plans for a more expensive version in any form.

    Also, as others have mentioned, we are very active at updating our software products and will of course do the same for Buildbox.

    2. Features:

    Every feature we have described on the special event and on our website is available in the final product. Though some were delayed at first, all but Jumping Game support is available by tomorrow. Full Jumping Game support (including accelerometer support) will be coming in about one week.

    3. Ads:

    We’ve had support for the most popular iOS ads since the beginning, but update coming tomorrow has full support for iAds, Admob, Chartboost, MoPub, Upsight, Leadbolt, MoPub, AppLovin, Revmob, and Vungle for both Android and iPhone. I 100% agree it took us too long to get this out.

    4. Ketchapp:

    While we can’t give details of contract, I can say that it is a completely normal publishing agreement with Ketchapp.

    We’ve not tried to hide this publishing deal at all. On the contrary, we’re all very proud to have the first Buildbox game be published by the largest publishing company in the App Store. On the loading screen for Phases there is a large Ketchapp logo displayed above the Kayabit logo and the game is also uploaded into their account.

    I would also like to mention that they were not familiar with Trey, or Buildbox. Trey contacted them through their normal publicly available information and pitched his game just like any other developer would.

    Thanks for the comments and interest in Buildbox!


    Natalie Voldase

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Very cool that you found our review and took the time to field some questions. This confirms my belief that Buildbox and the GameAcademy team has the best intentions.

      1. Good to hear. I use history to predict what I think will happen, and I feel that since GA has released various software that essentially has the same purpose, there will be a different one released again in the next year or two, rebranded, as opposed to taking the same software and stepping it up. You do mention there are no plans for a more expensive version, but I would truly be shocked if another, better version, doesn’t come out (for the same price or slightly cheaper). I guess we’ll see. If it happens, and we’re grandfathered in, awesome.

      2. It’s been almost 2 months since the initial release, so I’m sure you understand the frustration of not having the features shown in the video perform as expected when considering the price tag.

      3. Same as above, and thank you for understanding that frustration. I am glad to hear it continues to be worked on.

      4. I’m surprised that such a large publisher had never heard of Trey! But that’s great, and I do think he has the marketing skills needed to sell them on the deal.
      Yep, I know about the logo, the app being on Ketchapp’s account, and Trey mentioning it on Facebook, etc., but what I’ve been curious about is if it’ll be mentioned in the sales videos… I guess we’ll see today!

      If I haven’t said it enough, this was by no means some kind of GA-bashing. If people read through everything on this page and buy the software, I wouldn’t think any less of them. I love what Trey has done and what he stands for; he seems genuinely awesome, bright, and would be amazing to meet one day. I follow him, learn from him, and admire what he’s done.
      With no Buildbox reviews out there from the average indie developer (we tried Googling for it), we thought a post like this would spark a good conversation that would benefit prospective buyers, and I think we’ve accomplished that. I just hope Trey doesn’t hate us for it!

  10. Thanks for the review… I wanted to buy this package .. And I did not have the funds at the time. I was on the fence but I’m glad I missed out! Question is it worth it to get $$ from people and cheat them in the end? Or, just be honest and tell the pro and cons of your product your selling? I think honest in this app business is hard to find.. But I think you guys are doing it!
    I will check out your source code and see if I can afford it and work on it myself to generate downloads .
    I don’t know you guys but I just has to comment. Thanks

  11. Hi Justin – As a long-time user of Trey’s software and programs I wanted to add a comment. Sean and Jonin already wrote most of what I would write. But I also appreciated Natalie’s response….cool that you guys got that, means you are on the map! Kudos! 🙂
    There are a couple of things I did want to add. Yes, it’s a bummer that I cannot just load this thing (Buildbox output) into Xcode and edit the code like I would like to. However, I realize the new strategy here (keeping up with where the market is headed) is to be able to output for iOS, Windows, Mac, Google Play, Amazon and who knows what in the future….the compromise/tradeoff is an interesting one and I will see where this takes me. Hopefully to more profits by going to multiple platforms. (Of course Unity goes out to more…that is true.)

    Secondly, monetization is very integral to what Trey is about. In the previous Project Mayhem software for example, there are external controls for the advertising – meaning you don’t have to update the software to switch advertising around. There is also a “cascade” feature built in – meaning if the first advertiser fails to “fill”, it flips to the second advertiser and then the third. 100% fill rate.

    Buildbox also allows a variety of Advertisers and methods for placement and integration. Monetization in Trey’s software is typically far better than Game Salad or Corona for example. But as Natalie admitted, it took awhile to get this all integrated.

    It has been pointed out that Unity Pro is less expensive. Okay…that is true, as far as it goes. But as someone proficient in 3D, with several Unity games, it’s not that simple.

    But mostly, I agree with your review. If a newbie, wanting to get into apps was to ask me my opinion I would head them the same way as you.
    Keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot Markus! Yeah, I, too, was surprised that GameAcademy found this post so quickly–like I mentioned to Natalie, I just hope it doesn’t make Trey dislike us, because we really enjoy his teachings.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective!

      1. Full Disclosure: I am not associated with Construct 2 in any way other than just being a guy who loves making games with it. Nor am I selling another solution that I would profit from either.

        Thanks for this Justin. I see their angle on this and yes I agree they have a really slick marketing angle. I have been using code free game engines for a couple of years, so I’m always interested in knowing if there is a better tool out there that will help me work faster / better. So when I heard about it i was naturally interested. I watched various tutorial videos (thanks for the good insight Trey!). I’ve never followed his stuff in the past and had never heard of any of these previous engines he’s released.

        When it came up to the big release, I could smell the price tag go up. Seeing their business model was about making the product available for limited times and what not, it seemed very counter intuitive for software development and not finding reviews or allowing me to try software for free (30 day money back is not enough with so many options out there) I was not convinced.

        I started out with GameSalad which was cool but very sandboxish. It is evolving, but not fast enough for my needs. Then I found Construct 2. It’s PC only which is a bummer as a mac user (I run it via parallels and bootcamp just fine, but still wish it were 100% native), but in spite of that one shortcoming, the tool is absolutely incredible, extensible and requires no coding.

        Bottom line is Construct 2 is free with $130 personal license which is something anyone half way serious about learning to make games. Even if you had buyer’s remorse it’s a far less sting than $2700..

        It’s something that allows me to make MANY different types of games and I don’t see anything in Buildbox that makes the design any easier. I could make the same game in a minute.

        Any game making tool requires some learning.. you still have to learn how to make games their way, but with Construct 2 you have:

        – free demo ($130 buy in price with it’s own bundle)
        – tons of tutorials
        – reaches a ton of platforms
        – HTML5 based
        – Plugin support
        – Super helpful community
        – Good support from the creators of the engine.

        The only shortcoming with Construct 2 that I’m currently experiencing is the lack of access to interactive video ads out of the box. They have become a recent / hot thing. If I was a javascript programmer, I could create a plugin for this, but I’m not and not willing to hire one to fix it, but that’s the beautiful thing about C2 is that plugins enable solutions to be found and I’ve come across some amazing ones and still find them. So yea if you’re really looking to make games, not a programmer and want something that is flexible, give Construct 2 a try.

          1. Yea give it a try. Do the 30min tutorial. It’s takes a little getting used too, but it’s time well spent.

            I’m currently working with an Ouya developer to add the finishing touches to allow Ouya support with full IAP / Store. This is done without Construct 2 folks lifting a finger. This is because it’s ultimately an HTML5 game.

            My biggest complaint about it is that it’s PC only. I do wish C2 had a Mac version, but I run parallels and bootcamp on my macbook so it’s not a huge issue, and still totally worth it.

  12. Great and well balanced review, Justin. I’ve come across BuildBox as I was searching for competitors to our new startup. But reading this article and its comments gave me a peace of mind (at least a little).

    As everyone here is discussing game makers and builders, I think it’s perfect timing to drop you a hint about TutoTOONS – a new and free drag and drop mobile game builder that does not require coding. You can create your own Flappy Bird for free but Swing Copters has to wait – we need to work on that game mechanic. 🙂

    The idea and vision of TutoTOONS may sound very similar to BuildBox, however, we execute it differently. We too believe that in 21st century game creation should be as easy as making a Power Point presentation. We have a vision of thousands of independent game creators all over the world building mobile games and making their living from it. And this should be easy and fun.

    So basically if you want to use TutoTOONS to make a game, you should first have a game idea and draw game graphics. Then comes the fun part – you go to our website (or download our app), hit “Create” button, upload graphics, choose game type and create a game by simply dragging and dropping your images.

    And that’s not all. The best part is that we take care of publishing games made by people to App Store, Google Play and Amazon. This way game authors have the opportunity to earn money for their beautiful work. No need to worry about getting players – with TutoTOONS inner cross-promotion platform, one game promotes others and generates new downloads. We started in early 2014 and now we’ve reached 1,000,000 monthly game downloads, have 100,000 daily active players and 50 games on app stores made by 20 people from different continents.

    As any startup, TutoTOONS is still in development, has bugs to be fixed, may feel like it limits experienced game creators but we’re getting there. Our platform is updated with new game templates every month and we do our best to publish at least 10 games/month.

    So, if you like the idea, try TutoTOONS. And you won’t need to spend $3,000. 🙂

  13. In my opinion and experience with Build box, I must say I am initially disappointed. Trey should have waited and worked out the bugs with beta testers instead of beta testing on those people who were buying a buggy $3000 piece of software.

    The software has great potential but is not yet capable all the things that were promised in the videos even nearly two months after it’s release. Maybe in a few months it will be ready for a real release but currently I find myself waiting for updates so that the games I’m developing will work correctly.

    1. Hi Keith,

      Sorry you’ve had problems with Buildbox.

      We should have all major bugs worked out and features added now. If you can email me and let me know what you are having problems with I can address it directly with the team and get it taken care of for you:


      Natalie Voldase

  14. Great post. I knew this software was just too good to be true, great potential but I just don’t see a shortcut in making apps without a developer which brings me to my next point. The post was great, but telling people to buy 10 source codes that you guys sell instead seems kind of sleazy.

    There is no way to create a sustainable app business (in today’s market not 2013) solely from reskinning any of the source codes you guys sell unless changes/upgrades are made to the original source. I would love if someone could prove me wrong, but it’s just not possible anymore.

    1. But for someone who is just getting into making apps/games then reskinning is perfect due to low costs, and allows you to get your feet wet. And don’t take this the wrong way guys, big fan of your blog just not a fan of the marketing agenda.

      1. Thanks, Mike, for contributing and your honesty.
        I agree that strictly reskinning is an uphill battle; I do believe it’s possible, because we still make consistent income doing it, but it would require a lot of creativity and choosing the right source codes with the right theme at the right time. We believe there’s a ton of value in improving source codes and that the potential to make a lot more money is way higher if you’re able to make changes to the code. But we also think that, like you mentioned, reskinning is perfect for beginners to understand the landscape at the lowest cost possible. I learned a good amount of Objective C this way–actually enough to be able to develop iOS apps from scratch. I don’t think there’s a faster and cheaper way to learn than by the reskinning method, not to mention all the knowledge gained by publishing large quantities of apps in different categories at such a low cost.
        As for the marketing agenda… this is the same thing I mentioned above: I can see how it might sound like we have a marketing agenda, but I don’t believe that stopping someone from paying nearly $3k on software is what is required to push them to buy a cheap source code. If someone is willing to pay that much, they probably already have bought source codes. I could’ve easily lied and said I thought the software is amazing, and I really don’t think that would affect source code sales. I link my posts to other areas of my site because it’s good SEO practice, and writing this does not have a bigger purpose than to create a discussion about Buildbox and what real users think about it, and I think we’ve achieved that with this article.
        We only have a couple of source codes for sale here… nowhere near 10. Even if we had no source codes for sale, my post would be the same (minus the links). I think it would be strange to not link our source codes, since I fully believe that it’s a much better investment than drag-and-drop app building software… and if I’m going to link source codes, it doesn’t make sense to link other people’s, especially since ours are the only ones I’ve ever seen that include free video tutorials showing how to reskin it.
        Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

  15. Wow very interesting article and comment thread. I would agree with most it. I’m a past Project Mayhem, PM2 and ex-buildbox customer. I’ve been following Trey and team for a couple of years and I will say this, that Trey helped me a great deal to understand apps, remove the fear of making apps and understand the basics of starting an app business.

    I like Project Mayhem and Project Mayhem 2 a lot and still use them occasionally for quick simple games. They are great for prototyping, mainly for iOS.

    I’m a bit disappointed reading here that several commenters were also previous PM and PM2 customer and received BB for free. I iasked about this but was told I had to purchase BB. I was not happy about it but oh well. Now knowing this it make me even more unhappy. Not feeling’ the luv!

    Anyway, I did finally buy Buildbox. Its not cheap, considering Unity is $1500 to publish on iOS and GameSalad is only $300 ($150 as a student) to publish on most platforms.

    Buildbox will be an amazing tool (when the bugs get worked out) and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to build running style, flappy style, jumping style, platform and collision avoidance games type games (if you can afford it). You have a lot of flexibility to be creative in those styles. You can not however build casino games, utility apps, dress-up/dentist games, diner dash, etc type of games. Just saying.

    I will say that since its release I have experienced a lot of crashes. Several crashes caused me to have to rebuild a couple of my games from scratch. I recently hit a major bug that cause BB to crash and my entire project was wiped. This was about a months worth of work, 30 levels, gone. I was pissed. But Natalie and Trey were both extremely nice, apologetic and offered to refund my money, which I was VERY grateful for. Needless to say I never got any of me games to a point where I could publish them.

    Thanks for the insights in this article. I’ve done a few reskins with no marked success over the games I’ve built with Project Mayhem. Though I do have some casino code that I may reskin to see how that side of the game market fairs.

    I do agree with Trey in that if you are trying to be a game designer, then you should be improving on the games and apps that you release.

    My plan going forward is to use GameSalad for 2D games as there is a ton of support, the software is very stable, and there are templates you can get to help you get a start on a particular game type.

    I’m learning Unity now and looking forward to someday being able to get a descent 3D game out too.

    Thanks again guys for the review. I’ll be checking back often for more cool discussions like this one!

    1. Hi Joe,

      I would like to clarify that only Game Studio Elite customers got Buildbox for free.

      Also, a sad as we were to see you go, I would like to notate this was a very obscure problem you had as we discussed in support. Out of over 500 customers and thousands of sessions, this is the only time we’ve had a crash that resulted in lost work.

      Thanks for your kind comments about Game Academy and I’m glad we could help you along the way even if Buildbox did not work out for you. We appreciate you trying it out!


      Natalie Voldase

    1. Totally! get Construct 2 and forget about it. $130 one time fee and unlimited updates and they push updates all the time. which is super exciting. The only real downside in my opinion is that it’s PC only, which means if you’re a mac user you must use bootcamp or parallels/vmware. I’m a mac user and believe me it’s still worth it.

      GameSalad is a decent alternative, but it’s a $300 annual price for their pro license, but it’s available for Mac.

      I used to use GS for a couple years before finding C2.. but let me tell you I’ll never go back. C2’s ability to do more than just what the creator lets you do (plugin support is a massive enabler among other reasons) and all the while not require any programming knowledge through a powerful and easy to use “event sheet” for laying out what happens when.

      Both of these game engines while maybe not quite as minimal / sandboxish as BB is, at 1/20th the price you’ll hardly have buyer’s remorse, even if it isn’t for you AND it has a free version you can test (like gamesalad, and unlike BuildBox) out to see if it makes sense to you.

  16. Great info there, Caleb. Thank you for that!
    I would agree, if you’re looking for drag & drop style game builders, try to get your hands on ones that are free to test to see if it’s really right for you, specifically Gamesalad and Construct 2. You can also try GameMaker ( for free. Those are cheaper options that have most of the same features.
    But again–just my style–I prefer source codes. Getting your hands on a code you like, changing the theme, and improving the code is our favorite method of releasing apps. The reason is that you will actually learn a little bit about the code in the process (but no experience required) and you can pick any kind of app you like; you’re not stuck with runner-style games, although I do know that C2 and even Gamemaker give you a good amount of options.
    Plus, usually reskinning one source code is a very similar process to reskinning another, so if you’ve done it once, you can easily move to new source codes, and it could very well be a tiny one-time cost. Just like those free trial options above, we have a free source code here on our site you can work with to see if this is something you’re interested in (all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list and it’ll be sent to you with a free tutorial showing you how to reskin it).
    “There’s no right way to skin a cat.” That’s why I always recommend starting with the cheapest method possible, releasing as many apps as you can so that you learn what works and why, and then using your profits on bigger investments later.
    Good luck!

    1. yea, understood about the source code thing Justin, but I believe the dream that Trey is selling is for people to make their own games from Scratch without coding. He’s not selling pre-made apps / games, he’s selling a tool that should allow you to make new games that may or may not be based on other game mechanics.

      As someone who doesn’t enjoy coding, this is why I like tools that don’t require me to get caught up figuring out someone else’s work and then tweak it. Especially for games! Omg, how tedious and boring it would be to go into other art assets / making new ones.. shoehorn new graphics into the existing framework and end up with anything elegant. Definitely not my style. 🙂 but it might be for others. That’s what’s nice, these are all tools, be it XCode or Construct 2. Everything has it’s pros and cons.

  17. I just cant believe they don’t have a demo for it, how can you buy something that expensive with not messing around with it? What is the refund policy? That alone makes me scared to buy it, but it looks cool. At least create a monthly subscription plan. Think of how many people they are losing out on. I am not sure if they are thinking long term or a one time sell then move on to the next project.

    It kinda kills me about the pricing, somebody is getting greedy. But in the long haul people and sales will determine the future, not to say they wont make a few million and repeat the process with a new product. I hope they get it right cause I think I’d buy it if wasn’t so expensive. If it was Adobe putting it out maybe Id say its worth it.

    1. yea there is nothing in BB that I see, that warrants that kind of price tag. Not having a demo does really surprise me and skeptical.

      There are just too many good engines out there with no upfront cost, huge / helpful communities and offer basically everything BB does.

      I believe they have a 30 day money back guarantee, but don’t take my word for it.

      1. Give them some time and they will have a demo out. They are super nice and very understanding. I had BB for two months and they refunded my money. If you have a problem with it they will understand.

        At some point I may go back, once the bugs are fully worked out. But I agree this is a very pricey piece of software. I would love to see them drop the price.

        You cant help but compare the price to what you might get with say Unity. And look what you can do with Unity? Now that’s amazing stuff.

        1. that’s good about the refund. I think they would have a hard time staying in this space if they got a bad reputation and clearly they’ve made a number of game-centric engines over the years.

          Comparing to unity is not really fair though. Unity is complex and very deep requiring a lot of knowledge and experience to work with it efficiently. BB is for people without that coder background.

          Comparing it to C2 and GameSalad is where the real sticker shock is IMHO. The only real value (and I’m not saying its not a value) is by being in the BB “club” you do (i’m assuming) get a lot of first hand advice and input from the makers of the engine. Trey and his folks plus the others in this club are probably being very supportive because it is somewhat elite because it kinda keeps the broke people out.

          I doubt a demo will come or any kind of free trial. I could be wrong and would love it if i was because i’d love to kick the tires.

          1. Trey Smith has just announced a 30 day trial for Buildbox–it should be available by November 15. It’s interesting because I think if I had a trial back when it was originally released, I wouldn’t have bought it. I’m curious how the Buildbox trial will affect their overall sales.

    1. Dude!! It may not be perfect yet, but I completely disagree with you. You obviously don’t know how things use to be, look at how many thing have gotten easier in every single program being used today. You obviously have no clue where the future is going with programs not just talking about this one.

  18. I have had BuildBox since long before it was made public. I was the only one on the official forums and worked with the developer to fix bugs, and I must say this is a scam. A big scam! All those fancy features? They don’t work. BuildBox only works in one very specific way, woe to any creative minds. It is capable of recreating the game it was already used to make, and not much else. This is a waste of money. If you want your games made better and faster, talk to a real developer!

    If you already paid for Buildbox, you know it isn’t what it said it was. Cutting corners leads you into a trap. My boss made this mistake, if you made it too, ask for a refund.

    1. To your response, I have had buildbox for about 2 weeks, I am a designer. At the start I wasn’t sure, but I have been able to make some cool stuff with it, yea it’s not perfect, but from what I see you can make some cool stuff fast. You have to learn the program first to get a good idea and I think most don’t want to make an effort and maybe lazy. The support has been really fast and they update it and seem to be concerned with any problems I have had. Like I said it’s not perfect but Ina few month if they keep up what they are doing I think this software will be really good. To say its a scam is so far from the truth and question the comment now knowing about the software first hand.

  19. Hi Taez,

    I can assure you that we do in fact support every option that is advertised. A quick look at our Youtube channel will show this. Also, the software makes many different game types from classic platformers to jumping games to physics motorcycle games and more.

    We know Buildbox is not for everyone, and if you are a developer or very technically inclined, then you probably have scripting or programming skills. This product is not intended for that market. Software like Game Salad, GameMaker Studio and more have covered those bases well. We set out to do something different and create software that anyone can use regardless of technical skill.

    We’ve had well over 500 customers and only a small handful of refunds. People are extremely happy with the software and we will be releasing a free trial soon so everyone else can try it for themselves.

    Also, it’s worth noting we have 3 customers finishing up publishing deals with us and Ketchapp and have seen a lot of success with the platform.


    Natalie Voldase
    Buildbox / GameAcademy

  20. So, based on what you’ve said here, and the price. I’d recomend Click Team Fusion 2.5 any day of the week. It’s only for 2D but you can make basically any kind of 2D game with it. It was use to make 5 nights at freddy’s 1 and 2, and Freedom Planet just to name a few.

    Also, thanks for introducing me to Graphic River.

  21. Marketing a product or service is not rocket science .anyone can market a video game and make it viral as long as it has a unique selling point. Most of the successful video game franchises eg call of duty and angry birds were marketed using Guinness world records corporate marketing service. I am sure ketchapp which trey smith partnered with used this. Anyone with success as a goal should try it.

  22. Hey, I don’t have Buildbox but i have a few friends who do and have tinkered with it on occasion.

    First up, I don’t think Trey is ripping anyone off, he created a solid gamebuilder software that’s an alternative to buying 10 source codes.

    What do you get with buildbox that you don’t get with reskins? Originality. If you’re the type of person who is good at level design and coming up with fiendish puzzles, this game software is for you. I think a lot of people are trying to make clones of games with it (like swing copters) when they should be focusing on original gaming experiences. Some of my friends have made a lot of money with Project Mayhem and I think this software can do the same. You can get your money’s worth out of it. You are somewhat limited by the action and adventure type of games, that’s true but there’s certainly a lot of capabilities with what’s on offer here. The real question is, how does it stack up to other gamebuilder softwares. Almost all of the other gamebuilder softwares I found had a much, much lower pricetag on them. GameMaker in particular I think was a good comparison but the new version isn’t mac compatible. I do agree, Trey should have had Buildbox further along before he launched it. Most of my PM2 friends were pretty turned of by all the bugs and went back to making games in PM2. Me personally, I hired a Unity developer and jumped into making custom 3D games.

  23. Here is a very unbiased perspective if you guys care to read.

    Firstly, I have purchased Buildbox, but never purchased any type of software or courses before – I was a pure reskinner back in Dec 2013.

    I was first VERY skeptical of Buildbox because of the other 2 game platforms that were out, and the names kept changing (I thought why would you keep rebranding software like this, if you’re putting so much effort unless it’s short term? Ex. GameSalad, Construct…Construct 2 etc)

    I took the dive anyway and I agree that 1.0 all the way to maybe 1.010 was VERY buggy. I actually did not touch the software until end of Sept to early October because of all the issues and bugs. I started making my first game on it with the stable version of 1.014 and released it not too long ago that is actually quite intuitive (not like all the other BB games out there) and utilized the physics engine A LOT.

    If you’re uncreative and only want to make 1 style of game that BB can’t do, this software isn’t for you. This software is good if you can make use of their current strenghts and expand on it (which for now seems to be platformer games, and there are TONS of stuff you can do with that type of gameplay alone)

    It worked well on both iOS and Android, but still a bit limited in a few ways but hoping to see 1.1 fix a lot of issues and adding more features.

    I myself was tired of reskinning codes. Finding good code and reskinning it is a lazy way and you won’t make a sustainable future, it was only good during the Flappy Bird days but those days are long gone as Apple can smell a reskin pretty fast on popular games.

    I’m pretty happy with my purchase as it allowed me to actually do MUCH more with a game, from idea to level creation and more. I think by version 2.0 it should be able to do A LOT more, right now with the current 1.017 version and the release of 1.1 soon, making some good games should be pretty straight forward.

    This is the first type of drag and software I’ve ever used and it was quite easy to use, but certain techniques had to be used to get the proper results sometimes (like hacks).

    All in all, the launch version should have been much more refined, but support is GREAT. They do listen, we have a great community that helps each other, and Trey and the team listens to new features that need to be added.

    I think Buildbox will be one of their last softwares because it takes TONS of resources to build a brand. Customers are more aware and smart, and trying to find reviews and no community of a new software is a very very tough sell. I think that they had PZ and all the other softwares as a stepping stone to BB, which would make sense with why they changed names, to create a final new identity and create community. I noticed this also because we now have a forum to connect with one another, a thing that almost all customers wanted – and finally got.

    As long as Trey and GA keep refining and making the software better and better, the customers will come and want to try their software. The better games that BB can make, the more attention it will get themselves, which equate to more revenue for the company. The moment they stop refining and adding features, the customer base will fall off and the next product launch will be a less successful each and every time.

    If Trey and GA are reading this, I hope they continue with their great support and constant updates (wish it was a little faster at time but I’m realistic – it takes time to bug test and sort things out), they’ll capture more and more of an audience in this space. Keep adding features and the quality of games will go higher, which will itself attract more attention on the App Store, Media Coverage, Blogs etc. You just need a few HIT games that will get attention and the customer would be more than happy to mention it was a game built with BB. That’s how I see BB succeeding with long term growth. No more rebranding with different names. If I’m a BB customer, I want to know this software has a future before I recommend it to others.


  24. I’ve been trying out the 30 day trial of buildbox. It’s a nightmare! Keeps crashing – bugs and glitches everywhere. You spend hours building an idea only to have it go crazy on you. I built a simple shooter as a test, but strange physics turn themselves on in the middle of playing. Your character sticks randomly and there’s no way to lock your preset so a little knock with the mouse and all of your setting disappear! It’s a shame – such a brilliant idea released too early. There’s no way you can publish a game that’s going to crash or collapse.

  25. Justin,the review is great. Buildbox definitely is buggy and is usually choice of a newbie game creator who just wants to create a simple game. And the funniest thing about it is it price. Lol I don’t understand how people could come up with such a price tag for a QT application that built using C++. Anyways we are building a software much beyond this thing’s capability and we are planning on a price that is about the quarter of what this costs and definitely bug free. It will be released in 2015 and hopefully that will be the end of this builbox thing.

  26. Can you please reach me regarding your software that’s becoming available in 2015. I’m very interested in seeing a few demos of the types of games your company can provide along with the price. Thank You!

  27. @Ian Mac

    Hi Ian, I’ve just spoken with the development team and this is new to us. These are not issues we’re seeing other customers and trial users have. They think it might be a driver conflict if you’re on Windows. If you can please email your bbdoc file to we’ll be more than happy to take a look. I can promise you this is not the average trial user experience and we’re more than happy to fix any issues and extend your trial.


    Thanks for your kind words. You are correct that PZ was in fact a stepping stone to BB and this is our flagship software we will continue development on. We are 100% focused on Buildbox.


    Natalie Voldase

  28. @Justin
    Thank you.


    Yes demos and a trial version of the software will be out in early 2015. We are into the final stages of the development. Features include those with buildbox + Natural TTS (Text To Speech)Support for characters + inbuilt character creation + inbuilt game art creation (drag and drop) + tons of other features which you will get to know soon. The games can be exported to windows, android and ios.

  29. As a hobbyist of sorts, Having started in the DOOM days as a mapper, Graduating to textures, Skins, Assets and then actually developing I’ve tried many engines and kits and codebases over the years and though it seems rather simple in its current form, I’m trying the (As of posting this.) Game making challenge to give the software a try and as far as the presentation goes, The daily emailed lessons include game theory, Design tips, Asset tips and even apparently marketing and other not-often touched about subjects. A lot of us often find ourselves suddenly swamped with success over a title or having a finished project and not havign a clue how developing works beyond making a project in the first place.

    Although the software seems a bit pricey it can’t be overlooked that it does deliver what it promised so far, As far as teaching. I’d suggest this for friends or other folks who want to start somewhere, But I’ll be seeing this as something like a beginner’s guide to developing untill the software matures a little. As much as I love the ease of use and interface, It seems geared towards making miniapps in a limited range of styles and things that are easy to implement in other software or code (multiple character parts, Zelda-type room arrangements, Inventories, Custom variables and flags) seem to be missing at present.

    For a relatively new software, I’ll wait a bit and see how it develops before I plop down 2000+ dollars.. There’s a lot of software on the market that gives you a LOT more for a lot less (Game maker studio comes to mind at 40$ or so for the standard license.)

  30. I may sound like a noob, but where is that art folder? My free trial is running out and I can’t do anything. I scanned my whole mac, and there was nothing. But thanks for the review 🙂

    1. It was a separate email for us, but that wasn’t the trial version.
      I would check your email or your log in to Buildbox online… Or maybe they’re not giving it away with the trial.

  31. The 15 day Buildbox challenge provides a separate download for the artwork. However, the samples are exceptionally limited. I highly doubt that the creators of BuildBox want to release more than a few samples it is a 15 day trial.

    Thank you for the article. It was informative. Also, the commentary is equally informative.

  32. I am a current Buildbox user, I first believed in Buildbox, but am learning the hard way it’s still very buggy even after current releases. I think I hear they will be adding future features for a price of the future add on’s. They must be crazy after people are paying top price and then charging for more. The details are not official yet, but if they charge more on top of whats already been charged…I don’t care if it $20 more. WTF! The only reason for this is stupidity or they need the money. Don’t charge outrageous prices then want users to buy more, I really hope that’s not the case.

    2 types of tech businesses.
    Techcrunch startups
    Warrior Forum “products”
    It is proving to be a get all you can out of its users kinda deal. Warrior Forum kind of product, not a real company.

    The main problem is Trey isn’t a tech guy, hes a salesman and is not upfront about how the software really is, people would prefer to be upfront and honest and not defend every single thing. Buildbox doesn’t give enough credit to the users itself.

    I had a guy I once worked with he was really nice and responded all the time and wanted things perfect and everyone happy. It almost blinded me into thinking he wasn’t a ripoff, but he was. That is Buildbox great support, has answers for everything, in the end its not good.

    I really believe Buildbox could be a great software company… without its leadership decisions.

  33. Hi Everyone,

    A few notes:

    Like most major software companies, we will have minor and major upgrades. All minor upgrades (version 1.X) will be free and customers will have special upgrade pricing for major (X.0) versions. The upgrade price will be cheaper than industry standard pricing you see with companies like Autodesk, Adobe, etc.

    Also, we’ve added many more features than originally advertised during these minor upgrades such as the checkpoint system, new collision types, game changing power ups and text labels. Typically software companies only add features during major upgrades, but we’ve enjoyed working with our customers and adding in request and will continue to do so.

    As for bugs, we invite anyone to test out the latest Buildbox version themselves with the free 15 day demo version available at While we admittedly had some issues at release, the software now is extremely stable and will continually improve.


    Natalie Voldase
    Administrative Manager

  34. I was an original Buildbox purchaser from Day1 around mid August. I selected the part payment option so as to use for a period before showing investors my progress and in turn gain capital for payment completion.
    The first month was so buggy and any updates had issues so although I had started a handful of impressive looking games providing some great inspiration for future game play ideas, I didn’t get the chance to get anything published. I had taken some screenshots of progress, which had also impressed my investors who wanted to see more but when I went to organise a live demo I discovered I had been cut off due to my next payment date of process. I expressed my dismay to Natalie (Game Academy Support) as I had investors flying in to observe the Buildbox process and she kindly granted me 48 hours of grace so I could “show-off”. So the next day I sit down with the moneymen to show my half dozen gameplays go through the motions and BAM I’m cut off again after about 9 hours, not 48. I frantically email Natalie who is more concerned about my next payment date than explaining why the “automated” system has cut me short.
    With a face full of egg I can only apologise to my burnt investors and promise to show them again in future. Natalie then says I can have another 48 hours but my email address has been locked out of the system and I have been locked out since the end of Sept.
    Extremely frustrated but with a mind to come back when everything is ironed out my request for a refund is quickly dismissed because I hadn’t asked for one within the first 2 weeks. WTF! It wasn’t even operable in the first 2 months as far as I can tell from other reports. I couldn’t even activate the free trial so as to complete a game or two as my email is somewhat blacklisted for a validation code, trial or paid.
    Having said all that I am still wanting to get Buildbox as it was fun building games this way and I felt my potential was helping my hunger for the system. Really don’t mean to sound big-headed but some of the games that are finally being released from buildbox users look quite inferior to what I had come up with in those initial buggy weeks, and my ideas have flowed and expanded so I want back in but …… any ideas???
    I’m now trying to impress investors (new) working backwards and have built a website about, not a new game idea but a whole new game studio idea, that looks really cool but I just need buildbox to help me build the back end of game dev.

  35. Hi, I replied to your support ticket as well, but unfortunately it’s company policy to deactivate licenses when a customer doesn’t finalize their payments. Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair to our other customers. We do allow customers to continue where they left off if they choose to do so. If you have anymore questions you can reply to the ticket or email me at



  36. Really really honest review there! I rather like the app! Since, I am new to this, I wanted to ask if i can use the some of the artwork provided in the demo pack to release the game? I am not really looking forward to release a spectacular game, but whatever i can do in the 15 days trial period! Is it possible to use the artwork?


  37. Thanks for this. Sometimes the information you get form vendor’s websites look too good to be true. I appreciate getting more insight to what is often omitted when companies advertise their products…the devil in the details….that often make the experience more complicated than illustrated.

    I will now reconsider the purchase of this product especially considering the price.

  38. So it was March since the last review just wondering has much changed since then? i see it is now a 30 day trial period now. Is it still buggy?

    I am very impressed so far and thinking of taking up the monthly fee, does anybody know if you still get the same artwork by paying monthly as you would if you pay the $2600+?

  39. I was almost going to purchase this software. You should probably see their forum, some people are commenting about bad support and others are not getting help that much.

    Just look at these posts

    Even if they can’t add hundreds of features in one engine altogether, they should at least try to help their customers purchase the license or give better tutorials on how the engine works.

    Anyways, It’s good that I read this article too before purchasing the software.

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