The original Scribblenauts is considered one of the most unique and innovative games of this generation. The concept alone is so simple, yet so brilliant at the same time. The first game had great ideas but was marred by some poor design choices that held back its potential in some ways, but developer 5th Cell has remedied nearly all of that with their follow-up Super Scribblenauts. Pushing these problems aside allows players to finally realize the genius behind this quirky, yet superbly addictive puzzle game.
For those unfamiliar with Scribblenauts let me break down the basics for you. The game allows you to conjure up just about any item to solve its surplus of puzzles by typing them into the game. For instance you can type in chair and one will appear, you can also have items interact with each other the way they should. It is really impressive the amount of logic the game designers have put into the game and you can literally spend hours just on the title screen coming up with combinations. Of course for anyone thinking of typing in something inappropriate the game does not support it, although I can imagine that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Now you can see why this game is so unique. The sheer combination of words that can be used is impressive, and no player will likely ever use every single one of them. One of the big additions to the sequel is the ability to use adjectives in conjunction with your words. So now when you create a chair or elephant or even vampire, you can add things such as fiery, or explosive to them for entertaining results. This new addition does make things a tad bit on the easy side though as there are literally so many possible solutions you are never tasked with finding the exact solution to each puzzle. Personally I like this approach because it gives you more incentive to experiment. Coming up with unique combinations is half of the fun of the game.
You can also replay each level to earn medals called crowns. To obtain the gold crown you have to complete the level three times in a row using different objects each time. This adds a nice bit of replay to the game. There is also a level editor that lets you expand your creativity and even share your creations via the WiFi connection. There are over 100 puzzles to tackle in the game and while it won’t take long to get through them once, going back and experimenting with different combinations is really what makes this one of the most addictive cartridges you will pop in your DS this year.
One of the biggest issues with the original game was the method in which you moved Maxwell around. Instead of using the pointer controls found in the first outing you can now maneuver him around using the standard d-pad. This makes some of the more intricate movement much easier, but if you are accustomed to the original design you can revert back to it. Some issues do arise with the combination of words, especially with the addition of adjectives. Sometimes phrases that should work simply don’t. You will find yourself stuck in puzzles because the obvious answer is not what the game is looking for. These issues are few and far between, but when you stumble across them you will likely get frustrated.
The developers have added a hint system and the pacing seems more streamlined this time around so there is never really a brick wall that you cannot get past. There are also a lot of words omitted purposely due to the game’s rating. Something that may sound harmless to you is likely left out due to making it more kid-friendly. Even with the minor issues Super Scribblenauts is definitely a fantastic game that secretly increases your vocabulary skills while stimulating your imagination at the same time.
The unique look definitely fits the scheme of the game and the bright visuals help with the array of things you can create. There are some decidedly ugly designs here and there, but for the most part the game delivers solid presentation. When the menus are as much fun as some other games you know you are doing something right. The sound is good with proper effects for characters and objects you conjur up, and the music fits right in with the charming atmosphere.
Super Scribblenauts is a extraordinary follow-up to a truly unique experience. The developers obviously listened to complaints about the first game and have remedied nearly everything that held it back. If you loved the original you definitely need to check out the sequel, if you have never played the series there has never been a better time to jump in. The unique style and quirky combinations you come up with keep this game fresh and addictive for hours at a time.
Review copy provided by publisher.