Scribblenauts, a review (?)

Art from the delightful Scribblenauts

Art from the delightful "Scribblenauts"

I have been following Scribblenauts since I first heard about it some time back.  It was a game with an interesting concept: think of something you need to accomplish your goal, type it in, and voila!, there it was for you to use (or abuse).  It was a big hit at E3 2009!

The game released yesterday, and I knew I had to get it.  It really had been some time since I even bought myself a new game, DS or otherwise.  I picked it up, and happily brought it home to play.

Scribblenauts really is a joy to play.  It’s very hard to even get past the game’s title screen, as it is basically just an open level for you to test words in.  Also, the main character, Maxwell, is invulnerable on that screen.  That means you can summon any number of murderers and monsters to play around with, and there are penalties!

The game itself is comprised of 200 levels.  Ten different worlds have twenty levels each, ten of which are puzzle-based, while the other ten are action-based.  Each sub-level has you competing a certain task to give Maxwell access to the treasure within, a small star called a Starite.

The first of the puzzle levels shows a Starite in a tree, and lets you try to solve how to get it down.  Maxwell could call a lumberjack, and summon him an axe, or even summon a beaver to gnaw the tree down.  You are rewarded merits for the different ways you solve the puzzles.

In one of the action-based levels, you are confronted with a little girl, a house, and a cat on the roof.  You are told to reunite the girl and the cat.  In my case, I used a fire to burn the house to the ground.  The cat got scared when the house started burning, and ran to the girl.

Scribblenauts really allows you to use your imagination.  If you can think of it, you can probably do it.  The game, though great, is not without it’s flaws, though.  One big thing is control.  Maxwell is totally controlled by the stylus.  This means, unless you are controlling an item you summoned, Maxwell will follow the stylus where ever it goes.  This can be problematic in some of the trickier puzzles.

Another (tiny) flaw is the lack of interaction you’d expect out of some items.  That, or they don’t react to one another as you hope they should.  I’ve run across it a few times (thought I can’t remember any specifics, and will update this when I do) and it can be annoying.

All-in-all you can do basically whatever you want, though.  Especially with the sandbox-style title screen.  Want to watch God beat on the Devil?  Done!  Want to fight a Vampire holding a flamethrower riding a giraffe?  Done!  I am completely thrilled that it even has the local Lake Champlain monster “Champ” in it!!  So I definitely recommend the game, even if just for the fun you can have without starting it up!  Though you should!

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