Saturday, 23 February 2013

Review: Scribblenauts Unlimited (Wii U)


Scribblenauts, as a game, confused me right out of the G-A-T-E.

“Scribble” might lead a one to believe that the player spends time drawing solutions rather than spelling words to make them materialize in the world to solve whatever problem presents itself. Robot short circuiting? O-I-L. Tree needs to be cut down to “save” a cat? C-H-A-I-N-S-A-W.

More than anything, Scribblenauts Unlimited reminded me of those adventure games of my youth, a time when I spent hundreds of hours typing variations of “Pick up dongle” or “Talk to leprechaun” or “Ken sent me.” In the 2D world of Scribblenauts, progress is achieved much the same way, though in a much more forgiving manner. In fact, the game offers little in the way of restrictions of what can be made to appear. Experimentation is the key and it feels like there are multiple solutions to even the simplest puzzle.

The look of the game is also very simple, but it will be nearly impenetrable for anyone that doesn't know how to spell. Played with my 4-year old, it’s awesome to listen to his creative answer to the puzzle. The aforementioned cat in a tree? B-O-A-T. It promptly materialized and fell from the sky. Following the chain of logic though is the fun part. He then wanted to flood the world and have the boat float up and rescue the cat.

To the developer’s credit the game does trickier and more clever later on in the adventure, specifically with the chance to attach created items to each other or add adjectives to items. Customizing items further allows players to really get their hands dirty with the game, but that’s more or less optional to the main thrust of the game, which tasks protagonist Maxwell with collecting Starites.

For players with a large vocabulary, Scribblenauts Unlimited can be pretty simplistic and challenges overcome with a modicum of creative thought. However, kids will appreciate the paper-esque sensibility and chance to just do whatever pops into their heads. Good, clean fun all-round.

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Another good game to play with kids
- Creativity with puzzles and answers
- Should be easily overcome by adult gamers

The Bad:
- Easy to just get distracted and start messing around
- The age level this will most appeal to is too young to spell

Score: 8.0 / 10