|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 5th Cell||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Scribblenauts was certainly a hit in 2009 and went on to become one of the most critically-acclaimed handhelds of the year. However, sequels are tricky business, and though some of the improvements made to Scribblenauts help the gameplay and mechanics become that much more streamlined, there are still some remaining issues that prevent this title from being the outstanding sequel that it could have been. Still, if you are a Scribblenauts fan, Super Scribblenauts provides more of the same creation-based gameplay that you've come to expect from the series.
The game starts out the same way as the original, with a sandbox-style main menu that allows you to summon items without restraint in a variety of different settings. The sandbox setting is fairly addictive, and pitting raptors against zombies with some cavemen and aliens thrown in just for good measure is an enormous amount of fun. The sandbox-style main menu is also the perfect place to try out Super Scribblenauts' most-touted feature: adjectives. For those of you who left your parts of speech knowledge in the primary school classroom, adjectives are words that describe nouns. So, instead of just summoning any vampire, you can summon an ugly vampire, a bald vampire...even a hairy vampire! Though the inclusion of adjectives in the game doesn't affect the gameplay that much, it is good for some extra entertainment value, and summoning alternate versions of your favorite items certainly makes for some interesting situations. This is especially true when you introduce emotions, as an angry alien will aggressively pursue enemies, while a sad alligator will just sit there.
But even though the adjectives make your items look (and occasionally act) funny, the introduction of this new mechanic sadly doesn't have much of an effect on the game's single-player mode. For instance, one of the early puzzles involves causing a mass dinosaur extinction with no weapons or meteors. Instead of going with a virus or flood, I decided to go with an alien invasion. However, both angry aliens and regular aliens got the job done, and even huge aliens didn't cause mass extinctions with any greater dispatch.
Another issue with Super Scribblenauts' puzzles is the occasionally-flawed logic in the game. Lets return to the dinosaur example (I wouldn't want to spoil too many of the game's more inventive puzzle levels). I tried causing mass extinctions by putting a bottle of poison in the water. However, this only resulted in the dinosaurs walking away from the water and refusing to drink. Of course, this should cause mass extinction, because let's say the dinosaurs were smart enough not to drink poisoned water...they should have died of dehydration! And interestingly, If I put a molecule of the Bubonic Plague in the water, the dinosaurs drank it and all died instantly.
Still despite the occasionally flawed logic, there is plenty of fun to be had with the puzzles in Super Scribblenauts. The game features a simple progressions system that unlocks new level areas as you collect Starites, which allows you to skip over challenging levels or progress to the higher levels faster if you want. If you are having trouble, the game also has an extensive hint system, although these hints do come at a cost (and generally lead you in a very focused area, which takes some of the fun out of the game.) No matter what your skill level, playing the single-player mode in Super Scribblenauts is a lot of fun, and the game even offers a tiered challenge mode that extends your gameplay time. I actually found myself revisiting several of the more memorable levels to complete challenges, and stretch my creative muscle. This also helps the game avoid one of the major pitfalls of the original, which included too many puzzles that could be solved with just a handful of objects. The challenge mode really puts some harsh restrictions on what you can summon, so if you were counting on using that jetpack for the 4,837th time to solve a problem, you will be disappointed.