Scribblenauts Review for Nintendo DS

Scribblenauts Review for Nintendo DS

Turning your Gears

Video games and creativity really go well together these days. The more technology evolves, the more interactive games become, and the more appreciated they are. This is a great thing for us gamers, as it not only helps to develop our imagination, but it also helps to make the concept of video games more widely accepted by the masses. Most likely, a few years from now people won’t think of video games as evil brainwashing tools, but rather as another form of entertainment, which is what they are anyways.

Scribblenauts screenshot

Scribblenauts is here to prove that you can have lots of fun by using your very own reasoning and tapping into the often unappreciated imagination. In the game, you’re Maxwell, a little kid with a funky red helmet tasked with solving diverse puzzles within ten different worlds. In puzzle mode, the goal is to provide other characters with what they need or to put things together in a certain way; once achieved, you need to reach the starite to finish the level. You can also play these levels in action mode, which changes the goal completely, as your mission is simply to reach the starite, which is strategically placed and protected by obstacles galore.

The first few levels are quite easy, and they serve as an example of what can be done later on. However, things get trickier as you advance, and the solution may require the summoning of several objects rather than just one or two. The less objects you use the better, as the goal is to do it on par or below. The best thing about it all is there are multiple ways to reach an objective. Depending on how you employ the items you call upon, the outcome will be different, but as long as you get the starite without cheating, you’ll be good to go.

Oftentimes you’ll surprise yourself seeing how something worked out when the method seemed so out of the blue. Example: The girl wants her favorite chocolate bar, but there’s a bully ready to fight who won’t let you access the vending machines. My solution? I handcuffed the guy to one of the vending machines and somehow I managed to put him inside of it. Done. Everyone’s safe, and the girl gets her chocolate bar. Weird! My first idea was to dig a hole in order to reach the water, throw a piranha in it, and let the bully fight the hungry fish; unfortunately, he died, and therefore, I failed. This tells you that fighting is not always the answer. The game lets you use weapons, but you’ll get a lot more credit with an ingenious solution.

Scribblenauts screenshot

At the end of each level, you’ll earn a certain amount of “ollars” depending on the means you used to get the starite – the more original you are, the better. Also, you’ll obtain special medals (merits) that acknowledge your efforts; there are several dozen merits you can receive, but the most common ones include “new object,” “no weapons,” and “savior.” I found myself using the same items a little too often. Once you realize the jackhammer does the trick when it comes to perforating the floor or that the wings let you fly around, it’ll be tough to come up with new ideas. However, that’s where one has to struggle, and if you find new and interesting solutions, the game will be that much more rewarding. Think of something… sounds crazy? Try it out!

On the menu screen, you can access the “Ollar Store” and spend your hard-earned “ollars.” You’ll be able to buy skins (or avatars) for your character, so you don’t always have to be Maxwell; instead, you can be a zombie, a ninja, or whatever you pick. This can be easily changed from the options menu, where you can also select from multiple music tracks you’ve purchased from the “Ollar Store.” These little perks aren’t incredibly exciting, but they help to customize the game and keep your interest alive. The tunes are simple but cheery and refreshing, and best of all, there are lots of them. Other than that, more and better sound effects would have taken the game’s quality to the next level.

Scribblenauts screenshot

Also, there’s a level editor that lets you create and customize puzzles based on existing ones. Basically, you pick a scenario, place objects and people in the scene, and then tweak their behaviors so they use a tool, ask for a certain kind of food, or fight whoever gets in their way. You can establish relationships between characters and objects in order to set your goal. This editor is easy enough to use, though it does require a lot of imagination to create your own levels. Nevertheless, it’s fun to challenge your friends with a brand new puzzle, and the game even lets you share it via local connection or Nintendo Wi-Fi (using friend codes).

My only complaints with the game are the controls and the fact that certain things that should work just don’t; this doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it’s frustrating. As for the controls, they could have used some more care. The animation mechanics in the game are quite rudimentary, but one could look past this aesthetic issue if it wasn’t for the terrible hit detection. It’s tough to employ an object correctly the first time around.

Scribblenauts screenshot

More often than not, you’ll start tapping around the screen hoping that the guy will pick up the tool or drill where you want him to. Also, attaching an object to something else is tedious: you have to drag the item to wherever you want to attach it; then, you have to hope the markers will show up, and when they finally do, you have to make sure the objects stick correctly before you drop, or else the item will fall and you’ll have to start all over again. This makes a simple process turn into frustration. Thankfully, the game is so unique and so much fun that most players will be able to overlook the controls and just focus on the action.

Scribblenauts is a visually pleasant game, though perhaps its childish look may drive away some older gamers. Its colorful, two-dimensional characters and shapes seem to have come right out of a children’s book. They could have even been drawn by a kid! Despite what some may say, these simple graphics are charming and go well with the game’s premise. Besides, the game’s database includes thousands of different items, so they obviously couldn’t be too complicated if they wanted to fit them all in a game cartridge. The animations, on the other hand, could have used more attention to detail; they seem a bit too basic for a modern video game.

All in all, Scribblenauts is a game to praise. It could have offered some higher quality as far as controls, but its originality and utterly engaging gameplay are here to save the day. The lasting value is incredibly high, as you will not only have to beat each level in puzzle and action modes, but you’ll also be challenged to solve each puzzle another three times with different strategies and objects each time. Talk about grinding your gears! As if that wasn’t enough, there’s the level editor, merit collecting, and challenging your friends. Let your laziness be the only reason to not want this game. If you’re up for a thinking challenge, this should be the one!

Simple but delightful character design, environments, and objects will remind you of a children’s book. Animations could use more detail though. 3.4 Control
Write to summon objects, tap to use them. Whereas this is a very simple concept and makes it accessible for everyone, some hit detection issues hinder the gameplay. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This game is packed with dozens of cheery tunes of all kinds. However, there aren’t enough sound effects to take the game to the next level. 4.6

Play Value
Everyone will love this game right off the bat. Coming up with creative solutions to solve a puzzle with the freedom to virtually summon any object is incredibly fun. Make it over 200 puzzles and multiple ways to solve each one, and you’ve got a winner. Lasting value will just depend on the player’s creativity.

4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Revolutionary Gameplay: Any object you think of appears in the game! Put it to use to win the Starite.
  • Over 200 Levels: Puzzle and action gameplay modes for all-age fun. If you can write and tap, you can play!
  • Unlimited Replay: Every level has more than one solution! Keep trying the new ways and use less objects to increase your source.
  • Sanbox Title Screen: Jump into the game from the second you turn it on. Write down words in the title screen and see what you can do with the objects.

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