The Unfortunately Short Voyage Of The Tostermibile
You know that feeling you get when someone insults you and you think of the best comeback in the world just seconds after that person has left the room? That’s sort of how I felt after walking away from Scribblenauts Unlimited at E3 this year.
You see, the idea that Scribblenauts Unlimited lets you create pretty much anything you can think of is an overwhelming one. By the time the implications of this truly sank in, I was on my way to see another game in another booth, plagued with thoughts of, “Wait a minute, I bet I could have created a giant purple space lizard that spit candy corn and jelly-filled wizard hats out of its mouth while rolling around on wheels made out of moldy cheese.” Well, I probably could have created that very thing. No lie. The creative options here are overwhelming.
Like previous Scribblenauts games, you can bring objects into the world simply by writing their names. For instance, if you wanted a screwdriver, you’d just write the word “screwdriver” and viola! A screwdriver! (Of course, this would be the tool, not the beverage of the same name.) But this is only the beginning. Adjectives, which were added in Super Scribblenauts, have returned, so I could essentially make various types of screwdrivers based on which adjective I decided to come up with. How about a “suspicious screwdriver?” Or an “irritating screwdriver?” (I’m not sure “intoxicating screwdriver” is an option in Scribblenauts, but if so, I want one.)
But the creativity really starts flowing with a brand new feature that lets you actually create complex items from scratch. It’s not just nouns and adjectives anymore. Me being a Scribblenauts virgin, the booth rep walked me through the process of making a pink toaster that shoots toast and has basketballs for wheels. I was given a series of sliders, which could adjust this object’s speed, gravity, and health. We then added a saddle to it and named it the “Tostermibile.” (Apparently, being good at spelling isn’t a prerequisite for getting a temp job as a booth rep.) When I was wandering around in the world, I typed the word “Tostermibile” and this goofy contraption showed up. Because of its saddle, I was even allowed to let Maxwell ride around on it. Unfortunately, its habit of spontaneously shooting toast at things made the NPCs instantly hate me.
Now, if you’re a Scribblenauts veteran, the phrase “wandering around in the world” in that last paragraph may have caught your attention. Yes, Scribblenauts Unlimited has a fully explorable open world for you to roam around in. This world is composed of various areas that have clever puns for titles—the area I explored was called the “Meta Forest,” for example. I quickly distracted the booth rep before he could tell me that this was the “metaphor-est” place in the game by asking him about a haunted mansion I saw in the background. I was told that this wasn’t fully implemented in the build I was playing, but eventually it would be explorable like the other areas in the game.
Throughout this world, there are over 50 “events,” which are longer segments of gameplay. I suppose you could call them quest lines. The event I played through involved Maxwell helping a boy scout earn a merit badge by competing various tasks. For example, the scout needed to carve a log, so I gave him a chainsaw. Easy enough.
By this point, I was getting curious as to how much insanity the game would let me create, so when a fire started, I told Maxwell to put it out using a “frog.” When this didn’t work, I tried “water balloon.” To my surprise, this was an actual item in the game, though Maxwell wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. My next step was to create a “hose,” which the frog immediately stole from me. Once we managed to wrestle the hose from the frog and actually put out the fire, there was one last test of mettle to complete before the scout earned his badge: target practice. Sure, I could have typed “bow and arrow,” but I decided to go with “bazooka” instead. Bows and arrows are for sissies.
My entire demo session only lasted about ten minutes or so, but it was definitely enough to get my hungry for more Scribblenauts action. I can’t wait for this one to come out in real HD on the Wii U. Oh yes, and there are 3DS and PC versions in the works too. Hopefully we’ll see Scribblenauts Unlimited before the end of this year.