Scribblenauts is quite possibly one of the most unique games to be released this year, the game is simple yet it’s scope is beyond any other game before. Overall the game actually delivers on its ambitious promise but there are a few aspects that need to be improved for this title to become a true classic.
Scribblenauts’s concept is a fairly easy one to grasp and can be summed up in it’s own slogan: “Imagine anything, solve everything.” Essentially the title is a puzzle game, players are given control of Maxwell, a character with the ability to write down anything and bring it to life. The point of the game is the emphasis on the word anything, players are encouraged to think of any type of noun including ones you would never expect the game to have. Now all of this power would be fun on it’s own but Scribblenauts wouldn’t be much of a game without some sort of objective. The game is broken down into dozens upon dozens of little missions, their scope and range as wide as your powers. From helping a girl getting her cat out of a tree, to fighting mythical monsters, Scribblenauts puts you into the most random situations any game can put you into save for perhaps the Wario Ware games. However one of the essential problems of Scribblenauts is that the puzzles can get extremly difficult, and sometimes players could find themselves at a complete loss. However when you do figure out those difficult puzzles the self satisfaction of knowing you solved them becomes greater with each new mission. Still for those gamers who are used to being told what to do may be turned off by the lack of help, Scribblenauts should have probably had some sort of hint system that players could choose to turn on or off, without any help I can easily picture countless players being overly frustrated with this game.
The biggest problem with Scribblenauts unfortunally is something that probably could have been easily avoided: the player’s control of Maxwell is not that great. In fact the game hardly gives players control of the main character at all, you’re expected to move maxwell by tapping of pressing in whatever direction you want the main character to move in, that’s it. There is no button that allows you to jump, and there is no way to control maxwell using the d-pad, this can lead to many frustrating situations. Many times I’ve acciendtly tapped on the screen only to have Maxwell run into an enemy or trap, and this is hardly due to me being careless, some puzzles get so difficult that they could require up to a half a dozen items to be used at the same time, shuffling through a bunch of these items you tend to slip and tap off an item which of course sends Maxwell sprinting half way across the level. Either way the controls don’t exactly break the game but a little bit more control over Maxwell’s motions would have been nice.
One major plus about Scribblenauts is the art design, the paper doll style of the characters is perfect, the game keeps a certain level of charm without getting too cartoony. The colors are always bright and vibrant, and with a game that has thousands of object in it thats an important aspect in design. Every object looks and moves like it should so you’ll never be squinting at the screen wondering what exactly that object in front of you is. The graphics definitely get a high mark simply considering the magnitude of this game. Similarly sound is also nearly perfect in Scribblenauts, the music is whimsical, yet exciting and although there aren’t nearly as many tracks as there are levels the music never seems to feel repetitive. Sound effects are equally as impressive, again every object you summon will sound exactly as it should, nothing ever feels out of place.
Overall Scribblenauts is such a unique game that it would be difficult to not give it a recommendation, you’ve simply never played a game like this and its worth checking out. The controls need improvement and a better hint system would have been nice but that shouldn’t deter you from Scribblenauts, the game accoplishes exactly what it set out to do and at times even excels at it.
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