Super Scribblenauts

9.5 Overall Score

Written by on November 7, 2010 in

When the original Scribblenauts dropped into the gaming world last year it promised a world where the player could bring just about anything they could think of into existence.  While for the most part the game delivered on its promises it was held back by some handling and mechanical issues.  Now developer 5th Cell is bring the wordsmith, Maxwell, back for another set of Scribblenaut missions with Super Scribblenauts.

The basic format of Super Scribblenauts is mostly unchanged from the first entry.  The player is given a series of puzzles of various kinds and must solve each one by writing words to bring objects into existence.  The big addition this time around is the addition of adjectives in word creation.  Now, instead of simply creating a book, you can create a blue spiked undead book and a book will appear with all of the appropriate accouterments and behaviors.  This one addition adds several new layers to the puzzles and possible solutions.

The puzzles themselves come in several varieties.  In one level Maxwell may be tasked with peacefully dispersing protesters while the next may require him to come up with an object that combines the characteristics of various items.  Yet another level might have the Scribblenauts preparing villagers for an alien invasion while another has him training to be a firefighter.  While many of the puzzles can be solved using the same handful of objects over and over again the real joy of playing comes in thinking outside of the box and coming up with outlandish solutions to simple problems.  Is a boy stuck in a block of ice?  Sure a blow torch will work but so will boiling rain or a solar flare.  The games internal dictionary is broad and adaptable enough that your imagination may be exhausted before the possible solutions are.  The only issue comes with the occasional puzzle where objects that logically should work inexplicably do not meet the requirements.  Such levels are few and far between but when they are encountered it can bring the game to a sudden halt as the player tries to comprehend the developer’s specific logic or cause them to skip over that level and continue onto the next.

Mechanically Super Scribblenauts has addressed many of the control issues that plagued the first entry in the series.  Most notably the player is now given the option to map movement controls either to the touch screen or to the D-pad.  This eliminates much of the frustrations that came with unintentional and sometimes disastrous movement in the first game. This addition come in especially handy once the player unlocks the special hazard levels where they must carefully navigate Maxwell through his task.

Manually writing out the letters for words is still a bit cumbersome and will often misread all but the most carefully shaped letters but the addition of a touch keyboard renders the manual method essentially obsolete.  This method is also much faster than the alternative input so manual writing can quickly become simply a novel or tactile method.

Visually Super Scribblenauts retains the same paper cutout art style and puppet-like movements of the original.  The addition of adjective modifiers adds these animations to an odd assortment of objects.  While the aforementioned book will simply plop to the ground the undead book will hope around the screen under it’s own power and attempt to attack anyone who comes near.  Together with the art these simple animations give Super Scribblenauts a charming aesthetic that makes experimenting a pleasant experience of discovery.

Overall Super Scribblenauts retains the charm and innovation of its predecessor while vastly improving the mechanics and adding variety with the addition of adjectives.  While not without a few minor problems, this is a game that can be both challenging and relaxing at the same time and holds nearly infinite surprises for those willing to think outside the box and let their imagination run wild.  Super Scribblenauts easily gets a solid 4.5 stars out of five.

A copy of Super Scribblenauts was provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.

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Author: Tylor Long View all posts by

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