Scribblenauts Unlimited Review

Apparently cannibals find lawyers very tasty...

  • Developer: 5th Cell Media
  • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: 19 November 2012
  • Time played: 2.2 hours (INCOMPLETE)

Thanks to the recent Steam sale, my wallet is feeling a bit lighter and one of the reasons is the purchase of Scribblenauts Unlimited, a game that's been sitting on my wishlist for awhile now and would've probably remained there if it weren't for the 75% discount coaxing me into buying it. So why did I want Scribblenauts Unlimited? A couple of reasons: (1) it looks like a great game for kids - one that my daughter could probably appreciate and (2) I like innovative games, and Scribblenauts Unlimited sounds like a game that's in a league of its own.

So what's the game's plot about? Well, as you've noticed, I haven't included a "Plot" section for this review since I don't think it's one of the game's strengths, nor should it be - this game is catered for those seeking fun gameplay and nothing else. For the sake of completeness though, I'll provide this summary: you play the role of a naughty boy called Maxwell who tricks an old man only for him to retaliate by placing a curse on Maxwell's sister - a curse that will eventually turn her completely into stone. The only way that Maxwell can help is to collect these star-like objects called, strangely enough, Starites. Starites are only rewarded to Maxwell for completing "good" deeds - basically helping others. In order to achieve this, Maxwell has an ace up his sleeve - a magical notebook where any words he types become reality.

Gameplay (4/5)
Enough about the story, what's the actual game like? Well you basically walk around different environments clicking on people, animals and objects to find out what's wrong. Once you've found out what's wrong you can decide what to do to fix the problem. There are a couple of ways of doing this: you can either create a new object by typing the word into your magical notebook (and if it isn't in the notebook, you can always create it using an editor) or you can add adjectives to an object in the world. This means there will often be multiple ways of solving a problem, for example let's say someone in a classroom wants to be the class clown. You can either create objects that will make him seem funny or you can add an adjective to make him "hilarious". For a child, I suspect it would be heaps of fun solving the problems with logical choices as the guessing game will be a challenge enough for them (and sometimes a challenge for this particular adult - sometimes you don't quite understand what they want). For an adult, I suspect a lot of fun would come from finding the most ridiculous objects or adjectives you can think of and seeing if they work. For example, I managed to create a monster called "ABBA", fed a lawyer to a cannibal, and helped a guy go on a date by rocking up to his girlfriend's house in a fighter jet. The game also has some pop culture references that only adults would pick up - such as a certain Black Knight who has lost his leg at hospital - only to be reunited with King Arthur after you patch him up...

The only real criticism I have about the game is that the interface seems kind of fiddly at times. There is the temptation to keep creating objects in order to use the process of elimination to solve puzzles and this can result in a lot of garbage lying around - so much so that you might accidentally start clicking on the wrong things. Sure, there's a garbage bin where you can chuck these unwanted items in, but then you've got to keep doing multiple clicks along with dragging and dropping which becomes a bit tedious. Also, considering the game is probably targeted towards kids you would've thought a simpler interface would've been in order.

It's just a flesh wound...

Sound (5/5)
No complaints about the sound effects - there's probably quite a few in there considering how many items you can interact with.

Music (3/5)
The music is nothing exceptional but suits the kind of game it is, which is a light-hearted, relaxed one where you get to use your imagination.

Graphics (3/5)
Graphics are quite rudimentary and is in a very simple cartoon style. Characters are animated like paper cut-outs but you can forgive Scribblenauts for its simple graphics considering you can create your own objects if you so desire!

Replay (2/5)
I've enjoyed the couple of hours that I've played this game so far and I can see it becoming quite addictive, even for an adult - mainly because you want to try out as many ridiculous combinations as possible - anything but the sane response! The game also contains the usual Steam Trading Cards and Achievements that come which have almost become commonplace for any new game sold on Steam.

Polish (5/5)
There aren't any serious bugs I've encountered in this game and the only issues I had were that the interface seemed fiddly sometimes, but that has already been mentioned in the Gameplay section.

Score – 7/10

This game isn't going to win any awards on thought-provoking material or a moving, epic soundtrack, but it is quite a bit of fun for young and old thanks to its interesting game mechanic where just about anything you type can become a game object you and the NPCs can interact with. Both kids and adults will appreciate how creative you can get with this game, just in different ways...

Scribblenauts Unlimited is available from these retailers:
  • Steam - $4.99 USD (due to Steam Sale - normally $19.99 USD)
  • EB Games - $24.95

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[ LINK: Official Scribblenauts Unlimited website ]