"Do not disturb. Scribbling." If I was a wearing a sign on my back these days this is probably what it would say. Scribblenauts has me scribbling on the bus, on the subway, on a bench, in the bathroom, and just about anywhere and anytime possible. It's having a negative effect on my social life, but at least it's helping me expand my active vocabulary.
There is something special about games that allows you to think creatively, to broaden your horizons, and allow you new experiences. Scribblenauts is one such game and I salute 5th Cell for making it.
The premiss of Scribblenauts is simple. You control Maxwell, a funny looking boy whose objective it is to collect a starite in each level. There are two kinds of levels, puzzle levels and action levels and there are just over ten of each per world. In total there are over 200 levels and there is also an editor to prolong your scribbling indefinitely.
The puzzle levels involve you fulfilling a task and getting a reward in the shape of a starite. Some of the early levels sees you producing something that Santa Claus enjoys, helping a lumberjack cut down a tree or cleaning up a park and getting rid of a fly.
Now Santa was happy seeing his wife Mrs. Claus, as well as getting a sack to put his gifts in, while I had a termite and a beaver chew down the tree for the lumberjack. I also gave him a chainsaw with good results, however when I tried to shoot down the tree with a shotgun I hit the lumberjack by accident and he proceeded to beat Maxwell down.
When I ventured to the park I collected the garbage (couple on the ground one in a tree that I cut down) and had a frog swat the fly. This is the genius part of the game. You solve the puzzles by writing a word and that object will pop up on screen and Maxwell can make use of it. Every level has multiple solution, and you are rewarded for clever solution, fast thinking and efficient use of objects. Your reward is "ollars" the currency in Scribblenauts that allows you unlock more worlds and levels.
The action levels on the other hand are a little more elaborate for the most part. In these levels the starite is placed somewhere on the map and your mission is to unite Maxwell and starite. There are usually one or two enemies to take into consideration, barracudas, bees, bears, sharks and such that you need to take into account. You also have to take physics into consideration as you try and guide the starite to Maxwell or vice versa.
There is an interesting level where you need to unite a family of ducks while avoiding to hurt a cat early on in the game, and it illustrates the root of the problem often lies in finding ways to distract or incapacitate the obstacles without hurting them. Another early level sees to packs of ants racing towards a picnic basket. You have to stop without upsetting a hippie (ie hurt them). So the ant lion wasn't a great idea. However, providing them with cakes instead and/or blocking their routes with a boulder provided a solution the hippie could live with.
Scribblenauts has a charming design and a simple yet very catchy theme melody that will fill your mind even as you fold up your DS Lite (or whatever model you have in your possession), the sound effects are quirky and humorous and provide a great reward when you have made something happen on screen. And how can you not love a game that keeps calling you a genius or a prodigy every now and then?
The Nordic edition of Scribblenauts comes complete with five languages, English as well as Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. It's the same game obviously, but for me it was interesting to try both English and Swedish. It shows some of the differences in the languages and how English is a somewhat richer language (many Swedish words tend to cover several items). Personally I think it's great that Warner Bros went the distance and localised a game like this as it makes it accessible to a much larger audience. This is a game that should appeal to gamers of all ages.
I'm far from done with Scribblenauts and the fact that you need to complete each level in three different ways to truly beat it means that Scribblenauts will last a long, long time. It's the perfect portable game and one of the best games so far on the platform.