Nov 30, 2012

Scribblenauts Unlimited Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $59.99
We Recommend: $59.99
  • Developer: 5th Cell
  • Publisher: Nintendo, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Released: Nov 13, 2012
  • Platform: Nintendo Wii U
  • Reviewed: Nintendo Wii U

After playing the original Scribblenauts on the DS, it felt like there was a lot of potential there.  It was neat to be able to type just about any word and have it appear on screen. Scribblenauts Unlimited is no different except that it has masterfully executed the core concepts from the original DS title. This time around our rooster hat wearing hero, Maxwell, gets a back story. As it turns out, Maxwell is actually one of 43 kids. He receives a magic notebook that lets him create anything he writes, while his only sister, Lily, has the ability to travel anywhere in the world. After upsetting an old man, a curse is placed on Lily and it’s up to Maxwell to save his sister.

Along the way you meet up with Maxwell’s brothers; complete their objectives and you will have access to their outfit; I figured it appropriate to wear the Edwin outfit. The basic mechanics are still there, you type out words to create objects that will assist you in solving puzzles. You can go as simple as the obvious solution or something way out there. An early objective is to save a girl’s cat from a tree and the obvious answer here would be to create a ladder but why not give yourself a jetpack to fly to the cat? But there’s more now thanks to the addition of adjectives from Super Scribblenauts. Instead of a jetpack I’ll just type “Floating Maxwell” and viola now I can just float to the cat.

As with previous games not all the solutions are easy to think of. Another early puzzle was getting rid of radioactive waste. Nothing I could come up with would remove the waste until my girlfriend jokingly suggested I nuke it. So I type nuke and out popped a missile for me to use. I placed the nuke inside the waste container and it exploded with a giant nuclear cloud. Lo and behold the waste canister was gone and I solved the puzzle. So all in all, if you’ve played Scribblenauts before then you know exactly what to expect on the gameplay front.

Exclusive to the Wii U version of the game is the ability to type in Nintendo themed words and get Scribblenauts-esque version of some select characters. Mario, Luigi, Link, Zelda; all options. I liked making Yoshis and riding them around the level. This is not all Unlimited has to offer though, the new Object Editor lets you create new and edit existing objects in the world to quite ridiculous detail. Developer 5th Cell has gone out to say that it’s essentially the same dev tools they use to create new objects, granted more user friendly. The game features an online shop section where you can share your creations with friends and others. On launch there wasn’t much to see but after a few days there were some gems to download and add to your game.  From existing Nintendo characters to even Star Wars creations. You’re given your own little store front, and when I say storefront I mean the front of a building with windows showcasing your wares. It’s a cute little touch that fits the game’s atmosphere. The game includes over 40 levels in which to use your scribblenauting skills, each with their own unique and quirky locations that can be accessed from an over world map as you unlock them.

The best thing about playing on the Wii U is the fact that everyone in the room gets to see what’s going on. The whole family can brainstorm different solutions while the player writes them on the GamePad. That’s exactly how my girlfriend gave me the solution with the radioactive waste. I was playing on the GamePad and since it plays the same thing on the tv, she saw what I was doing and commented on it. Just imagine the hilarity of playing this game with your family and friends, especially since up to three other players can grab a Wii Remote and control any of the created objects to either help or annoy you.

As I mentioned, Scribblenauts Unlimited does support playing from the GamePad and you can even just set it to be GamePad only through a checkbox in the options menu. I can’t stress how convenient it is having the GamePad sitting next to your bed and playing your Wii U right there without getting up. Granted that’s more of a Wii U feature than a Scribblenauts Unlimited feature but I applaud the devs for making it work well.

This is easily the best version of Scribblenauts that I have played and even though some may prefer to play the PC version with a keyboard, I believe the Wii U version is the one to have if you have more than yourself at home.