Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Since the DS was released, few developers have managed to create a game that fully embraces the touch-screen based technology. While it would be sacrilegious to not give kudos to games like GTA: Chinatown Wars, The World Ends With You, Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and of course Nintendogs for what they did, developer 5th Cell presented back in 2007 a little game called Drawn To Life, which did not receive much media attention but did serve as an idea of what would be the next groundbreaking DS game: Scribblenauts. Hyped by many for the past year or so and winning several awards at this year’s E3, does the premise of solving everything by writing anything still stand out?
In Scribblenauts, you need to help Maxwell, a charming but un-talkative rooster-hat-headphone wearing kid, collect little stars called “Starites” by solving puzzles with the help of the stylus. How? By writing down anything you think would be useful to get the Starite in order to complete the level. It could be literally anything. Let’s say a chef is standing in front of his house and he’s hungry as hell. Solution: write “Cookie” and give it to him. Mission completed. Yes, it’s that simple. It’s not always like this but a good chunk of the 200+ levels are really easy to complete, especially at the beginning.
“Challenge Mode” is the main gameplay mode where you progress from one themed world to another. There are 110 challenges to complete in Puzzle Mode and an additional 110 Action Mode levels (indicated by an explosion icon in the lower left corner of the touch-screen). As you complete levels, the game awards you various “merits” - which act like a little in-game achievement system - and Ollars, the game’s currency, which will allow you to unlock 30 additional levels, new songs and new playable characters.
Completely stylus-driven, the game controls are simple. You can move the characters from one place to another, equip objects for your personal use or assign them to another character so they can use it. The stylus-based control system works but sometimes, depending on the object, it could get very difficult to use and/or assign, especially if you summon a bigger object (ex: an air balloon). Thankfully, you can always control the camera with the A and B buttons and move the object away and try to reset the whole thing. Even then, controlling the whole game through the touch screen can turn your enjoyment into frustration. The touch screen is over-sensitive and may move the characters to places you don’t want and connecting an object to a character may take more than three tries to actually get it right. A pop-up menu, asking you if you want to interact or assign the object to as character, does appear but it doesn’t excuse the fact that the precision needed to actually bind objects to people is too sensitive.
Additionally, the touch screen does suffer from another issue: it has troubles recognizing the letters you want to write. Then again, you can bypass the writing by using a little QWERTY keyboard which is actually good because there’s no way that Scribblenauts would have been that fun if I was stuck trying to register the letter A more than five times and not advancing at all.
Not as easy as it may seem
The Scribblenauts experience doesn’t end there. Pack into the game is a Level Editor. With it, you can create your own levels with the possibility to play them yourself (of course) but also to share it with your friends via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection system. There’s not much to say about it aside from the fact that only the hardcore Scribblenauts fans will really get a kick out of it. It’s obvious that the level creator and sharing capabilities do play a role in the game’s replayability just as much as the main Challenge mode.
Graphics & Sounds
I would be lying if I said that Scribblenauts is a masterful achievement in the visual department. That does not necessarily mean that the game looks bad either. Truth is, for a game like this one, graphics aren’t everything. However, the kid-friendly-cartoon presentation fits extremely well within the game. It doesn’t look cheap but everything is being kept simple.
In terms of audio, the music and the sound effect are extremely basic and just like most of the DS games out there, its one of the weakest points. There are no voices either, only a few gibberish blurbs.
Whenever a DS game is being reviewed, most of the time the same things come back: simplistic visuals and a subpar sound build. The graphics and the sounds are always the weakest points of a DS game and this one isn’t different. However, all the points that Scribblenauts could have lose in those two departments, it wins it back on the overall presentation and gameplay sections.
With that being said, Scribblenauts is one of those games that no matter how the visuals and sounds are, if the gameplay delivers, everything will be fine. Although it has several issues with the controls due to an over-sensitive touch screen, the game’s imaginative and funny nature isn’t hugely affected. In the end, you won’t regret the purchase.
* Level creator mode is fun.
* Level sharing via Nintendo WFC is also possible.
* Great amount of puzzles and lots of different ways to solve a puzzle
* Good replay value
1 year ago :: I Heart Geeks!
1 year ago :: Professor Layton And The Last Specter
2 years ago :: Radiant Historia
2 years ago :: Pokemon Black/White
2 years ago :: De Blob 2
2 years ago :: Dragon Quest VI : Realms of Revelations
2 years ago :: Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
2 years ago :: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem
2 years ago :: Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2009/09/15
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : Warner Games
Developer : 5TH Cell
Category : Action
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10