December 12, 2012

Unbridled Imagination

Lasting First Impressions of Scribblenauts Unlimited

Developed by 5th Cell  |  Published by Warner Bros.

Scribblenauts Unlimited - Box Art» Scribblenauts first made it way to the Nintendo DS back in 2009 and quickly wrote its way into the hearts of many gamers. The first game of its kind, allowing players to literally write any object into the game to solve puzzles, it became an instant hit. Giant green alien zombies suddenly began appearing alongside the likes of flying sharks and rocket boosters.  If your imagination could think of it, the game could create it.  Now, developer 5th Cell brings this zany limited-only-by-your-imagination fun to the Nintendo Wii U in Scribblenauts Unlimited.

Foregoing the level by level design of the first game, Scribblenauts Unlimited takes our hero Max on a more open-world adventure in an attempt to gather enough starites to stop his sister, Lily, from turning to stone. Having been previously mischievous with his all-powerful notepad, and given an rotten apple to a strange old man, his sister was cursed and Max must redeem himself by doing good for those in need.  So, off Max goes across the world helping everyone he comes in contact with by creating items with his notebook or changing things for the better.

Scribblenauts Unlimited screen 1

Scribblenauts Unlimited is virtually the same game that we’ve seen before in the original game and in Scribblenauts Remix, available for iOS, but with a much larger list of words available to create.  Visually, it still retains its sketchbook quality puppet style look and silly cartoon world but the open world adventure makes for a much more fluid experience allowing players to quickly move from one puzzle to another.

On his travels, Max will encounter many people with problems and it will be up to you to decide how to help them to gain another starite.  Some of the hints given are very simple to solve and can be done so with one object, while other may cause some frustration as you attempt to figure out what needs to be done. One puzzle in particular was a bit frustrating as a penguin needed to “get past the security guard and security camera to steal back his diamond”.  Immediately I thought I need to turn off the camera and distract the guard, but nothing I tried worked. Ultimately I realized that, instead of creating an object, I can change the penguin’s description (adjective) to make him become an Invisible Penguin, thus satisfying the puzzle.  There will definitely be times when the puzzles will force players to think outside the box and very creatively to proceed.

Scribblenauts Unlimited screen 2

With the brand new object creator, in which players can create anything they want and add it to the already huge database of words and objects, the possibilities are now, literally, endless.  Add to that the Punctuation Plaza, a place to share and download objects created by other players, and there is no telling how much can be brought into Max’s world.

While both strange and nice at the same time, Scribblenauts’ GamePad screen is exactly what is seen on the TV.  If players are not utilizing the Side Kick mode, in which other players, using the Wii Remotes can control any of Max’s creations, there is really no need to play on the TV.  I found that I didn’t even want to look at the TV while I was playing so I turned the TV off and switched the game to GamePad-only mode.  This made for a much more relaxed gameplay experience but also begs the question as to why we needed a Scribblenauts for Wii U instead of another portable version for 3DS or iOS.

Regardless, Scribblenauts Unlimited is the best game in the series to date. The open world aspect helps the flow of the game; instead of returning to a menu every time to select a new puzzle, players simply keep moving from one puzzle to another.  Of all the release titles for the Wii U, Scribblenauts Unlimited should be on every family’s list.

5th Cell, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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