Scribblenauts Unlimited is a Puzzle game developed by 5th Cell and published by Warner Brothers Entertainment for PC, Wii U and 3DS. The game revolves around the creation of objects and creatures; from an incredibly large catalogue, to solve various puzzles in the games many levels.
In Scribblenauts, you play Maxwell; the owner of a magical notebook that creates whatever is written in it. Maxwell and his sister Lily pass a hungry old man one day and Maxwell decides to play a trick on him. After conjuring up a rotten apple for the man to eat, the man curses Lily and she slowly begins to turn to stone. To reverse the curse, Maxwell must perform good deeds around the world and gain Starites to heal Lily.
Scribblenauts is a puzzle game at heart; you are always solving puzzles to progress through the various sets of themed levels. The puzzles range from complex multi-objective missions that are enclosed in their own instances; to simple or quickly solved requests. As the game allows you to bring almost any object that you can think of (non- trademarked) into existence; you can solve each problem in far more ways than you’ll ever need.
Bringing objects into existence is quick and easy, as you need only hit return and type in the objects name before it appears on screen ready to be placed. Clicking on objects and creatures will also allow you to choose from a selection of physical interactions or notebook actions. The latter of the two will let you add adjectives to your current selection or dependant on the object and scenario; it may allow you to edit the object itself.
Adjectives can be added to change the properties of an object radically. Everything from personality traits to colours can be added. This will allow you to bring normally inanimate objects to life, as well as quickly change attributes like height, weight and colour. You can add multiple adjectives to objects so it is possible to have all sorts of combinations. Sometimes adding a few adjectives can be more effective than bringing new objects into the world. Things like jetpacks are incredibly useful for getting around but making yourself “fast flying” is equally effective.
The larger instanced missions carry various themes based on the location they are in. They can be quite lengthy and some can be a little more difficult due to requiring more precise movements or specific objects. They do pay off in the fact that they give you a complete Starite for your troubles; they also can follow some interesting stories or lines of problem solving.
As its instanced and worth more for completion you can also gain hints for each step of the challenge. Up to three hints can be seen after each is unlocked after a short amount of time. The first two hints can occasionally be a little vague but the last hint tends to instruct you outright with what you need to do. The game doesn’t penalise you for looking at hints; so the only thing at stake is your pride.
Smaller challenges are varied and short; offering Starite shards as a reward you can complete these in very quick succession if you can work out how to solve them. As there are usually about 6-12 of these in a level you can’t really afford to skip out on them if you are trying to progress. Some are quite interesting brain teasers and will take a bit of thought but the majority are very simple.
Challenges can be easily found by clicking the Starite at the top of the screen. It highlights all the shard challenges as well as the Starite ones; it makes finding challenges incredibly easy but may make you use it too often. Items can also be added to your backpack; also located at the top, allowing you to recreate some items much more easily than conjuring them up via the notebook. There is a limit to the amount of objects that can be held but it is reasonably high and shouldn’t really be an issue.
You can also skim through a list of categorized challenges that can earn Starite shards at any location. Some you will come across organically but many of the challenges are ones that may not be apparent as they are very specific; such as wearing costumes based on specific animals. They do offer a great deal extra to the games already large amount of level challenges but it can be a little cumbersome to access and browse the list.
Editing objects and creating objects lets you run wild with your creativity. The fact that it also links to the Steam Workshop on PC, means that you can almost instantly give friends or strangers access to your creations. Creations are limited to full objects as opposed to versions of Maxwell; so no matter how much you want to share your avatar you can’t really do it with any amount of ease.
Objects will use the behaviour of the object that you use as a base. Each base item has various sections that interact with the core of the object. From there you can import parts of other objects to create all sorts of variations. Hybrid creatures are easy to make; you can substitute the appendages from one creature with another as a quick example but behind the scenes you can also edit the scripting of an object to give further depth to the creation.
Scripts contain all the different interactions that the object has. These are split into different categories and allow you to edit movement types, sounds played, elemental effects such as electricity conduction. It allows for all sorts of interactions to be made so if you decide that you want to make a living, barking, giant shoe, which you can ride and fly about on; then you can go right ahead with that. It is limited to a number of parts in any one object but it does still allow for great variation and allows you to be mostly unrestricted creatively..
Scibblenauts has its charm with the cartoony, modular characters and objects. Even Zombies and Pirates have a slightly cute look to them and many of the various parts available in the editor have allowed for many well-known or detailed creations to be made and shared. The audio is quite light and fits in well with the tone the game sets; even the more monstrous creatures are quite pleasant sounding.
Being creative can be fun and the object editor allows you to make many weird or wonderful things. There are quick and easy methods to completing many of the problems; adding adjectives being the easiest and quickest but the fun only really comes in when you can be creative or funny with the scenarios at hand.
How much you enjoy the game really depends on your own problem solving skills and how creative you want to be. Unfortunately the road to completion doesn’t offer any tangible benefits to being creative; making the short and easy route to Starite shards boring or uneventful at times. It’s very much a playground where you have to find your own fun.
If you can get into a creative mood then the editors for both avatars and items can be a blast. I’ve already made some “interesting” avatars and items and do enjoy making the more abstract sorts of objects. It’s always nice to complete puzzles in more interesting ways and sometimes the simple ways can be quite funny but I found myself being able to complete many shard challenges by just adding a quick adjective to an object.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.