Scribblenauts  - Review

Ages: Everyone 10+

A year ago, if someone told you about a game where you could spell the name of an object, animal or person and it would appear on your game screen to use - it would be unbelievable. That's the way it looked when I saw it at E3 in June. It's now in my hands. It is amazing.

The opening screen is your Playground. A good place to try out word/object creation. If your spelling is incorrect - a choice of words is suggested - some of which can be very interesting. Everyone has a story to tell of their strange object - mine was Pegasus - great for flying and getting things. Each object comes with its own inherent action and some results may be somewhat unpredictable - my tornado didn't wreak my trailer - but did turn my car upside down. Eventually you come to replaying levels. You have to come up with three different solutions. It taxes you brain and it is such fun.

There are two modes inside of the Challenger Mode; Puzzle Mode, where you are given a hint on how to solve a problem and are rewarded with a Starite, and Action Mode where you know where the Starite is and have to get it. Starites are used to buy things. Pay attention to the instructions in the Puzzle Mode, they are not repeated and there is no back button. Also, mind the thought bubbles above animated things - they telegraph action. The Level Editor, the other activity, is were you make your own levels. Challenge mode was enough to keep me busy.

When you get something really great, it's human nature to want it to be perfect. Navigation is frustrating. There is a conflict between picking objects, dropping objects and moving Maxine (you can change your avatar). Hot spots can be on top of one another. I ended up moving when I wanted to drop an item and having Max move on top of an object I wanted to target. Perhaps less reliance on only using the stylus would have helped. The game is crowded on the small screen - maybe the Wii next time?

At some point you use too many objects - or want to get rid of some. The manual says they can be deleted - but they don't tell how. I just sunk them to the bottom of the screen - an inelegant solution. The word "Save" does not appear in the manual, or for that matter, in the game. Kids and some of us, want to know - for sure - when we turn off the power that our progress is saved. Three words - "Saves when exiting" - is it too much to ask?

We are so obsessed with scores and goals that if we just sit back, let our minds play a bit we will find that imagination is a vastly rewarding experience. The word/object action is so cool that the aggravations with the movement was like being expected to clean up your room when you just want to go out and play. Next time, play all the time.

Fun Factor: Great fun for all
Female Factor: You can change your avatar
Player Friendly: Game could use more player help.

Reviewed by: Editor - 09/09

  • Scribblenauts
  • © Warner Brothers
  • Platform(s): GBDSDS
  • To Order: DS $27.99