Published on August 22nd, 2012 | by Dembonez19


Review: Super Scribblenauts

Review: Super Scribblenauts Dembonez19

Developer: 5th Cell
Publisher: WB Games
System(s): DS
Release Date: October 12, 2010


Perfect (or close enough to it)

With Scribblenauts: Unlimited on the horizon for the Wii U and 3DS, let’s take a trip back to 2010 and focus on one of its predecessors: 5th Cell’s Super Scribblenauts for the DS. Also known as “that game with the title screen you’ll play with for hours”.

Now, this could be considered a double review since it is difficult to talk about Super Scribblenauts without comparing it to the original. The original game was extremely innovative and allowed players to control the game in a completely new way. The premise behind Scribblenauts and its sequels is this: if you can think it, you can use it.

Super Scribblenauts held true to that as the majority of the things you think up will be completely unique, different, and also level-specific. You will find new usefulness and appreciation for objects that may otherwise appear useless in reality, and with the addition of adjectives, that makes things even better! Who needs wings when you can ride on a purple spotted flying colossal dung beetle? Better yet, make that a purple spotted flying colossal SANITARY dung beetle.

That’s right. Adjectives were included in Super Scribblenauts to further the idea that anything you can think up can become a reality. Anything that isn’t vulgar, proper, or copyrighted that is.

In order to make full use of these super special adjectives and nouns, you have to know how to maneuver yourself around each of the levels. Some levels don’t require much movement at all while others send you on a mini journey. There are two control schemes that you can choose from. There is the old stylus control scheme that players were forced to use in the original, and there is a D-pad control scheme which was thankfully introduced in Super Scribblenauts.

The stylus controls from before were very iffy. It was difficult to pinpoint exactly where Maxwell, the main character, would end up. With the D-pad controls, Maxwell’s movements are much more precise. Even the stylus controls in Super Scribblenauts are far less slippery than they were in the original. Wings, jetpacks, and other tools Maxwell uses to give him the power of flight no longer have limits either. So if Maxwell needs to fly over a bottomless pit or a crater filled with lava, these flight items equipped to Maxwell will never give out mid-flight.

Another feature that changed was the merit system. There are still merits that you can achieve for performing certain tasks, but you can only achieve the merit once. Unlike in the original where merits were almost always earned per level, you could have a long dry spell of earning merits in Super Scribblenauts, but once you’ve earned them, they’re there forever. Even if you delete your file and start a new game, the merits are there.

The par system also changed in that there is no par. In the original Scribblenauts, a par system was put in place to challenge the player into completing levels with as few items as possible. This actually helped influence the shallow word list. I never felt the need to explore other items if things worked for me since exploring would cause me to go over par. With it taken out completely, I could explore however much I wanted! If something didn’t work, that’s okay! There’s a lot of guessing in Super Scribblenauts, and it empowers you to think creatively but also feel okay if something doesn’t work exactly how you wanted it too. It’s all part of the object exploration and seeing how YOUR words interact in the game. That said, the challenge still exists of finding the right words, you’re just not so bound and limited to sticking only with what worked before.

As mentioned before, the constellations are the worlds that contain the levels in Super Scribblenauts. Before, the worlds were themed. Now, the developers allowed themselves more freedom to place whatever puzzles they wanted into the unspecific constellations. This was a smart idea, and I think it is neat that similar types of puzzles are featured in multiple constellations. I won’t go into too much detail about the puzzle types, but I think the constellations helped to make the puzzles more consistent with each other but also very unique. I hardly remember myself using the same word twice, and again with adjectives everything could be different.

One final mechanic 5th Cell decided to change was the amount of times someone needed to play a level to actually complete it and earn a gold crown. Before, every single level had to be replayed three extra times to fully complete them. During the three retries, objects could not be reused. This is great for opening your mind to new possibilities however some of the levels just became chores to complete since the objects someone could think up on-the-spot were so limited.

Once again, Super Scribblenauts changes that. Not all of the levels need to be replayed for full completion, and you will be thankful to replay those that do. For example, if you were to create a city, what would be in it? You probably have a list.

Really, it is hard to even imagine how much 5th Cell will improve upon the already spectacular Scribblenauts franchise with Scribblenauts: Unlimited coming out later this year for the Wii U and 3DS.

+ Precise controls
+ Puzzles are not as limiting as before
+ Replay factor
+ Free play title screen
+ No par system
– Merits can’t be re-earned by other players

Final score: 5 out of 5

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About the Author

Recent college graduate with a BA in Game Art and Design and extremely avid gamer to boot.

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