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Scribblenauts

Developer: 5th Cell | Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/15/09 | Genre: Puzzle

Creativity is something lacking in our industry today. Many claim to have some original concepts or ideas--but very few actually deliver. When a company does achieve something truly creative, it is hard to point out and complain about any faults within the product. Such is the case with Scribblenauts. This Nintendo DS title is so fun and creative but has a few glaring issues that may cause some complain.

At its core, Scribblenauts is a game that can be played in a variety of different ways. You control Maxwell in his quest to collect a starite in the 200+ levels. These levels include action and puzzle sections that are broken up on different screens. Sounds simple enough but this is when the true brilliance of the design comes to play. One early level puts Maxwell in a plain area with a simple tree. The starite is on top the tree and you are tasked with getting it in your hands. Using the bottom screen, players type out words--one letter at a time--and then the object appears in the game. Want a dragon so you can fly and grab it--you can. How about a ladder to climb up the tree? No sweat. Feeling creative? How about you catch the tree on fire so the starite falls to the ground? It can happen. Your imagination is the limitation.

To make things even more fun, players are then challenged to replay levels they have previously beaten an additional 3 times. When replaying a level, you can't use the same solution twice to beat it. This really gets the creative juices flowing! One of the biggest complaints is that if you find a particular word that can get you through a level, you can use a similar phrase to also beat the level. For example a car, truck, and race car all do practically the same thing. I do not find this a flaw in the game. If you want to take an easy way out, you are only cheating yourself.

One area where Scribblenauts does have issues is with the controls. Players use the stylus to control Maxwell. At times, he does not behave like you want him to and this can cause you to lose a level. It would have been nice to allow players an option to control with the D-Pad or Buttons but the D-Pad only controls the camera. Despite the glaring omission of customizable controls, I still highly recommend Scribblenauts. The creative fun more than makes up for any of the shortcomings and should be considered as one of the years best titles.

Real Life Ratings
Scribblenauts goes a long way to keep the action friendly and safe by omitting the use of questionable language. This keeps the action safe and fun for all ages. In fact, the freedom to use your imagination will cause you to question why other games limit you.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 09/29/09
ESRB Details: - Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief - This is a puzzle game in which players navigate a series of traps, puzzles, and enemies to collect stars scattered throughout the colorful levels. Players have the ability to summon different objects by writing/typing in the word (e.g., bike, spaceship, lion) and watching it come to life. If multiple words are entered in a sequence, different whimsical scenarios can be triggered: a bicycle can be used to jump over a baby; a bulldozer can clear away a shark; and cabbage can be fed to dinosaurs. Players can elect to summon 'cartoony' versions of bats, bombs, guns, and flamethrowers. These types of items can be used to destroy objects or even other summoned items (e.g., a club can be used to hit an animal; steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions; rockets can be lobbed at a man). These triggered animations are minimally depicted and are usually accompanied by popping, musical sound effects; bright, star-shaped flashes; or small puffs of smoke. If players wish to, they may type in the word vomit, which causes a beige-colored lump to appear on the screen.
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Screenshots for Scribblenauts

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