Scribblenauts – Reader Review

scribblenautsTriumph is a 24-year old and he’s submitted this review of a really cool concept DS game called Scribblenauts. This is a Reader Review, meaning a reader, like you, has written it. I like giving readers and parents the chance to read other perspectives on games. Games you might like, or want to stay away from and I’ll take them from any reader of any age. It’s about perspective. Please use the Email link to your left to contribute!

Scribblenauts is a work of unfulfilled genius. It starts as a basic, sidescrolling platformer type game. The crucial gimmick is that you can write in any object (not quite any, but out of a vocabulary of thousands and thousands of words) to make that object appear in the game. The game presents puzzles and obstacles, and challenges the player’s imagination to add whatever tools it takes to get through. It’s amazing. Among the words I tried were mech, suspension bridge, snow, jet pack, grappling hook, shovel, dog, rail gun, velociraptor, shrink ray, invisibility cape, flood, tornado, unicorn, assassin, truck driver, submarine, scuba gear, and fire, just to name a few. It’s an amazing idea for a game. I didn’t have too much trouble encounter words or terms the game doesn’t have, but it’s vocabulary is huge and imaginative. And it can be used to overcome over 200 levels.

That’s the genius side of the game. Unfortunately, that’s not all there is. The chief problem is control. The same control is used to move your character as to manipulate all the stuff you write in. And it’s never very precise. The result is often selecting an object when you want to move, or moving when you want to select an object, or getting the that right but not being able to move to the spot you want. This proves to be quite annoying. The game has some other minor flaws (the most important to was that I like stories and the game has none; it’s just puzzles, which was disappointing to me at least) but none that interfere the fun as much as the controls. It’s also perplexing sometimes how, despite all the objects the designers got right, there are some that just don’t seem to work in a way that makes sense, which can be annoying when you’ve come up with a clever idea only to find out object X doesn’t work like that.

The game is quite clean. It doesn’t allow any crude or foul language, and has nothing in the way of objectionable content. For that reason, as well as for the sheer cleverness of the basic premise, I WANT to like this game. It deserves serious kudos for those reasons. But I cannot unreservedly recommend it because it just didn’t prove to be as FUN as I would have hoped. I would give oh, 3 out 5 stars. ESRB gives it an Everyone 10+ rating for Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief.  You can definitely practice some violence, but the cartoony art style reduces it’s impact, and there’s no gore at all. The game has very little reading, but since the entire premise is using one’s vocabulary, strong verbal skills are necessity.  10 is probably a reasonable age for that.

No Responses to “Scribblenauts – Reader Review”

  1. That’s an awesome review, Triumph!

    Here’s my review of Scribblenauts that I wrote when the game first came out. They are making a sequel, you know.


  2. It certainly sounds like an interesting game. It isn’t worth buying a DS for, though, so I’ll have to give it a pass unless it ends up going multi-platform (this game would be great as a Steam download for the PC).

  3. I’ll give it a shot if I can borrow it from my friend. I thought about getting it back on release, but I just don’t game on my DS all that much. It certainly sounds quite cool though.

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