Maxwell is just a regular little boy. He loves reading comic books and playing with his sister Lily. But Maxwell and Lily have two special gifts. Maxwell has a magic notebook that he can use to write anything in it, and it’ll come to life! And Lily has a magic globe that she can use to travel anywhere she wants! One day, Maxwell and Lily decided they wanted to visit their favorite DC Comics superheroes, so they used their magic items to travel to Gotham City. But when they arrived, Lily’s globe broke and all the starites that power it flew out. Unfortunately, the starites ended up in the hands of various DC super villains, so now it’s up to Maxwell and Lily to team up with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and hundreds of other DC heroes to track down the starites and save the day! You and your kids can help Maxwell with the strongest super power of all: your imagination! (Wii U version reviewed here)
The basic gameplay in Unmasked is very similar to other Scribblenauts titles, especially Unlimited. You can write nearly any object in Maxwell’s notebook, and it’ll come to life in the game and act accordingly. You can type in animals to ride on, weapons to attack with, clothes to wear, or people to help you. You can also add adjectives to objects to modify their behavior and appearance. A second player can pick up a Wii remote and control Maxwell’s creations in Sidekick Mode, too.
The unique aspect of Unmasked is that now you can type in nearly 2,000 characters and objects from the DC Comics universe. The characters will react accordingly to other people and objects. So if you type in Superman and Lex Luthor, they’ll start fighting each other. Or if you type in Kryptonite, Superman will get weak. You can also use the Bat-computer to access a database of all the DC heroes and villains you can use. Read up on each one’s biography and see how they are related to other characters, too. It’s like having your own personal DC Comics database! You can also create your own super heroes and villains using the Create a Hero mode, then put them in your utility belt for use at any time or share them with others online. It’s similar to the item creator in Unmasked. It’s a bit confusing to use at first, but it’s the only way you can have Super Aqua Bat Flash Man on your team!
The flow of the game is similar to Unlimited, too. Use Lily’s globe to travel to various locations in the DC Universe, such as Gotham City, Metropolis, Green Lantern’s base, and more! There are two types of puzzles in each location. Some citizens and heroes will just need for you to help them by typing in one or two things that they need. Completing these mini-missions successfully will earn you Reputation Points. Reputation Points act as kind of a currency, as you spend them to unlock new areas, outfits for Maxwell to wear, and if you fail a main mission, you can use some to continue without having to start the mission over. Sometimes, Mxyzptlk will offer a challenge to you, such as completing missions without using certain words. If you accept his challenges and pass, you stand to earn double the Reputation Points. But if you fail, you won’t earn as much. You can also reset areas to try different random mini-missions to earn more points as well.
The other type of missions will earn you a starite if you complete it, and will also progress the story forward. These missions are generally longer, and more involved and difficult. Generally you’ll have to type in words and adjectives to help out super heroes and stop the bad guys. Some of these missions are a bit more action oriented than other Scribblenauts titles, and they even gave Maxwell an attack button in this game (just make sure he has a good weapon equipped for the situation).
Unmasked does have a few problems here and there, though. Even though you can tap on the Lily icon to get hints on missions, goals and puzzles are still unclear sometimes. And while the game tries hard to make it enjoyable even if you don’t know much about DC Comics characters, I can’t help but think that this game would be ten times more fun if I did know more about comic books (never really got into them myself). Even so, Scribblenauts Unmasked is highly recommended for both fans of Scribblenauts and DC Comics.
Scribblenauts: Unmasked is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief. You can attack enemies with various created weapons, including blades, guns, vehicles, and more. But defeated enemies just fall over and disappear when they run out of energy. Sometimes you can fail missions if people get ‘killed,’ too. The comic mischief comes from anything in the game you can create. It can be as twisted as you make it. Strong reading and spelling skills are a must, as you need to type out everything in the game. So it’s best suited for older kid gamers. Plus, puzzles require more quick thinking than before, so younger gamers may get a little frustrated and need some help.
Like the other games in the series, Unmasked could be considered educational as well, as it teaches spelling and vocabulary skills. The game even encourages you not to use the same words twice when solving puzzles, so you have to be pretty creative and wordy to get the best scores. Plus, kids love super heroes, but there aren’t a lot of super hero games geared towards kids. So it’s Unmasked to the rescue! The superhero motif in this game should encourage young super hero fans even more to learn and play with this game. Even looking up different facts about DC super heroes using the Bat-computer may not seem educational, but it does teach important research skills.
Scribblenauts Review Gallery
One of the feathers in my game reviewing cap is that I’ve been able to review all the games in the Scribblenauts series. They’re all good games, so here are links to all the reviews I’ve written.