Andrew checks out the new creative puzzle game at the Warner Bros. booth.
The next entry into the creativity-charged Scribblenauts series doesn't deviate far from what the series has established, but it's a kind of game that doesn't necessarily need much in the way of new features—the amount of enjoyment you get out of it depends on the amount of imagination and effort you invest into it. Scribblenauts Unlimited will hit both Wii U and 3DS when it releases.
In this game, players will be treated to a story that tells of Maxwell, his twin sister, a vengeful old man and the origin of his magical notebook and its mysterious powers.
While this may seem like it would be considered a prequel to the two previous games, it's more of a simple retelling, another look at the Scribblenauts world.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Scribblenauts is a game that presents challenges with a wide range of objectives, such as launching a vehicle across a chasm, or protecting a human character from a monster. It is up to you to complete the stage using, literally, whatever you can think of—as whatever you write in your notebook will appear in the game. Want a weapon to fight off a bad guy? Or a pet to follow you around? Or a helicopter to take to the skies? A horde of zombies? Just type it into the game and it's yours to use, as the game has a built-in dictionary that recognises a cornucopia of nouns.
The latest game on Wii U is presented in full wide screen HD. The art style from the DS games is retained in this version, including the “paper cut-out” style of hinge-limbed creatures, but it looks crisp and clean and beautiful. The touch screen works in much the same way as the old versions, allowing you to drag your creations onto people and creatures to automatically give or apply them, and tapping objects in the level allows you to choose between appropriate actions, such as “give (what you're holding)," “attack," “ride," etc. The in-game dictionary is promised to have been expanded since Super Scribblenauts and as a rough estimate, the amount of recognised words is in the “tens of thousands." That said, it's always better to be specific with your instructions. The game did not understand “dimensional portal”, but was perfectly okay with providing a rocket-powered dragon for me to ride on and fly around, burning all the people in the stage to cinders. I did not get a chance to try the customised item builder that was shown in this morning's trailer, but there are no limits to what you can create, as it was promised that anything you make can be attached to anything else.
The 3DS version will, of course, have all the story cutscenes displayed with 3D in full effect, and it will also make use of StreetPass in such a way that will allow people to share creations with those they pass, as well as the solution to certain stages via single-word hints. For example, if you have trouble figuring out how to clear a particular stage, you'll have the option to see the name of single items that other players used to solve their puzzles.
If you're a fan of the other games, this may seem a little like more of the same, but maybe a new set of challenging, scribblenauting puzzles is just what you've been hoping for.