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Scribblenauts

01 Dec 09

Okay, I’ve got to get this out there: Scribblenauts is the most original game I’ve ever seen. Why? Well, because you can write any object you can think of on the screen and it comes to life within the game. Truly. It’s so ambitious that it’s crazy, and what’s even more insane is that it actually works.
The objective is pretty simple: help the hero, Maxwell, reach the Starite (a glowing star) by solving each challenge. The thing is, you’ve got to create the objects that will solve the puzzle by writing (or typing) them. For example one mission is ‘Reunite the girl with her kitten’ (the moggy is stuck on the roof), so you could write ‘trampoline’ for instance and BAM! A trampoline appears in the game’s world for Max to propel himself onto the roof with. Alternatively you could write ‘mouse’ and lure the feline down. The problems start off pretty easy, but quickly get a lot harder.
The vocabulary library is incredibly vast; it’s actually quite hard to find a word it can’t form an object for. Naturally, I tried. Before you ask, vulgarities and words that are trademarked won’t work.
This game reminds me of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books that were popular in the late 80s and early 90s, where you could pick from a selection of endings. But with Scribblenauts the options stretch only as far as your imagination.      
The cartoon style is so cute it verges on Hello-Kitty territory, and the soundtrack is equally adorable. There is, however, one aspect that lets this remarkable game down, and that’s the way in which our wee Max is managed. Rather than using the control pad, he’s moved by tapping the touchscreen. This is really limiting because it makes precise movement tricky, and this often screws up the complicated strategies you’ve planned. It’s a spanner in the works for sure, but will surely be improved in the next instalment. This game has potential in bucketloads and is darn clever.

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