FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
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Mon, 1st Nov 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

When the first Scribblenauts was revealed, it triggered unprecedented levels of anticipation for a handheld game with a concept that is still absolutely staggering to this day.

Presented with a series of puzzles in a 2D environment, the player could input virtually any noun they could think of in order to tackle a specific problem, which would then appear on screen. For instance, you could enter the word "Lumberjack” if you wanted to chop down a tree to obtain the ‘Starite' that sat at the top. There were reportedly 22,802 possible nouns the player could use (including nouns as bizarre or unusual as "cryptozoologist” and "Cthulu”).

These objects retain the properties you'd expect of them and interact with each other and the environments in unique ways.

Super Scribblenauts takes this mind-boggling depth and multiplies it by a factor of 10. Remember the possible 22,802 nouns that you could utilise?

Now, thanks to the inclusion of adjectives, you can describe them in as many ways as you see fit. This affects the properties of the objects in question, such as their colour, size or behaviour. For example, I entered the word "dog” and a docile canine appeared on screen.

I then followed this up by entering "angry dog” and then another, similar-looking dog appeared onscreen that proceeded to attack the previous dog. As you can imagine, this added degree of detail opens up all kinds of new possibilities for particularly complicated puzzles.

Seemingly bizarre inputs as "furry house” will, naturally, result in a furry house. One of my favourite inputs that I saw in a preview trailer was "gentlemanly red raptor”, which produced a red velociraptor wearing a top hat and a monacle. I'd love to know the nature of the puzzle that requires that level of specific description…

As revolutionary as the original Scribblenauts was, it was also let down by a few basics. Navigating Maxwell, the player's character, using the DS stylus could be an exercise in frustration: solving a puzzle only to then send Maxwell to a watery grave on his way to collect the Starite was not uncommon.

Now, thankfully, the player can opt to control Maxwell with the D-pad. It's super- intuitive and controls just like a typical 2D side-scrolling platformer. Of course, if you got used to the old configuration, you can also use the stylus.

Oh, and the previous example has reminded me: Maxwell can now swim! Super Scribblenauts is not only on track to patch up some of the holes left in its predecessor, but the inclusion of adjectives is set to take the creative possibilities to the next level. Stay tuned for a full review soon!