Game Review

Scribblenauts Unlimited Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Doodle dandy

After enjoying some success with its Drawn to Life title on Nintendo DS, developer 5th Cell set out to create a unique action/puzzler that allowed the player to conjure up almost any object they could think of by merely typing the name of that object into the game. This offered not only a large array of creativity, but also allowed gamers to go wild in trying to come up with the most bizarre ways to solve puzzles. The developer kicked things up a notch with the sequel, this time adding adjectives to the mix and pushing the boundaries of what could be created even further; the same can be said of Scribblenauts Unlimited, as the vocabulary depth is bigger than ever and there are a host of new twists to heighten the experience further.

Past Scribblenauts releases have been fairly short on storyline, tending to allow players to jump right in with their puzzle activities. This time around 5th Cell has chosen to give the game more back-story, thus giving gamers a better glimpse into just why Maxwell is collecting the Starites and what his ultimate goal is in attempting to save his sister from being turned into stone.

While there are some simple platforming aspects in Scribblenauts Unlimited it is, for the most part, a puzzler. What this generally involves is travelling around, meeting the game's characters and helping them solve their problems; to do this you'll have to create objects that can be used to help them out. Sometimes this is just a very simple item and at other times you'll need to use the adjective system to create more specific items. As you complete tasks for other characters, you'll earn the very Starites you seek; sometimes tasks are relatively simple, whereas others involve a bit more ingenuity and time to complete. And there's almost no limit to how creative you can be in the objects you create, another thing that gives this title its unique charm.

Play controls tend to be simple. The majority of your time will be spent on the bottom touchscreen of the 3DS, but there are points where you'll need to use the analogue stick and action buttons in order to progress. While certainly not as pinpoint and responsive as you'd normally see in a straight-up platformer, they are perfectly adequate and functional for the simple navigating you'll need to execute at certain points. The menus are very well organized and the game gives you plenty of pointers early on to help you come to grips with the many functions at your disposal.

It's certainly a shame that the object editor from the Wii U release isn't in this 3DS version, but the developers did toss in a few nice additions to help make up for it. StreetPass and SpotPass are both available and give you a chance to share your solutions to puzzles with other 3DS owners. It's quite fun to see some of the wild and unorthodox puzzle solutions that players come up with, which also offers good incentive for you to try and see if you can outdo them with an even more insane fix.

If you've played any of the previous Scribblenauts titles, you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect in Unlimited's presentation. The same vibrant, cartoon-like visuals are back and they look as good as ever. It's disappointing that the action couldn't come to life on the 3D top screen, but given the touchscreen requirements it's perfectly understandable. The series — on handhelds at least — hasn't changed too much from its DS beginnings, but there's definitely a sharper look afforded the game by the 3DS system's higher resolution. Sometimes if it's not broken, then there's no need to fix it and that certainly rings true with this 3DS Scribblenauts release.

What can be considered one of the game's real highlights is the amazing musical score you'll be treated to as you make your way through the many areas on Maxwell's journey. Tracks are not only widely varied, but also feature some absolutely phenomenal musical instrument blends and highly catchy tunes. There's also quite a bit of diversity in the tracks that do a fantastic job of reflecting the various locations they inhabit. Sound effects tend to be minimal, but this ends up being a good thing as they don't try to overpower the high quality musical presentation.

Conclusion

Scribblenauts Unlimited on 3DS might lack a few of the more interesting innovations of its Wii U counterpart, but that doesn't keep the experience from still being uniquely fun and captivating. While an object editor and multiplayer co-op would have been nice touches, there's still a lot of puzzle-solving enjoyment to be had. If you're even remotely a fan of the Scribblenaut series, you're going to want to add this charming title to your collection and if for some reason you've yet to take them for a spin yet, now might be a good time to do it. It's still one of the more original gaming experiences out there for those willing to try something a little different.

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User Comments (38)

edhe

#2

edhe said:

It seems almost pointless to buy this on the 3DS over the WiiU. Sure, the 3DS version will be cheaper and you have a puzzle editor, but I think the main draw of the game is the object editor.

Personally, I'm waiting for Scribblenauts Unlimited to hit the WiiU.

6ch6ris6

#3

6ch6ris6 said:

this will probably be my first scribblenauts game when it comes to europe

CanisWolfred

#4

CanisWolfred said:

Sounds fine and dandy. I'm not particularly creative, though. Might pick it up half-off some day, I know my bro would be interested.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#6

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Nice revw. I guess this is exactly the same game in terms of the levels, puzzles etc.? Huge fan of the series so I'll be getting the Wii U version (out in February in EU) I think.

NImH

#8

NImH said:

Not sure if I'll be able to NOT get this and the WiiU version. Dang those manipulative masterminds using WiiU-only Ninty-exclusives against me! I love me some portable Scribblenauts! Awesome review Corbs! :)

allav866

#9

allav866 said:

I'm still not sure if I'll be getting a Wii U just yet, so this seems like something I should definitely consider buying. I've been anxiously awaiting this review to help me make that decision.

TheInvisibleTor

#10

TheInvisibleTor said:

This game is so great, though i think it deserves a 9/10. And the added bonus pencil stylus and maxwell case are pretty cool if your'e willing to pay a few extra bucks.

XFsWorld

#11

XFsWorld said:

Imma get this game Sunday, I use to love Super Scribblenauts that was on DS. I'm 17 and still liking it.

DerpSandwich

#12

DerpSandwich said:

There's no object editor? I thought that was the whole point of the sequel in the first place! This just might be my pessimistic, cynical side talking, but it seems to me that instead of releasing the handheld game and then releasing the console port with extra features or a lower-than-average price point, they instead opted to release the console version at full price and then gut the handheld version to make the console one look like a better value. So count me out on this altogether. I'm not paying $30 for an unfinished game or $60 for an HD version of a $30 game.

efaulk84

#13

efaulk84 said:

Scribblenauts on 3DS falls with the same problem with Angry Birds Trilogy in that you are paying 10X as much for a decent game that you can get for 0.99 on the iphone app store.

Dodger

#14

Dodger said:

While not as good as the Wii U version, it was worth it to me to have this on a handheld. One of my favorite game series.

@efaulk Except that Scribblenauts Remix is a different game from Scribblenauts Unlimited. Super Mario Bros. is $5 but people still buy $40 Mario games. Angry Birds Trilogy is just a port.

sinalefa

#15

sinalefa said:

Surprisingly, I have never picked up any of these games, so I guess I will wait for a price drop on the Wii U version. Typing in a virtual keyboard makes more sense to me in the bigger Gamepad, and those exclusives look fun. Why settle for an average horse when I can have Epona herself?

Prof_Clayton

#16

Prof_Clayton said:

I have the 3DS version, and it's really fun. The only thing annoying me is the fact that there are hidden starite shards in the menu. You go to Shards, then Object Shards. This requires multiple clicks to travel through the menu and see what objective you must complete. Then you have to exit out of the menu to actually do it. This, as far as I know, is necessary to complete the game. Some of these tasks require 20 + clicks.
Other than that, I love it. Everything is creative, and fun. Although I'd reccomend the Wii U version, as the cluttered screens are easier to manage, and the object editor.

SirSmugleaf

#17

SirSmugleaf said:

I have the Wii U version and I'm loving it, but getting this as well will basically be double-dipping, so ill pass on this.

TheRegginator

#18

TheRegginator said:

In case anybody was wondering what version to get, I recommend the PC version. It's better than the Wii U version and more so the 3DS version. It supports Steam workshop, which means that user content can be created, far expanding the content of the game.

edhe

#21

edhe said:

@Strongo9

The Wii U version allows creation and sharing as well, surely?

I'd say the benefits for getting the Steam version are that you'll likely pay 50% less (£50 for WiiU - £20-£25 for steam, incl. deals) and that the community will probably be bigger on steam.

Sure, you'll be able to chat on Miiverse and type in "Mario" and "Link" on the Wii U version, but I don't know if I want to pay £25 for the privilege.

beat

#24

beat said:

im so pumped to buy this game. if only i have enough money. =_=

Dreadjaws

#25

Dreadjaws said:

I got the PC version the other day on sale on Amazon for U$S 7.40 or so, and I almost regret paying so little (almost ;) ). It's glorious, and the object creator is wonderful. I can't stop playing with my Darth Vader.

Shotgunryugan

#26

Shotgunryugan said:

Even though i am disappointed by the lack of editor and Nintendo characters(which pretty much makes this one the watered-down port),I am still buying it since i won't be wasting my money on a Wii U any time soon and the Laptop i am currently using won't run the PC version well at all,already confirmed that when i tried playing Street Fighter X Megaman >.>

elfluigi

#27

elfluigi said:

Best thing I made was a game boy looking handheld. (Changes the music when you use it!)

Sharingan029

#28

Sharingan029 said:

This is such an amazing game. I loved the first one and would play this one without question!

lanceorr

#34

lanceorr said:

Got this game and was disapointed. I could have the same experience with the, ds ones. Also, the bottom screen menus look blurry and make me feel like Im even more blind. If I had a WiiU, this might be a bargain bin buy, but....

DinoandAllen

#35

DinoandAllen said:

According to me, this game is the 2nd worst of the franchise.

This is unfortunely not a great as people say. I love scribblenauts, I hoped for a great experience. I didn't like it too much.

Gameplay 17/20

Same old, but with more customization.

Controls 19/20

They're great for some reason.

Music 13/20

I enjoy it, but it's nothing special

Graphics 1/5

Ok, but the 3D is non-existent (practically)

Presentation 3/20

It now has an over world. I think this is a stupid idea.

Lasting appeal 12/20

It's ok, but nothing special.

Total 65/100 6.5

It's ok, but nothing special.

+It's gameplay is still fun
+Rather big
-I didn't enjoy the over world
-3D wasn't noticeable

SeVok

#36

SeVok said:

After some weird delays such as Nintendo issuing a recall in the shops, it finally launched in Europe on 6 December 2013. Never played Scribblenauts and didn't knew what it's about, but after catching up, it does sound appealing.

SeVok

#37

SeVok said:

Based on This Wikipedia quote, the European version is different from the US one which launched a year earlier: "the Wii U version also has exclusive cameos from characters and items from the Super Mario and Legend of Zelda games, which later returned in the European release of both Wii U and 3DS versions." I wonder what else is different.

appel

#38

appel said:

I'm finally playing this game - the European version, after waiting for a year! I haven't played the American version or the Wii U version, but the Nintendo characters (Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Peach, Toad) are definitely in the European 3DS version of this game. I'm enjoying the game, but it's quite easy. Only other criticism is that the translation out of English to my language (Dutch) is sometimes a little weird, which causes a few unclear puzzles.

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