(Wii U)

Game Review

Scribblenauts Unlimited Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Scribble to your heart’s content

The Scribblenauts series has always been about pushing your imagination to its limits and solving puzzles in unique and often hilarious ways. With its various open worlds and the ability to seamlessly traverse between them, as well as the brand new object editor which lets you create almost anything and everything, Scribblenauts Unlimited feels like the first time that the dream of total control has been fully realized. Or, close to it, at least.

There is a plot behind the goings-on in Scribblenauts Unlimited that explains how Maxwell, the series’ protagonist, got his magic notebook, but it serves as nothing more than a thin device to set the action in motion. We quickly learn that Maxwell and his sister Lily have been harassing others with a new notebook that they received form their parents, and as punishment Lily is cursed to slowly turn to stone. Now it’s up to Maxwell to use his powers to create objects and help folks in need, all in order to restore Lily to her normal fleshy form.

As you progress and continue to help people with their mostly ridiculous requests, such as providing a meal for a cannibal or protecting a nerd from a rain of dodge balls, you will collect objects called starites. Gathering them is necessary for helping to heal Lily, but they also allow you to unlock new areas of the game; not only are starites necessary for completing the storyline, but they are also needed to completely expand the world and allow for full exploration. Though the main campaign can be completed in less than 10 hours, there are over 100 starites to be found, most of which are broken up into smaller shards, so avid collectors will definitely have their hands and schedules full.

Despite the relatively short campaign, there is still plenty to do to keep you busy. Beyond collecting every starite, there’s also the pure pleasure that comes from creating whatever you can imagine in the open world. Adding to the limitless creativity is the new object editor, which allows you to pretty much create whatever you want and use it in the game; it isn’t the most intuitively designed editing tool, but once you master it creating your own unique weapons, vehicles, and living creatures is an absolute blast. There’s also the option to share your original creations online between players, or you can be lazy and just harvest what others have already generated.

Utilizing a combination of the Wii U GamePad’s touchscreen and physical control options, this game is a perfect fit for the home console. Having the GamePad in hand and using the touchscreen to summon objects makes the whole experience seem even more immersive, as though you actually have Maxwell’s magic notebook with you. Controlling Maxwell can be done using either the GamePad’s conventional controls or the touchscreen, and both options feel natural and accurate.

In an attempt to further extend the life of this title, there is the inclusion of multiplayer. Rather than allowing others to join in as characters with magic notebooks of their own, additional players instead use Wii Remotes to take control of objects that the first player has already created. It can be exciting to take control of a giant purple T-Rex who can fly through the sky, but there’s really only so much flying you can do before it gets stale. The multiplayer, while genius in idea, is dishearteningly limited and lacklustre in execution.

As with previous entries in the series, Scribblenauts Unlimited has a cartoony art style and a light-hearted, upbeat soundtrack to match it. While the characters and environments may not be the most detailed, the style perfectly fits the tone of the game; by using a simplistic style of art, it emits a youthful sense of fun and immediately lets you know that its tongue-in-cheek manner shouldn’t be taken too seriously. This experience truly produces a charm that is both endearing and rare to find in modern gaming.

Conclusion

If you’re a fan of previous entries in the Scribblenauts series, then you’re going to love Scribblenauts Unlimited. If you’ve never played one before, then now is absolutely the time to start. The campaign could be considered to be on the short side, and the multiplayer gameplay leaves much to be desired, but, as always, Scribblenauts is about the pure joy of extending your imagination. This is the kind of game that looks great, controls well, and provides a whole heck of a lot of family-friendly fun.

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User Comments (39)

Sjoerd

#3

Sjoerd said:

That's higher than I expected. Good read though! Did you have any trouble with completing these tasks in a creative way? I heard the game doesn't really accept more creative solutions

Wonder_Ideal

#5

Wonder_Ideal said:

I am getting this for Christmas. My wacky bros. and I are going to have a blast with this!

Razalom

#7

Razalom said:

Getting this one for my kids and they are sure excited about it! only 15hrs 15min till midnight in AU and the Wii U :)

Klinny

#8

Klinny said:

Thank you for this review!

If anyone has been playing the Wii U or PC version, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the Object Creator? I would prefer to get the 3DS version, but I was wondering if you felt that the lack of Object Creator would subtract significantly from the game?

I've played the previous installments, and I'm worried that without the Object Creator, there won't really be enough new gameplay options to warrant purchasing another incarnation.

Ron_DelVillanoStaff

#9

Ron_DelVillano said:

@TheItalianBaptist From what I noticed, they don't really do too much besides just hang out and act like other NPCs. To be completely honest, I didn't play around with them for too long, but I did put Link on Epona and let them ride around for a bit.

Hoerig

#12

Hoerig said:

Sweet but im getting the 3ds version as a loyal fan to its two predecessors. plus Im holding out on the Wii U.

WesCash

#15

WesCash said:

Good review, though I prefer portable Scribblenauts.
If I think of a random ridiculous idea, it's a lot easier to just pull out my 3DS and go to work than it is to power up a console.

Knuckles

#16

Knuckles said:

There is a typo in the second paragraph

".... with the notebook they received form their parents...."
That form should be a from.

SirSmugleaf

#17

SirSmugleaf said:

I'll definitely pick this us when I get my Wii U! I loved the previous versions, and I'm looking forward to jump in again!

Lunapplebloom

#21

Lunapplebloom said:

Have this one, though I haven't gotten around to doing much of it. I'll need to get to this eventually, and looks like I made a good investment. Pretty solid review.

erv

#22

erv said:

I played the original and liked it, but not as much to make me want to buy it for wiiU. I am in europe though, so by the time it's released here, I might've become interested.

Huiee123

#23

Huiee123 said:

Just to say. Today is Thursday and my Wii u is arriving today with Amazon. LOL

chiptoon

#25

chiptoon said:

Really hope there's a demo at some point. I'm interested, but not enough to just right in and buy it. Tomorrow is expensive enough as it is.

Samholy

#28

Samholy said:

liked the series,but found the french version broken at best. since im mainly french, doing the english version limits me from going deeper into it without a dictionnary or wikipedia :-/ kinda screw the portability of the thing.

whatever. i dotn have budget for a new console yet, and when ill do. Well you know...the PS4 will be there.

Ron_DelVillanoStaff

#29

Ron_DelVillano said:

@Void Good lord. To be honest, I forgot about this/was hoping you guys would forget too.

Looks like I know what I'll be having for lunch today...

Shotgunryugan

#31

Shotgunryugan said:

@erv Oh believe me,Scribblenauts has become a lot more fun since the first game,now with better controls adjectives,a backpack to make it easier to get your favorite items and object editor(which you can also create your own avatar).

Speaking of which,yesterday i saw an 8 hour stream of the pc version,you can make a lot of non "E" rated stuff,if you are creative ;)

While i don't have the Wii U(so i won't buy this version),i will be buying the much,much,much,much inferior 3DS version(mainly because i don't have a computer of my own sadly,so no object editor for me :( ).

The game is a bit on the easy side,but who plays scribblenauts for the levels anyway? XD

I found the story a bit stupid though,Maxwell could have easily saved Lily with his notebook >.>

Although i have to say,their parents are like rabbits,very sexually active,someone needs to write "condom" or something lol.

Oh and sadly typing "naked" no longer makes your character naked,it just gives you a censor for your body,though "Liquid Butt" is still a word apparently and so is "Chastity Belt" not sure if that is "Family-Friendly",considering what it is >.>

As for the Nintendo characters,at first i was excited to see them,but you can't really experiment with them,so no fun >.>

The pc version is definitely the way to go,besides if you want Nintendo characters you can easily make them in the object editor,it's really cheap compared to the rest + typing in the keyboard is always better than clicking on a screen.

TeeJay

#32

TeeJay said:

I looked for a review of the 3DS version way back when it launched, but I could not find any. Did you guys not get a review copy? :(

Haxonberik

#35

Haxonberik said:

Great review! Finally someone spoke about the multiplayer and ignored the rather trivial use of the Nintenso characters. While I wasnt expecting much from the multiplayer, can the other player use action commands? I mean, if they control a bomb, can they explode themselves?

manic221

#37

manic221 said:

Like I said in the Nintendo Land review I sadly have to wait till January to get my Wii U however Scribblenauts Unlimited did not make the UK launch but I do hope it is launched by January so I can by this with my shiny premium console xD

Kolzig

#39

Kolzig said:

I was really close to getting this today for 29.95€, but the whole stock was sold out. People were quick to get it from one shop's shelves in Finland.

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