Scribblenauts Unlimited

Review

posted 1/11/2013 by Travis Huinker
other articles by Travis Huinker
Platforms: PC
Scribblenauts Unlimited from developer 5th Cell is the latest installment in the popular handheld series that is now expanding to consoles and computers with more features and most importantly, expanded use of one’s imagination and creative spirit. In what could be described as one of the more charming games in recent time, Scribblenauts Unlimited tasks players with solving a variety of challenges and puzzles using nouns and adjectives. Armed with words and one's imagination, players have the ability to create both simple and complex objects by simply typing in single words and combinations of phrases.

The game’s narrative isn’t an overly complex affair that simply provides a backdrop to the many challenges and puzzles that are strewn through the massive open world that awaits players. Armed with a magic notebook, players begin their journey as protagonist Maxwell who must collect Starites to save his sister Lily who is gradually turning to stone from an evil curse. The game’s world is comprised of various levels ranging from traditional themes such as cities and subways to fantasy locales with inhabitants such as dinosaurs. Each level contains characters that require the assistance of Maxwell and his magic notebook in return for providing Starites.


The variety of challenges and puzzles range from simple requests such as spawning a boat for a sailor to the more complex like fighting an onslaught of zombies using a giant robot with missiles. The addictive nature behind the game’s puzzles is the freedom which can be used when discovering solutions. A situation in which a fire needs to be extinguished can be solved by simply creating a firefighter or the more extreme solution of spawning a tidal wave. Unfortunately, every solution ends with the same outcome as the game lacks any sort of scoring system. There is no incentive for creating complex or unique solutions to a puzzle as each ends with the same result.

Those players that aren’t satisfied with the near endless amount of included objects can use the object editor that allows for complete creation of any item or character that can be imagined. The object editor supports Steam Workshop integration in which players can share their own creations and download others that have been created; user-submitted creations vary from popular video game heroes to more obscure and wild monstrosities. Players then have the ability to use their own created objects or those of others in the game world.


The game’s transition from handhelds and consoles to the PC works well with full keyboard and mouse support in addition to a finely-detailed and high-definition visual experience. The control and movement of Maxwell and the process of spawning objects and using them in the game world performs without any flaws on the PC version. With support for Steam achievements and cloud saving, the only unfortunate missing feature from the game is any inclusion of multiplayer support for cooperative playthrough of levels.

The enjoyment of Scribblenauts Unlimited can be a factor completely dependent upon if players wish to inject their own imagination into finding solutions as many of the games puzzles aren’t overly difficult. While the game does offer a great deal of freedom to players with the ability to use nearly any imaginable noun or adjective, most puzzles only require the bare minimum for completion without offering incentive for anything overly complex. Still, the addictive nature of exploring the game’s world and discovering its many charming characters is difficult to ignore against a backdrop of the same repeated genre releases and sequels. Scribblenauts Unlimited truly allows players to use the power of their imagination and creative spirit to alter the game world as they wish, which should be praised above all else.

Scribblenauts Unlimited is available now for Windows PC, in addition to Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
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