Thursday, 30 January 2014

Scribblenauts Unlimited [3DS]

Two years before the first Scribblenauts game ever saw the light of day, 5th Cell, developer of the series, created Drawn to Life, a gem of a game that allowed the player to draw and use their own character, weapons and items. It was quite different for its time, and released prior to the iPad and the legion of fingerprinting artists that followed. Drawn to Life gave us gamers a completely unique experience. However, Scribblenauts took the idea and ran with, and allowed the player to create almost anything, simply from typing it into the game. 

While Scribblenauts was a step forward in terms of creation, it did take a step back when it came to story. Compared to Drawn to Life's extensive, almost RPG-like story, Scribblenauts' was wafer thin. It was serviceable, but at times non-existent. Scribblenauts Unlimited is the best of both worlds, and combines a neat story as well a fantastic items creation option. Awesome!


The story here isn't War and Peace (thankfully!), but it is quite enjoyable, and gives the series more texture and atmosphere to explore. Scribblenauts Unlimited finally gives the player an explanation as to why Maxwell- our lovable little protagonist- is collecting Starites. After his parents give him a book that can create objects by simply writing in it, Maxwell begins to abuse this power. He pranks an old hungry man into eating a spoiled apple. After seeing the delight on Maxwell's face, the old man puts a curse on his sister Lily. As Lily slowly turns to stone, Maxwell must collect Starites to break the curse, and they can only be collected by helping other people. It's a very childlike story of redemption, but ends up being surprisingly effective.


Gameplay is effectively the same compared to previous Scribblenauts titles, but the fun comes from how expanded the story is now. For instance, as opposed to linear and simple levels, Scribblenauts Unlimited takes place in a larger, more open-world. Characters populate this large world and it's up to the player to help them in order to receive Starites. Helping characters comes in many different forms, but purely focuses on Scribblenauts Unlimited's item creation aspect. Using Maxwell's notepad the player can just about spawn any kind of item. The amount on offer here is absolutely staggering, from a simple fire-hose or dog, to something more elaborate like a time machine or Chimera. 

But Scribblenauts Unlimited also allows the player to combine various items together and attach them to certain things. So while it's all fun, say, adding wheels to a dog and riding it around, you'll find yourself creating all kind of combinations to solve the various problems across the world. While some may assume that it doesn't add that much to the Scribblenauts formula, the new additions make for incredibly fun and varied gameplay, and without a doubt one of the freshest gaming experiences in the last year.


However, do keep in the mind that with different versions of Scribblenauts Unlimited, there are alterations in its features. Confused about which platform to buy it on? Let me put your mind at ease.

Nintendo 3DS: Sadly, the 3DS version of the game does not feature the object editor, mainly due to the limited power of the device. It does however utilise SteetPass and SpotPass, an awesome feature unique to the handheld.

Nintendo Wii U: With revamped and High Definition graphics, multi-player mode and the ability to share custom made objects with friends, the Wii U version is a different beast compared to it's handheld counterpart. This version also lets the player spawn various Nintendo-related characters such as Link and Mario.

PC: Much like the Wii U, the PC version features crisp High Definition visuals, and also lets player share custom objects via the Steam Workshop.

What version you choose is up to you, but we found Scribblenauts Unlimited to be an exceptional handheld title, a game that will put the power of creation in your pocket. That said, the Wii U Gamepad is a perfect extension to the game, and makes spawning or creating items is a breeze. 

Overall Scribblenauts Unlimited is the best of the series, and finally introduces a story that, while simple and basic, begins to build upon the world that we've been playing in since 2009. Regardless of what version you choose or what age you are, Scribblenauts Unlimited is an extremely worthwhile, charming and downright fun adventure to take part in. You might be surprised with how creative you can get!

Scribblenauts Unlimited gets creative and colours outside the lines with a 9/10.

Denis Murphy


Scribblenauts Unlimited at CeX



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