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Super Scribblenauts Hands On Preview

Scribblenauts is back... yay?

As many of you know, I had the pleasure of reviewing Scribblenauts shortly after I started PixlBit for Nintendo World Report. I gave the game a 7/10 there, and I felt that I was being generous. I rewarded the game mostly for its innovative concept, but the implementation of their design was clearly lacking. Super Scribblenauts is supposed to be the answer to everyone's issues with the original game, but after my hands-on time, aside from a new control scheme, Super Scribblenauts appears to be no better than the first.

The very first stage of the game really drove the point home for me. I know that it's unfair to judge a book by its cover, but being that the game's demo started like it did, it's clear what we're in for.

Players again control Maxwell, but this time two different control schemes are available. The first touch-based one is still available, but clearly improved from the original. The second involves usage of the buttons, and was clearly made available to satisfy complaints about the abysmal control of the first title.

In the first stage, Maxwell is shown in line waiting to grab his copy of Super Scribblenauts. Unfortunately, there is only one copy available and he's last in line. Players must make their way to the front of the line by conjuring up items. When I started trying to solve the puzzle, my initial thought: kill everyone. So I got a gun and blew away the first guy, which immediately caused me to fail the quest. Now, my instruction was quite simple, "Get to the front of the line." It didn't say, "Get to the front of the line. Don't kill anyone," which incidentally is specified in another challenge.

My next thought, bribe everyone in line. So, I conjured up some cash, handed it off, went to take my place, and subsequently failed for cutting in like. OK... I didn't recall the instructions saying "Get to the front of the line without killing anyone, or cutting, or bribing people." Whatever, I'll try again. Now I figure, well lets bust out a rocket pack. It's kind of like cutting except I'll fly over everyone and no one will see me. No dice.

As I started to lose my patience, a fellow journalist pointed out to me that I was doing it wrong. I needed to give a specific item to each different person in line to get them to leave. This raises the question, why not just say "Each person in line wants something more than Scribblenauts 2, give them exactly what they want so they GTFO of your way."?

So, after all of that mess, I wound up handing off a machette to a Native American, a paint brush to a painter, and ... well, you get the point. Now you might think that I was just solving the puzzle wrong, and I have no reason to complain, but I beg the question, why have a giant dictionary of words and tout that there are so many answers to puzzles when there is only a very small array of answers all of which are generally the same?

Super Scribblenauts is clearly no more than an expansion pack to the first game, with some better controls. Given the fact that the allure of the title has worn off, I suspect that Super Scribblenauts will likely fair worse with me than the original.



Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

06/16/2010 at 10:36 AM

I'm gonna play this today. I don't know if I'll have more to say than Nick did. We'll find out.

Matt R Senior Editor

06/16/2010 at 11:48 AM

And another promising franchise dies on the table. :(

Jason Ross Senior Editor

06/16/2010 at 03:37 PM

I saw it on the floor, but still haven't played it. Regardless, it did look exactly the same as the first game, with little differences in item control. A little bubble would appear over people's heads to tell you what they were sometimes, but I'm not sure if it was a result of a player's actions or something like that.

Kathrine Theidy Feature Writer

06/17/2010 at 07:00 PM

Tsk tsk, lack of direction. What is this, an NES game? It's a shame, because it seems like this concept has so much potential.

Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

06/20/2010 at 12:26 PM

I wasn't even interested in the first title and it looks like I'm even less interested in the sequel.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

06/22/2010 at 02:04 PM

I think the important part to take away from this, looking now, is what Nick says at the very end. Yeah, you can do a little more to vary up your words, but variety of summons wasn't Scribblenauts's problem. I didn't end up playing the game, I watched some other people struggling through the line stage Nick mentioned and decided it wasn't worth my time, because it was the exact same game as before, but with better control.

Unless you actually loved the first Scribblenauts game, and not just the concept and the hype, skip this one. Really. It's the same thing.

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