Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure has not one, but two versions of the obscure superhero The Red Bee. If that’s not enough for a perfect score come review time, it is at least a barometer of just how deep the roster is in this game.
For those unfamiliar with the Scribblenauts franchise, the games put you in control of Maxwell and his twin sister Lily, who have the ability to call objects, people, animals, vehicles, and just about anything else you can think of, out of thin air. Using your magical pen (see: 3DS stylus, Wii U gamepad or PC mouse), you input the name of a type of person (firefighter, angel) or a thing (jumping polka dot lawn chair – yeah, you can use adjectives, too), and it shows up on your screen. In each area you travel to, you have to come up with the right objects to solve a puzzle.
Unmasked takes that basic concept and transports it into the DC Universe, giving you over 2300 unique characters and objects from DC Comics history in addition to the tens of thousands already available in the extended Scribblenauts dictionary.
That’s two thousand three hundred chances to show you’re more knowledgeable in your obscure DC trivia than your friend.
The game takes Maxwell and Lily into the DC Universe after the two have an argument in their own world over who is better, Batman or Superman. They travel to the DCU to find out, but their presence there creates havoc across the world. In settings like Gotham City, Metropolis, Oa, and as WBIE revealed to us for the first time during our demo, Atlantis, players will guide Maxwell, Lily, and the heroes and villains of the DC Universe in missions, do short side-missions, or just go nuts with the Bat-Computer – this world’s Scribblenauts dictionary.
The Bat-Computer is an incredible resource, as it includes not just a comprehensive list of those two thousand characters and objects, but also a “wiki” of sorts, with basic information about each and links to associated characters and things. It will be very easy to lose a lot of time just falling into link oblivion as you discover old connections of long-forgotten heroes and continue to try to outdo the game by guessing some that didn’t make it in. I can honestly say there are not a lot – from Aztec to every member of the Justice League Dark, from three versions of Donna Troy to about 45 different speedsters (including multiple Wally Wests). There’s Flashpoint Martha Wayne Joker, Damian Wayne Robin, and about 10 different blue lanterns, red lanterns, and on and on. You can summon characters one at a time, or add on plurals or team names to get a bunch at once.
And of course, if you summon a villain like The Joker and a hero like Batman back-to-back, they’ll start duking it out.
Each world area has its full story missions, but also has “heroic feats,” the aforementioned sidequests. These are usually simple retrieval missions where you have to find an object in the area, or a quick battle or two. The nice thing is, they’re completely randomly generated. If you enter Gotham City repeatedly, you will have different heroic feats every time.
In addition to calling in the characters, players can don costumes to give Maxwell and Lily their powers directly. It’s the basic heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, but also more obscure ones like Animal Man. You can also create your own hero or edit one from the starting point of an existing character. We made a Blue Lantern Brother Warth with cyborg arms and a blue bagpipe and kilt who shot streams of water in addition to his blue energy, just because we could, for example. When you’ve created or edited a character, you can upload them to the community servers and friends can take them on their own adventures, too.
We didn’t get too into the actual missions of Scribblenauts Unmasked, aside from hearing about the “Psyche” missions, where Maxwell and Lily go into the minds of heroes to help them repair their worlds from inside their characters. The rest of the demo’s allotted time, we just sat and played with the Bat Computer, made random characters fight, and marveled at the depth of the roster. The representatives from Warner Bros Interactive on hand joked that they’d seen another player do things that way during a demo the day before – that player was eight years old.
So, whether you’re young or young at heart, a New 52 fan or someone longing to see lost characters again, a Batman fanatic or card-carrying Zauriel lover, there is undoubtedly something for you in Scribblenauts Unmasked. Oh, and just as a free hint, don’t forget to put in “Geoff Johns” and “Jim Lee” into the Bat-Computer (and yes, you can customize them, too).
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure hits Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PC on September 24, 2013.