From: 5th Cell, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: Nintendo DS
The premise of this game is quite simple and basic. There are short individual levels, each with a puzzle that needs various objects, switches, buttons, tunnels, and other things of the sort to be used in order to solve said puzzle. Every puzzle has several ways it can be solved, as well; at least 4 unique combinations for each puzzle, in fact.
This is where the fun kicks in: to solve these puzzles, you can call up just about anything you can think of, out of thin air. You simply tap on the notepad, and write the name of an object. It can be virtually anything; there are tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of variations (a list was leaked of about 28,000, but 5th Cell said that’s a very short list); as long as it’s not a vulgarity, a proper noun, or a licensed product, you can will it into existence.
For example, an early puzzle has the “Starite,” the item you’re always trying to get, either by completing a task or by getting to it, depending on which puzzle style you’re in, up in a tunnel on a platform, blocked by a metal box. You can get up to the platform using a ladder, or a trampoline, or rocket boots, or a jet pack, or a pogo stick, or by jumping on a Kangaroo’s back and having it jump up there, etc, etc. Then you need to move the metal box. A magnet, a small explosive, a lever, a rope, there are plenty of ways to do it big and small. Once that’s out of the way, you can use a lasso to pull the star in, or attach a sheet of metal to it with some glue and use the magnet you already have, or just about anything else you can think of. This game is 100% about imagination, and that’s what makes it so much fun.
As for variety, there are the aforementioned at least 4 ways to solve every puzzle, there are 22 missions per world, 10 worlds. On top of that, you can create your own levels and trade them via wifi. The possibilities are thus endless. Even the Start Menu is fun; there, you can explore areas and pull up anything you want, just trying words and seeing if they’re in the extensive dictionary. Hint: Try mythological creatures; you haven’t lived until you’ve been attacked by Cthulu, then summoned a superhero to knock him out.
This game proves many things; the DS has not yet been fully explored, after years on the market, a simple idea (with an admittedly complicated background of the huge vocabulary list) can absolutely provide a lot of fun, and imagination still rules, even in the age of video games. Scribblenauts is a perfect game for a commute, for a brief break, or for a three hour gaming experience.