by Ryan D Lowe
reviewed on NDS
There I was in an empty classroom where the children running about had let out the pet hamsters. It seemed I was tasked with returning them to their cages. No problem, I thought. While any sane person in this situation would grab them up and place them in their homes, I thought it just made more sense to summon a vacuum. Problem solved, and no hamster droppings on my hands. Double win!
Now this type of crazy scenario may seem strange, and far-fetched, but within the world of Super Scribblenauts it is just another creative puzzle solution. Through the endless depths of the player’s imagination anything can be conjured up and be used to solve whatever task may lie in front of you.
Mighty Imagination Conjuring
The pen is mightier than the sword they say, and in Super Scribblenauts nothing could be closer to the truth. You have the ability to create any object that comes to your mind, and I literally mean anything. With an enormous database of words crammed into the game I had a hard time typing something in that wouldn’t show up in some form or another. Although you can’t type in “Batman” and expect to see the caped crusader, (any copyrighted words or trademarks won’t register) the game does a pretty good job about getting close enough to what you are after. So instead of Batman, a super hero in a black cape would suffice just the same.
Super Scribblenauts is composed of over a hundred puzzles that require the player to solve its many challenges in some creative way. Tasks range from simply giving Santa his bag of toys, to more elaborate “Adjective Puzzles” that challenge players with queries like “What does a squid, a cow, and an ostrich have in common”? These types of puzzles are new to the Scribblenauts franchise and breathe some fresh air into the otherwise stale “Give player A, item B” template.
Adjectives play a major part in the overall strategy and construction of each new stage. Why just summon the Kraken, when you can summon the “Invincible Invisible Flying Robot Zombie Kraken”? Mark my words the game will create it too. It is this new addition that opens the game up, and really adds that extra ‘oomph’ to the replay value.
My favorite types of puzzles are the ones that allow you to combine many objects and ideas together to solve the overall goal. One puzzle in particular had me create many objects and items to infiltrate a high society party, overcome the security, and steal secret documents. Puzzles of this type of integrated and level of intricacy are fairly rare but that only serves to make it feel that much sweeter when you solve them.
With these new additions, the game has understandably gotten more difficult, and asks more of the player in terms of challenges. To compensate for this a hint system has been implemented that works very much like the Professor Layton series. If you are feeling stuck you can purchase various hints with the in-game currency known as Ollars. This is a great addition and warmly invites any skill level of gamer into its puzzling worlds.
If you had some issues in Scribblenauts when trying to select an item, only to have your character go running off helter-skelter into a pool of molten lava, then you’ll be happy to learn that this has been fixed in the sequel. Along with new puzzle mechanics the game’s controls received a much needed facelift. Everything handles silky smooth and players can even choose between different control schemes.
Rare sequel, that shines brighter than the first.
Um. No co-op play?