Scribblenauts is the game of my dreams. I mean that literally… it’s the type of game that an 8-year-old version of myself would have dreamt about, without believing that such a game could be possible, and yet here it is on my Nintendo DS.
The concept is simple, yet profound; you are an odd-looking boy with a rooster hat named Maxwell, and there are a series of minor tasks for you to complete. The reward for solving these tasks is a starite. However, instead of taking the usual video game route where you have very few items to work with and must rely on your skill, in this game, you can summon into existence ANY OBJECT YOU CAN THINK OF to help you on your way. (There are restrictions to the “anything you can think of” rule, like not including vulgar terms, shapes, Latin names, or copyrighted things, but those restrictions do make a lot of sense, and don’t ruin the overall game.)
For example; on the far side of a lake, there is a flower that you have to pick, but between you and the flower is an angry bee that won’t let you go past it. How do you get rid of it? That is entirely up to you. Flyswatter? Sure, it works. Bug spray? That works too. Boomerang? Yep. Sword? Absolutely. Venus’ flytrap? Um… actually, I’m not sure about that one, let me check…
*a few seconds later*
OK, Venus flytrap doesn’t actually try to eat the bee. However, dropping the plant on the bee’s head seems to kill it. This illustrates one of the downsides about Scribblenauts. Just because you can summon nearly anything doesn’t mean that it will always act the way you may expect. An ostrich will not bury its head in sand. Playing the flute will not make rats follow you. A ceiling fan will not automatically attach to most ceilings.
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I intend to do a review of Scribblenauts later this week, but before that, I’m going to give some lists of notable items you can create in Scribblenauts. Of course, not all of these items are notable for being useful, but they’re all worth mentioning.
Unexpectedly Useful Items:
- RAMP: In Scribblenauts, there are these annoying buttons that are on the side of a wall. The level can only be passed if the button is continually held down. Ramp solves that problem… just roll a ball down the ramp, it will press the button and stay there.
- AIR VENT: Blow things in any direction you want. Useful for avoiding certain enemies or blowing a starite towards you. Similar objects: LARGE AIR VENT, FAN
- BLACK HOLE: At first I expected that a black hole would destroy absolutely everything, making it useless, but instead, a black hole only works in a localized area, which can be very good for clearing out enemies. As an extra bonus, if you create a LHC – which stands for “large Hadron Collider”, the world’s largest particle accelerator – and interact with it, it creates a black hole. Synonyms: NOTHING, ANYTHING
- HAIR DRYER: This is really quite useful, but not for the obvious reason of being able to blow air (it’s actually not particularly good at that at all). No, hair dryer’s are great because they kill sea creatures. You know how you’re not supposed to drop a hair dryer in the bathtub because it will electrocute you? It works in Scribblenauts… you can get rid of sharks, pirahna, and barracudas quite easily this way. TOASTER also works for this, and as a bonus, if you use a toaster, you can kill sharks and get a loaf of bread at the same time! Other similar objects: BLENDER, WAFFLEMAKER
- WINGS: I went into this game fully expecting that I would make a lot of use out of the JETPACK. It is indeed useful, but I hadn’t considered that there are situations (such as falling into water) when a jetpack will break down. Giving your character wings to fly takes away that problem. Of course, if you don’t need to fly into a small space, it’s a lot cooler to ride a PTERODACTYL, SPACE SHUTTLE, or PEGASUS.
- ICEBERG: If you need a flat surface to reliably float on in an open expanse of water, I’ve found none better than putting in an iceberg.
- CHERRY PICKER: Got a place that’s too high to jump to, but you don’t feel like flying? This may be just the thing for you. It’s a little difficult to use sometimes, though, so you may want to try other things that will lift you, like ESCALATOR or ELEVATOR.
- FISHING ROD: Are you close to the starite, but can’t quite reach? Do you need to get a small object from far away? Fishing rod may just be your best friend. It’s quite useful for much more than just fish.
- CARROT: If an enemy is standing on the edge of a precipice, the easiest way to get him out of your way isn’t to shoot him… it’s luring him with food. I chose “carrot” to represent this, but really, most foods will work just fine.
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I’m devouring Scribblenauts at the moment, and while I intend to do a video game review of it later, my short review is that I definitely like it.