There have been two Nintendo DS Scribblenauts games so far, and a mobile phone version, and all three together have sold more than two million copies worldwide. For a brand new Intellectual Property from a relatively new developer, 5TH Cell -- the same team behind Lock’s Quest and Drawn to Life -- this is a phenomenal result and although most may attribute this to the publishing power of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, if the game did not have fantastic word of mouth due to its unique idea and great execution, then it would have been dead in the water shortly after release. Whilst the first DS game had control flaws, the sequel improved upon the formula considerably and the upcoming PC, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions look set to be what the team initially envisaged thanks to the reduced hardware constraints and continued user feedback. Although only a limited demo was on show at the post-E3 event in London, UK, Cubed3 still had a good chance to see how it is shaping up on Wii U.
Being described as an “emergent action puzzle video game,” Scribblenauts Unlimited sees protagonist Maxwell returning to the fold for the fourth time, attempting to collect Starites from around the world by using user-created objects to solve the numerous problems faced on his journey. Using an updated version of its Objectnaut engine, the team is hoping to offer gamers the opportunity to pour their full imagination into the adventure, even going as far as drawing ideas on the Wii U’s GamePad (presumably this will be possible on 3DS as well, but it has not been confirmed to Cubed3 at the time of writing).
In this iteration, there is a large world for Maxwell to explore, with players taking the character across 41 themed sections and areas, accepting the requests of characters met along the way, normally with some sort of knock-on effect that then needs to be resolved. Basically there is a cavalcade of puzzle shenanigans going on at any one time and completing the objectives in order to grab vital Starites is nowhere near as simple as before. In fact, there are times, as in the demo at hand, where Maxwell is placed within the confines of a small location with numerous people or animals milling around, all in need of some assistance. This is where the player’s imagination comes into play. What do you give to a lumberjack desperate to cut down a tree in order to make money, and yet appease the tree-hugger nearby that desperately wants to protect nature? An axe or chainsaw kept one person happy, but upset another, yet handing the first guy a wad of cash just did not work. Careful thought had to go into rectifying the situation. How can you help a chef with a dodgy nose find truffles? Sniffer dog? Pig? Use a vacuum to suck them out? There are all sorts of intriguing circumstances in Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Worth waiting for?
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Although the demo was very limited, and mainly controlled by the Nintendo representative at the show, Scribblenauts Unlimited is already looking just as impressive as its predecessors. The new features promised are looking set to make this the ultimate experience, and finally realising the full potential of the initial concept the development team had. With this exclusive to Wii U on the home console scene, Nintendo has a trump card at its disposal if it indeed arrives within the launch window.
I honestly can't wait for this. The best part for me is making objects and the increased use of adjectives. Yes, I know adjectives were used in the 2nd game, but you can change everything in this one, including Maxwell. Can't wait to make myself some really insane items.
I wonder if the 3DS version will interact with the Wii U version and whether you can make your own items in the 3DS version too. Should be interesting to see what both versions have to offer. I'll probably buy both eventually.. xD
What can I say? I was a HUGE fan of the first two Scribblenauts games.