Super Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS) Review

By Stuart Lawrence 04.03.2011 6

Review for Super Scribblenauts on Nintendo DS

Imagination. Some people have a lot of it, some have hardly any, but everybody has it if you dig a little. Scribblenauts on Nintendo DS was a game that tried to get people to use their imaginations to solve puzzles using nouns from the dictionary, and it succeeded, albeit with some slightly off controls. Now its sequel Super Scribblenauts is here to fix that problem, and get people’s imaginations working again, with adjectives added to the vocabulary-vexing mix.

The first thing to do is to choose how you control Maxwell; this was an issue in the first game since the stylus controls weren’t too accurate, leading to Maxwell bouncing around all over the place. Now, however, you have the option the use the D-pad to move Maxwell around the levels (or the face buttons if you’re a lefty), improving things hugely.

The start screen puts you in control of Maxwell in a playground, the design of which can be changed as you progress through the single player. You can also try out different words from the get go. Naughty words are still left out to ensure widespread suitability, but it’s all fun when you summon a giant Cthulhu to fight against ‘God’. The game, like the first, has tens of thousands of nouns to choose from, but this time, you can add adjectives to them to make things more interesting. If you want a big furry white house, or a polka-dotted bathtub with wings, you can have it, although some adjectives are limited to certain nouns.

Of course, all of these words would be pointless if there wasn’t something to use them on, and that’s where the story mode comes in. The objective of the game is for our hero, Maxwell to solve various problems and puzzles using words from the dictionary, so he can grab ‘Starites’ to make constellations for Maxwell to look at in the night sky. There are over 120 different levels across 12 different constellations for you to play, all with varying difficulty.

The difficulty is measured by a pencil metre, where one pencil means the puzzle should be easy, five pencils means it’s utterly difficult. There are a range of different types of levels: normal puzzle levels, where you have to come up with a word to help our hero grab a Starite; challenge levels which can contain multiple objectives for Maxwell to complete; and adjective levels where you have to make an object with certain characteristics appear to satisfy the puzzle’s demands. Adjective levels are great brainteasers that can be great fun and frustrating at the same time. One adjective level gives you three different types of dinosaurs above Maxwell in boxes, and you have to give different cavemen the same characteristics as the dinosaurs in corresponding boxes below.

With each level, you also have the opportunity to earn Ollars, which is the currency of Maxwell’s world. You earn Ollars by completing levels and objectives, making new items with new and unique words - the more unique your word is, the more Ollars you gain. You can spend Ollars on unlocking hints for the level that you are on, the more time you spend before needing a hint the less it costs. Another use for Ollars is to buy new avatars to play as, so if you’ve grown tired of Maxwell’s face, you can become a villain, or a vampire, or any type of person the game contains.

Merits - which also grant Ollars - are earned by completing challenges. This works like a sort of achievement system, so if you complete a hard challenge, or come up with a object that uses a lot of imagination, you’ll gain a merit. Each level has a bar to fill up, if you fill all the bar up you’ll earn the maximum amount of Ollars and maybe even a merit for that level. Each level also has a progress meter telling you how many objectives you are away from getting that precious Starite.

Along with the story mode comes a level editor, which adds much playtime to Super Scribblenauts. You can create your own levels on the bases of 16 different level types using nine different templates as your background. The level types are based on what you’ve played in the single player, and you can do almost anything to create a level to your liking. The level creator is very expansive; you can choose enemy and item placements, Maxwell’s starting position, backgrounds, tiles - even hints can be integrated into your level, letting you choose how much you want the person playing your level to work out. The difficulty level is your choice as well, with the higher difficulties making enemies tougher to defeat. Levels can be saved in one of eight save slots, and you can also download from friends’ systems via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Local wireless allows you to swap levels, too.

Visually, the game hasn’t changed from the first - it’s still full of simple, colourful, cartoony levels which do not hint at the puzzles’ difficulty, especially for latter levels. The game is full of content, with many ways to complete almost every level, and the adjectives - and the new possibilities that they bring - add to the fun.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

A very good game with loads of content to it. It can last you ages if you’re the imaginative type who likes to play around with words and, quite simply, play god, and that imagination will be stretched by the game’s demands for unique items. Super Scribblenauts is a sure bet if you’re after a different sort of puzzle game.



Warner Bros


2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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I liked what I played of the first one. Good to know they somewhat improved what was wrong in the gameplay of the original. Using the "Glue" in the first one was a pain in the rear, from what I remember.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I still think scribblenaughts is a revolutionary franchise, giving so much more freedom and "inteligence" to the games objects then 99.99% of other games.

I just wish more big-budget or games focusing on graphics look to it more. Why is this little DS game one of the very few games to know whats flamable and what floats? (and thats just a simple example) <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
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Definitely a vast improvement over its predecessor, but I'd still like to see 5TH Cell expand upon the idea for something like Wii or 3DS.

What do you guys think the team could add to make a third game even better?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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I maintain what I said somewhere else, that this game would work brilliantly on the Wii, using a USB keyboard (wireless would be best suited of course, I tried one on the Wii Internet Channel, and this is brilliant). The storage capacity of a DVD and the power of the Wii would allow for more possibilities. But then, I'm not sure it would succeed in reaching the same range of users through the Wii.

I mean I know a lot of people who would love Scribblenauts, and who own a DS but I'm not sure they'd want to own a Wii and play such a game on it, because it involves spending time with it only when they're at home, where they have better things to do than playing games alone. Seems to me that the Wii, as a casual gamer platform, is best suited for multiplayer experiences than for solo casual games (except for Wii Fit, but this is hardly a game).

That being said, as a gamer who loves the concept of Scribblenauts, I'd buy it, were it to come on the Wii =).

( Edited 05.03.2011 23:19 by Kafei2006 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

How about the 3DS version, if it ever happens? We could actually instruct the AI with verbs rather than them just acting themselves, like they do now.

And judging from the level editor, how about online deathmatches, it'll be like who could create the most powerful monster and summon them.

I loved playing the game, but it still had it's limitations, as to why I gave it an 8, which is still a good score Smilie.

( Edited 05.03.2011 23:36 by Stulaw )

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I wouldnt want a direct sequal, but purhapes an RPG taking inspiration from its idea's.

Rather then having weapons, for example, you use words to summon things to help you (and they only last a specific amount of time).

To make things tricky, however, you have a limited supply of letters. (but you could earn "perminate" use letters as the game progress's). So, like any RPG your abilities develope as you go on.

And yes, instructing AI with verbs is a great idea too. <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
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