Scribblenauts is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle – platformer for the Nintendo DS that takes gaming to a whole new level.

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The aim of the game is for the player to help Maxwell (boy in the rooster hat) solve numerous puzzles by thinking of real-world objects that can help him complete the brain teasers.  We give the game developers of Scribblenauts a gold star for encouraging the players to come up with as many ways to solve the puzzle by typing or scribbling the word associated with the real-world object on to the touchpad.

The library of words is pretty vast, a quick scroll on the web indicates that there are 20,000+ words available to the player. The list includes the ant-eating aardvark and even the two-handed sword zweihander. Part of the fun of the game is thinking of words that can show up in the game. Like any game though, there are limitations. The player will not find some words on the list like the names of people, shapes, places, verbs, and adjectives.

Don’t expect to see copyrighted names or characters and vulgar words either, exception to this though is that players can summon Albert Einstein and George Washington.

Scribblenauts has graphics that will appeal to players. Like 5th Cell’s “Drawn to Life” , this game’s bright, seemingly hand-drawn graphics give it a certain charm that fits the game perfectly.


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Scribblenauts will keep the players busy with its 220 challenging levels divided across 10 different worlds. The 220 levels are split into 2 types, the platform level and the puzzle level. Both kinds of missions will reward the player with a ‘Starite’, the star-shaped object found at the end of a mission. The levels have a ‘par’ for the number of objects that can be used to complete a puzzle. Completing a puzzle under par earns ‘ollars’, the currency used in the game. The different worlds and new music are unlocked by earning enough ‘ollars’.  There is also the option to create your own levels which players can save and share via the Nintendo DS Wi-Fi Connection.

Although a good game, Scribblenauts does have its imperfections, and these imperfections have the potential to frustrate a huge percentage of its audience. The game uses a physics engine which enables players to stack objects on top of each other and likewise throw objects around the environment.  While this is a cool feature of the game, the feature can sometimes make characters and objects to do weird things.

There were a number of instances when we expected objects and characters to behave a certain way but they did not, thus solving the puzzle was a result of being lucky and not because we thought we were being clever. Controlling Maxwell and trying to get objects to interact with one another is an additional frustrating feature of the game. Players must tap on Maxwell to enable him to execute an action, sometimes the multiple taps on the screen just confuses the character and makes him screw the players’ well crafted puzzle solution ‘accidentally’.

Scribblenauts is definitely an innovative and interactive sandbox for players of the Nintendo DS.  Despite the frustrating controls this game offers hours of challenging fun for players of different levels. This game is definitely a must-buy in our book.

Scribblenauts is rated “PG” and is now available at Australian retail stores nationwide on Nintendo DS and DSi for $59.95.

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