Those who love DC Comics and Scribblenauts will go bonkers for Scribblenauts Unmasked, which merges the two universes. Developer 5th Cell blends the nuances loved by comic readers with the puzzle-oriented riddles of the Scribblenauts series, perfectly. For those unfamiliar with the Scribblenauts series of puzzle games, the game’s protagonists are Maxwell and Lily, a brother and sister duo possessing teleportation and word-fueled, object conjuration powers. After blundering into to the DC universe, Maxwell and his sister square-off against an evil clone of Maxwell, predictably named “Doppelganger”. The clone teams up with the worst of the DC universe’s evil-doers.
The game divides into a series of primary quests and sub-quests. By completing these you gain “reputation” points, which function as the world’s currency. Spending reputation points lets you unlock additional regions. Maxwell can also use points to unlock superpowers, giving himself super strength or power rings. The ultimate goal of the game is to prevent Doppleganger from acquiring Starites, the magical substance you may remember from the original Scribblenauts.
Keep reading to the bottom to enter for your chance to win one of three copies of the game!
Will You Like Scribblenauts Unmasked?
Children and adults alike will feel a sense of wonder exploring the DC universe. Comic-loving adults will go bananas interacting with their favorite DC characters. Children can also partake in the fun while sharpening their spelling and typing skills. However, even those without an interest in Scribblenauts or comics may still like the game.
Scribblenauts Unmasked blew me away with a combination of meticulous detail and addicting gameplay. The level of detail beats all other licensed games based on the DC universe. Even characters as obscure ones as Angle Man show up with accurately modeled powers. The amount of depth is mind-boggling.
Gameplay and Meticulous Detail
As in all Scribblenauts games, you conjure objects by describing them using a combination of nouns and adjectives. For example, in a fight against Professor Zoom, I had to create a giant fan. By typing the words: “giant” (adjective) + “fan” (noun), a large fan appeared, which blew away toxic smog. However, any device capable of generating wind would have solved this particular puzzle. In this regard, the gameplay is jaw-dropping in its complexity and depth.
Although your primary mission unfolds in a linear fashion, there’s little pressure to stick to the primary story arc. Players can easily find themselves randomly wandering throughout the game causing mayhem. To illustrate, I finally answered the age-old question of who would win in a fight – Darkseid or Superboy Prime?
There’s pacing improvements over Scribblenauts Unlimited. You can rapidly teleport from Metropolis to Arkham Asylum. However, unless you complete side-quests, you won’t receive the reputation points required to open each region. For example, unlocking Arkham Asylum requires 300 reputation points – unless you’ve acquired those, you must complete side missions until you can afford to change levels.
This forces you to attempt side-quests. Each time you change levels (I.E. teleport from city to city), you will attempt to beat Doppleganger and that region’s primary super villain to the Starite. For example, in Metropolis, Lex Luthor and your double team up – you, of course, partner with Superman.
Unlike one of its predecessors, such as Scribblenauts Remixed, Unmasked constantly prods the player along. Although you won’t feel pressure to rush through the game, you will feel a definite sense of purpose. Aside from the pacing improvements, the Batcomputer and random hi-jinks that you can get into are of particular interest to comics fans:
- Batcomputer: Of interest to fans, you can access Batman’s legendary computer database. This includes almost all of the characters populating the DC universe. While the pacing of Scribblenauts feels fast and furious, you will find yourself wanting to take frequent breaks to research. Fortunately, Batman’s Batcomputer contains references to virtually every character imaginable. I found myself searching for, and finding, characters as obscure as Anarky and Captain Comet. However, there’s limits to the database’s power. It failed to find Mr. Nobody and the Brotherhood of Dada, perhaps the most obscure of all villains in all of DC .
- Random hi-jinks: I found myself constantly failing missions through simple error. For example, a man on a roof wanted me to deal with some strange eggs – these turned out to be Cockatrice eggs, which I of course sat on, hatched a tame, poison-breathing Cockatrice and then in a fit on panic summoned Darkseid by mistake. After that event, I found myself accidentally summoning Darkseid approximately 24 times in a two-minute period afterward, unfortunately, turning that particular city into a barren wasteland, only motivated by a need to discover the Anti-Life Equation.
What You Might Not Like
On the downside, the difficulty of Scribblenauts feels much greater than a casual game. I found myself constantly failing sub-missions. Fortunately failure doesn’t greatly impede your progress as you can simply repeat or revisit each region. Still, those who are expecting a lighthearted romp through the Scribblenauts universe will be frustrated by constant failure, feelings of inadequacy and shame.
The controls feel a little wonky, too. lack of gamepad support is understandable as the majority of the game involves typing on a keyboard. However, Scribblenaut’s biggest shortcoming is just this — the game feels like a platformer, but comes off as a point-and-click experience. Overall, the controls feel thrown together and poorly implemented.
Unmasked’s biggest blemish is its length. The 12-hours (at most) of gameplay seriously detract from Unmasked’s value. Given this, the $40 price-tag feels a little bit high, considering that puzzle-games in general do not cost a great deal of money.
So is Scribblenauts Unmasked worth buying? As much as I enjoyed the game, its main appeal is to two groups of people — comic lovers and children. However, the $40 price tag feels a bit steep for a game with around 10-12 hours of gameplay. While the game represents an uniform improvement over its predecessor in gameplay, pacing and difficulty, it’s terribly short.
The more budget-minded may wish to wait until this game comes down to $20. At the $40 price range, the only audience that would get their money’s worth are either die-hard DC Comics fans or children seeking quality educational titles. Everyone else should wait until the price comes down to a more sensible $20 or 30, particularly in light of the sheer number of cost-effective alternatives around.
How do I win a copy of Scribblenauts Unmasked?
You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, November 1. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.
- Diane Wortman
- Mary Vantil
- Colleen Goldrick
Congratulations! If you were selected as a winner, you would have received your license via email from firstname.lastname@example.org. If you require any assistance, please get in touch with Jackson Chung before November 14. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.
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