Scribblenauts was originally designed for and released on the Nintendo DS, and remains one of the platform’s must-have titles. The Wii U launch title and Steam top-seller Scribblenauts Unlimited has been pleasing pundits and end users alike with its crisp graphics, clever gameplay and endless possibilities, but the original DS version is not to be missed.
Available on iOS as a universal app for both iPhone and iPad, Scribblenauts Remix is an extended cut-price version of the original DS title, minus the cartridge and recommended retail price. For $0.99 you can download and play through the 40 most popular original levels and 10 more iPhone exclusives. Another dollar will net you an extra 50 levels, but are they any good?
A Text Sandbox
Scribblenauts is stuck somewhere between a puzzler, platformer, and sandbox simulation. Each level is a puzzle that requires you to create some objects in order to proceed. You control a character called Maxwell who will have to run, jump, and fly his way around in order to complete each level. Most if not all of the levels have multiple ways to succeed, and while some are very easy others will have you stumped.
In addition to the base 50 levels, Scribblenauts Remix includes a sandbox mode which is what you’ll first see when you launch the app. The app has lovingly received seasonal updates over the course of the last year, meaning there are themed sandboxes in which to play, though ultimately this affects you little aside from having a new playground every few months.
In sandbox mode you are free to create, destroy and come up with as many ridiculous concepts as possible. This gives Scribblenauts virtually endless possibilities for fun, though much like “endless” open world games you will eventually get bored at some point. Sandbox mode is fun for pushing the game’s limits, studying interactions between entities like “God” and “Cthulu” as well as practicing your adjectives in the pursuit of that “friendly giant rainbow winged bunny” you so desire.
Yes, it really is that ridiculous. Scribblenauts will take a hotch-potch of nouns and adjectives, throw them into a blender and come up with some pretty preposterous results. This isn’t just for fun and your literary prowess will be tested in specific adjective levels in which you will have to apply adjectives to normal objects in order to pass the level.
Each level is completed by acquiring the required number of stars, and to do so you will need to defeat enemies, traverse impossible paths and appease characters along the way. Scribblenauts Remix lets you play the game the way you want and provided you tick the few boxes asked of you then you can happily go hog wild with various items and adjectives while completing levels.
Controls, Concerns, & Content
Scribblenauts is controlled using the on-screen iPhone keyboard to input terms, though if you’re playing using an iPhone 5 or 4S you can also use Siri to input text. You control Maxwell either using touch-anywhere controls or with on-screen dual sticks which can be toggled via the pause menu. In the original DS version, the controls were never perfect and while they’re generally improved here, the imperfections do still exist on certain levels.
The game sometimes makes you feel like you have to “cheat” your way around a puzzle, and it can be frustrating wondering what you’re meant to do but these occasions are rare. When you do get stuck there are hints to resort to, each of which unlock as time passes. These hints often simplify the puzzles a little too much by virtually giving you the answers, so if you really want your money’s worth I’d recommend taxing your grey matter a bit and ignoring the hints unless you’re really stuck.
Aside from some seemingly illogical solutions to puzzles, Scribblenauts is not a game you’re likely to get stuck on very often. In fact at times it can seem a bit too easy, which is why you should seize all opportunities to come up with as many adventurous solutions as possible. This attitude will help you work your way through the 46 achievements that are up for grabs which reward you for using multiple adjectives, as well as milestones for creating unique objects and some one-off achievements for creating special characters and objects.
The World Pass in-app purchase for an extra $0.99 doubles your fun, providing an extra 50 levels to work your way through. This is an absolute bargain and I ended up buying it before I’d finished the first 50 levels, just so I could keep on playing seamlessly. The replay value here is quite high considering you can complete many of the levels in a multitude of ways, which probably explains why I bought the iPhone version despite completing the DS version a few years ago.
Scribblenauts Remix is the second coming of an under-appreciated Nintendo DS game. If you’re a fan of wordplay, puzzles or would just like to fiddle around in a big sandbox then it might just be the best $0.99 you could spend on the app store. Buy it!
Check out Scribblenauts Remix @ App Store