Review: Scribblenauts Unmasked

Game: Scribblenauts Unmasked Developer: 5th Cell Publisher: Warnerbros
Release Date: Out Now Available On: Wii U/3DS/PC Version Played: PC

This time working together with superheroes, can Maxwell and the allies of justice fight off the horde of villains and return things to normal?

scribblenauts story
In an all new adventure, Maxwell and his twin sister Lily, accidentally travel to the world of the DC Universe heroes, due to a silly mistake by Maxwell. In order to return back home, the siblings must work together with the Justice League and Other DC Heroes to find the starites needed to power up the globe and go back home. To make matters difficult, these are scattered all over the world. The siblings are met with villainous opposition from the many criminals that the heroes face in their own territories. You become a valuable asset to the heroes, all the while you search for the starites that you have lost, so look sharp, and leave no corner unsearched.

scribblenauts presentation
The game has a very approachable and charming design. Akin to a children’s book, the graphics are comprised completely of highly stylized illustrations, which also include the scenarios, items you will use and even the menus. It’s very consistent and effective for the target audience that I would expect this game is marketed towards: Children.

scribblenauts screen 1
I enjoyed the music, and I especially appreciated the fact that the Gotham theme song follows the same school as the music that was composed for the popular Batman Trilogy. The rest of the music was not as impressive, but it was still used as a way to set the tone for the numerous maps that you can traverse, so it accomplishes its goals. In terms of sound design, I was very pleased. There was a certain cheer and humour from the many sound affects you can hear in the game, from the grunts and punches to the superpower sounds, it all made me smile.

The scenarios you play in are simplified versions of the heroes’ cities. I found them to be quite small, especially after I had Maxwell give himself the “supersonic” adjective, he could traverse the map in just a few seconds, which disappointed me a little bit, but I will say that this is personal because I believe that that is not the point of this game.

scribblenauts gameplay
In Scribblenauts, the main character Maxwell possesses a magical notebook in which he can write certain words and these will magically manifest themselves in the real world, hence, the gameplay. You can select characters and add adjectives to them to modify certain aspects of their personality or physique and you can also write nouns to spawn items that you can use to help you proceed with missions. It’s much more fun than what it sounds, believe me.

In the DC world, the public eye is a very important thing, so having a good reputation is a must for any superhero working in these cities, and since Maxwell is helping the heroes out, he must abide by this too. In Unmasked, reputation works as a form of currency (earned by completing randomly generated side tasks and missions) which is used to purchase locked items in the game, such as maps, objects and alternative story missions which can involve other heroes’ identity.

Scribblenauts screen 2
Considering I’m a nut for customization in games, I found a feature that really sucked me in, and that was the hero creator. Once you finish the first mission, Batman grants you usage to his computer, in which you can create and customize your own superheroes, weapons, vehicles or pretty much anything to your liking. Want a unique pet to tag along in your adventures? You can do that (even with something like Cthulhu), want a gigantic sword that’s unbreakable and shoots bullets? You can do that too. Do you want a helpful sidekick that can help you when you’re in dire need? Just make it to your specifications!

This system really impressed me. The only downside against it would be that it’s a tad confusing to use at first, but you can get used to it through trial and error. I made myself a little flying companion like Navi to follow me around (just made her supersonic so she could keep up with me, and unavoidable, so she would always follow me around). I think it was a nice touch.

scribblenauts conclusion
I never knew just how far you could go in a Scribblenauts game, granted there are a lot of limitations to the words that you can use if your vocabulary is extensive; I found the game to be much more fun than I ever thought it could be. It’s wacky and over the top if you want it to be, or it can be conservative and careful, or anything else for that matter, there’s just that many fun possibilities to be had when you play this game. The final choice is always yours on how you wish to accomplish your goals, and that is something I can really appreciate.

scribblenauts end