Super Scribblenauts Hands-On

Adjectives add a whole new dimension in this sequel to the creative platformer, and a host of other improvements make it easier to enjoy the fun.

At E3 2009, a little game called Scribblenauts made a big splash by letting players conjure thousands of different objects from an extensive library and challenging them to solve puzzles in creative ways. This year, Super Scribblenauts is looking to build on its predecessor's success with a bunch of gameplay improvements and, most importantly, the addition of adjectives. Now the tons of objects can be modified with a huge number of adjectives, resulting in a staggering array of possibilities (one developer's estimate put the number of possible combinations in the trillions). The result is a whole new crop of whimsical ways to play and amusing challenges to overcome. Hint: When faced with a militant vampiric nun, dodge her Uzi fire and nail her with some holy water. Problem solved.

Anyone familiar with Scribblenauts knows the basic formula. In order to grab a starite and complete a level, you have to overcome certain obstacles and meet certain conditions. To do so, you summon any object from the game's database of tens of thousands and use each thing's unique properties to help you out. Super Scribblenauts follows the same formula, but with some notable tweaks, many of which address criticisms leveled at the first game. One such improvement is better, more-diverse level objectives. Many players found that a large majority of the puzzles in the first game could be solved with a helicopter and a rocket launcher (or a jetpack and God, depending on whom you ask). The developers were adamant that Super Scribblenauts will require you to take better advantage of their massive library (which you should be doing anyway).

Another big fix is the inclusion of directional pad controls. You can now make Maxwell jump and move left and right with the D pad, or stick with the stylus controls from the first game. Either way, Maxwell's movement speed has been slowed by a third, eliminating the manic jumping, flailing, and sprinting that were so commonplace in Scribblenauts. The result is great, and we felt much more in control of the action during our play session. Of course, the biggest news is that Super Scribblenauts now features adjectives, as opposed to the noun-only database of its predecessor. Adjectives modify the nouns in the game in any number of ways, and you can easily stack two or three in front of a noun to get even crazier. For example, you can conjure a strange creature like, say, Cthulu, the octopus-faced, winged abomination of H.P. Lovecraft's nightmares. This monster is a bit scary, so you decide to cheer him up by giving him a new paint job ("rainbow"). Perhaps he still looks surly, so you class him up a bit ("gentlemanly"). Finally, the poor thing looks like he hasn't eaten in a millennium, so you put some meat on his bones ("fat").

If a fat, rainbow, gentlemanly Cthulu isn't your cup of tea, perhaps some other adjectives will suit your fancy. Emotional adjectives (like "happy") can be applied to inanimate objects to give them a personality, so that bookcase is no longer a stationary piece of furniture. When we conjured an angry armed refrigerator, it immediately began hopping after us, brandishing a sword. To protect Maxwell (and to settle an age-old kitchen appliance rivalry), we summoned an angry armed dishwasher. The two engaged in a grisly fight to the death, with the refrigerator claiming victory. Every object in Super Scribblenauts has health points that display above it whenever it is in danger.

Your adjective-wielding power is not limited to objects that you create. You can also put any adjective you want in front of the word "potion," and you'll conjure a small bottle that, when you use it on any object in your environment, will change that object to fit your adjectives. If a quest-giving scientist is being a bit cheeky, feel free to turn him purple and make him sprout a pair of wings. There will be limitations, of course, and some objects won't fit with some adjectives. But in our time with the game we came across no such hang-ups and were able to gleefully indulge our imagination.

And imagination is what Super Scribblenauts is all about. The addition of adjectives exponentially increases the creation possibilities and gives you an incredible amount of material, whether it be in the pursuit of starites or in the ever-enjoyable sandbox arena. There will also be more unlockables to motivate you to earn ollars (the currency of Scribblenauts), including 50 new avatars that allow you to take a break from playing as Maxwell. Things are looking good for this sequel, and anyone who had a passing interest in the first game will want to keep an eye on Super Scribblenauts.

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Chris_Watters

Chris Watters

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.
Super Scribblenauts

Super Scribblenauts

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22 comments
stebbinsd
stebbinsd

"Adjectives add a whole new dimension in this sequel to the creative platformer." Platformer? I could have sworn that this is a puzzle game!

Daiki101
Daiki101

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Daiki101
Daiki101

i have never played it... but it looks cool

beet67
beet67

Looks pretty cool

wilford88
wilford88

Looking sweet! Definitely going to be good.

Squirrelatwar
Squirrelatwar

Looks like they're addressing the issues in the first game that made me trade in the game. Glad to see that the developer is actually using feedback to improve the game!

morganmn
morganmn

this is going to be good

iggystar71
iggystar71

Is my polka-dotted bridge going to fall into the river? I'm glad that Maxwell's controls have been tweaked. I'm glad there are adjectives, but I really need the game physics to be fixed as well.

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

For some reason I missed the first one, but this sequel looks to be amazing.

dukie855
dukie855

I wonder if something different will happen when you put in: " 3DS " ... adjectives and god i really want the dpad controlls

EndoftheworldX
EndoftheworldX

I loved the first game, and it managed to crack a smile on even the most cynical of my friends faces. I can't wait to try out adjectives (and d-pad controls :D), that part with angry appliances was actually able to surprise me more than the gentlemanly-red-raptor from the trailer.

red-ray
red-ray

First one was awesome seems like with addition of adjectives handcuff trick's gone for good.

Imsterminate
Imsterminate

First game was OK but it was all too easy just to spawn a pair of wings and fly to the objective. This one looks a lot more fun with the adjectives and, hopefully, will actually force you to be creative

Artiau
Artiau

First one was no where as fun as it made itself out to be. Very repetitive, anything could be solved with only a few words and terrible controls. Don't know about this, pretty much looks the same.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

The first game was fantastic if it wasn't for the damn controls. As long as they've fixed this, all the extra stuff like adjectives just sounds like personal gaming heaven to me. Cannot wait for this and a nice quiet, sunny beach like I had for the last one. Awesome.

termadoyle
termadoyle

The creators of Scibblenauts should be given a medal of honor. seriously.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Sounds great. Now I just need to play the first one.

12qazx
12qazx

Awsome. Looks like they fixed a lot of things from the first game and made it even better. I can't wait.

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

Hilarious, this game will beat the old one if it comes through.