"Write Anything, Solve Everything" is a huge overstatement, but Scribblenauts still delivers solid gameplay

User Rating: 8 | Scribblenauts DS
Scribblenauts got everyone excited with its debut announcement at E3 2009, and had everyone eager to start playing and be able to write anything they can think of and watch it "come to life." But does Scribblenauts really deliver all that the ads promise?

The Good:
+Many levels, each with colorful environments
+The title screen alone gives you hours of fun
+Fun, quirky music
+Graphic design suits the game well

The Bad:
-Control issues can prove frustrating at times
-Levels get monotonous, you will find yourself using some of the same solutions for multiple levels
-Large amount of levels makes you all to eager to stop playing if you finally finish it

At the start of Scribblenauts it's already a lot of fun. The game has a title screen like all other games, but the thing about Scribblenauts' title screen is you can get a taste of what the game is (supposed) to be all about. You can instantly start writing objects and they will spawn in the game and you can play around with them. I have spent hours just messing around in the title screen just seeing what kinds of crazy stuff they really did put in the game. And I was pleased to see that there was a lot.

This is all fine and dandy, but the actual game is obviously more than that. In each level the objective is to complete a challenge to obtain the starite, a star-like object hidden somewhere in the level. In each of the ten worlds there are two types of challenges: action and puzzle. In action levels, the starite is placed in a visible spot in the level, and your job is to get to it any way you can. Often times this involves holding down switches to keep doors open or pulling levels. You may also have to traverse chasms or lava pits, or avoid giant spike balls. Or even fight off enemies.

In puzzle levels, the starite is not in a place you can see. You must, as the name suggests, solve a sort of puzzle to get it. This may include giving the right tool to someone who would use it in their job (give a water hose to a fireman, or a stethoscope to a doctor) or stopping a boat from crashing into an iceberg. Once you solve it, you get the starite.

First impressions are that Scribblenauts offers a large variety of solutions to each puzzle. But sadly, this is not the case. Many levels have similar objectives (get from point A to point B; Get someone or something from point A to point B) and too often you will find yourself not trying to think of crazy solutions (because there really aren't any) and resorting to a fail safe remedy you found previously to work.

Also, the game never actually encourages you to use your imagination. It will give you the vaguest of hints on how to solve the level, and you're on your own from there. Very very quickly, you will realize that the "Write Anything, Solve Everything" statement really was just a clever advertising slogan after all.

But that's not to say that Scribblenauts is not fun. A lot of levels do offer a fun challenge. In the latter worlds you will find that your easy solutions you resorted to in World 8 won't have any affect in World 9. All the worlds are different, it's just once you find a working solution, you won't become too keen to try much else.

Scribblenauts does offer some fun and humorous gameplay. And if you get tired of doing the levels, feel free to mess around in the title screen, figuring out all the cool weapons that are in the game and testing them out on unsuspecting victims.

But there is one last flaw about Scribblenauts: the controls. The controls do not make the game unplayable of course, but you may get frustrated when you have to keep repeating a level when your character may run off the edge, and all you wanted was to grab the object you just summoned. And you get style points for creative solutions to earn ollars (game currency), but if you have to restart, much of those points will be lost.

The graphics and sound suit the game. The music is fun and quirky, and the graphical style fits.

Once you finish the game, there isn't much to do. You can make your own levels and share them with friends, but this novelty only lasts for so long.

Overall, Scribblenauts is an absolute blast at first. You will have fun through most of the game, but it's a shame the levels get so monotonous as the game progresses. You really can't write anything and solve a puzzle, and you may find yourself using some of the same solutions. The controls don't kill the game, but can get down right annoying.

If you own a DS and are looking for a game that's fresh and new and delivers solid gameplay, Scribblenauts is the way to go, but the game isn't absolutely spectacular by any means.