Right off the bat, Super Scribblenauts gets huge points for its shear originality – especially for people who happened to skip the original game last year – quite frankly; there isn’t another game out there that’s even remotely similar to Super Scribblenauts or its predecessor.
The goal in Super Scribblenauts is to help the central character Maxwell solving over a hundred puzzles, each containing elusive starites. In order to do this, you’ll need to use your trusty DS styles to write down words; then these words will magically transform into actual items. Depending on the type of puzzle, you’ll receive a starite once you create the correct items or persons.
Here’s an example: In one level, you find yourself in an empty town with the only clue being that you need to rebuild the town. Solution: Write down a School, Police Station, Store etc… and place each object as they appear; afterwards, you get a starite which will in turn, unlock more levels. You’ll also have the option of going back to many levels and getting additional starites by solving levels using different words/items. (Instead of a School and Police Station, you write down a Hospital and Fire Station for example). Another example is a level where you have to solve the final link in a puzzle. On one end is a caterpillar, the other end is a moth. To solve the puzzle, you’ll need to write something that fits the missing link, in this case, a cocoon.
Other puzzles are more of a mixed bag though. Due to the sheer amount of words, some levels will leave you staring at your DS screen while scratching your head. This problem is somewhat lessened by the addition of adjectives, which can help in a lot of levels. In one puzzle for example, in trying to figure out what a kid wants to be when he grows up, both a Race Car Driver and a Truck Driver are acceptable solutions which can be used to solve the level in multiple ways, thus gaining more starites. In other rare occasions however, the use of adjectives can cause a lot of confusion to certain puzzles. I spent almost an hour trying to figure out the proper adjective to a puzzle only to find out that a simple word will do.
Still those cases are relatively rare, and in an odd way, are actually migrated by the games pick-up and play nature. Even if you’re hopelessly stuck on a certain level, you can simply close your DS and come back to it later, or just quit and try another level. Since most of the individual levels only take a minute to complete once you know the solution, there isn’t any hair pulling over lost progress if you find yourself stuck.
There isn’t really much to say about the graphics and sound. No one playing a game like Super Scribblenauts is looking for any visual or audio tour-de-force here. The best that can be said is that the art style perfectly fits the game (Think Charlie Brown meets Nickelodeon) and the music isn’t annoying. One thing that I should point out is that the developer, 5th Cell, did an admirable job of drawing different objects for every item/person that I could come up with. There are a few clones but for the most part, the objects you write down will have different results graphically.
One aspect that I almost forgot about was the level creator. The problem with level editors in games is that they can either be too simple or too complicated. In the case of Supper Scribblenauts, the later is the case. Don’t get me wrong, the level editor is robust and is a huge plus for hardcore fans who want to make their own levels; but for most people, they’ll be satisfied with the 120+ levels that are already in the game. Online is strictly limited to sharing other levels either via Wi-Fi or Ad-Hoc. Problem is that being a game on a Nintendo Platform, you’re restricted to those annoying friend codes. Unless you’re really hardcore into Super Scribblenauts and are involved in communities that are into sharing and creating levels, then the level sharing feature is moot to the vast majority of owners.
Overall though, Supper Scribblenauts should be praised for not only its originality, but also for its pick-up-and-play nature that so many portable games miss. This is a perfect game to keep in your DS so you can open it and play a level-or-two while you have a few minutes of free time. While a few of the puzzles may be a little too arbitrary to the point that they may cause frustration, for the most part the game is well-balanced for people with a decent range of vocabulary.