I’d heard that this was a party game based diversion from the main Scribblenauts series, so wasn’t going to get it. But it was £10 and I thought, how bad can it be? Luckily, not as bad as I was expecting.
The party game mode is the main purpose it exists (and is actually pretty good, considering), but there’s also a “Sandbox” mode which is a simplistic approximation of the previous Scribblenauts games. A number of levels with ten tasks in each to do – make a helicopter fly, give the Buddha an offering, put the right animals in the zoo exhibits, etc. It’s this mode that I completed.
So it’s not as good as the earlier titles, but it’s OK. I suspect 5th Cell, the original developers, had very little to do with this and it shows. Shame.
The game’s title is a bit verbose, isn’t it? I’ll be referring to it as Scribblenauts Batman instead, because that’s what it is. Sure, the rest of the Justice League are in it, but then Lego Batman 2 and 3 have them as well. Batman’s the headline act.
In fact, virtually every DC character you could ever imagine, including every variant (Earth Two, Red Son, Bizzaro, New 52, etc.) are also in it. And costumes to dress up other characters as DC characters. And all the stuff you’d expect from a Scribblenauts game usually. Lots.
The story (yes, there’s a story) involves Maxwell and his sister Lily being transported to the DC Universe (or one of the DC Universes, at least), and losing a load of Starites en-route. Somewhere along the way, Maxwell’s evil clone – created by Maxwell – appears and teams up with all the DC villains. Each level is a set of traditional Scribblenauts puzzles (much like in Scribblenauts Unlimited) often with DC related characters, and a “boss battle” where you and a DC hero take on Doppleganger and a DC villain. So Batman vs The Joker, Green Lantern vs Sinestro, etc. These battles are really just more puzzles, but it breaks up the game and adds something a bit different.
Scribblenauts Batman, then, isn’t any sort of reinvention of the series, but if you’re a DC fan there’s some joy to be had creating an enormous airborne undead radioactive pensive spotty exploding evil Aquaman (New 52) riding a yellow glowing sentient gigantic carrot with a jetpack. Or something.
Like the previous game, it’s pretty short if you just rush through the main puzzles and battles, earning just enough points to spend on unlocking new locations (like Metropolis and Oa) and progress the plot to completion. There’s a load of replay value through, as each location has different puzzles each time you revisit them, and sometimes Mr Mxyzptlk pops up to challenge you to complete them all without using adjectives, or only using DC Heroes, or only with female characters, all for bonus points. You’re also penalised if you repeat words in a single level, so you can’t solve similar puzzles in the same way if you want maximum points.
I’ve finished the story and unlocked, and completed, the Batman origin story (each of the main heroes has one as a sort of bonus) and quite a few of the non-story puzzles, so there’s still quite a lot to do. It seems there’s no checklist like with Unlimited though, so I’m not sure how you determine everything is properly 100% done. Unless I’m missing something.
Oh, and how am I playing this on the Wii U when it never came out in the UK on the Wii U? Because I imported it from Australia, of course! For some reason it was released there but not here, and although the Wii U is region locked, Australia is the same region so the game works fine. Phew, eh?
Still working through all the remaining shards puzzles. I’ve about 60 left to do, having finished just over half of them.
I’m finding that while playing the main game I’ve accidentally being completing some of the object shard puzzles, which had made the sheer number of things left to do seem slightly less daunting. Or not. 60 is a lot.
I feel compelled to complete this 100%. Like properly 100%, with all the shards and stuff. So that’s what I’m doing!
I’ve been back to every level and done all the puzzles there, and now I have a million “object” shards. These are very simple, usually wordplay related, puzzles which can be completed anywhere. Like “Cat-Toast Paradox” where you have to create something that fits the two “rules” that cats always land on their feet, and toast always lands butter side down. Create a cat, combine it with some toast, and you get – obviously – a black hole.
I’ve been waiting for ages for this. 15 months, in fact. After being delayed from the Wii U launch to early 2013, it was then pulled hours after going on sale in the UK for reasons that have never been officially announced. Some people managed to get it in that time, but the rest of us had to wait. And wait. Heck, the follow-up is out soon, it’s been that long.
But finally, it turned up. And, like with Rayman Legends, Zavvi conveniently forgot to charge me.
It’s excellent. I know it’s “just” more Scribblenauts, but it does so much. Firstly, it gets rid of the “rope and a helicopter solves everything” issue from the first game (and to a lesser extent, the second game), but secondly it’s huge. Yes, I know I’ve completed it already, but I’ve only actually done 60 Starites. There are… oooh… 120? More? I don’t know. And many of those are each made up from 10 Starite Shards, so there’s several hundred actual puzzles left to do.
There’s a lot of comedy in the game. Lots of games, films and memes are referenced sideways, in the characters, puzzle names, or actions you have to take to complete a puzzle. Sometimes you create your own comedic moments when things don’t quite go right. Take the screenshot as an example – I accidentally made a “bad hat” (rather than a “bandit hat” – oh yeah, there’s a million adjectives now) which picked up an axe and went on a murdering spree. Awesome.
Despite enjoying the original Scribblenauts, I didn’t buy the sequel (until I saw it for a fiver in Morrisons this week) for several reasons. Firstly, the later levels on the original were too hard. Not hard to find the items you have to draw, but more hard because of the fiddly controls (mainly moving Maxwell) and trying not to knock stuff over or position things slightly wrongly. There were also a lot of platforming sections, or “peril” situations where it was all too easy for you or someone else to die inadvertently, even when you were doing things “the right way”. Not to mention that 90% of the levels could be completed using the same 4 or 5 items – usually a rope, a ladder, a helicopter, a gun and/or some meat.
This fixes pretty much all of that. The levels are now more about creating the right items, rather than how or where you use them, and there is very little in the way of platforming. Since you now have adjectives to work with as well as nouns, there’s a lot more variety too, and I spent a good half an hour or more just on the title screen, creating “giant scary radioactive zombie dinosaur” and “tiny evil dead pink cat” and stuff like that.
It’s easier than the original (although I’ve completed it there are still a third or more levels left to do so it might get harder), but importantly it was more fun, and varied, and clever and funny. The fact you can choose to now control Maxwell directly with the d-pad rather than tap-to-move improves things exponentially too.