Developer: 5th Cell
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Review Platform: PC (Steam)
Release Date: 15/02/13
Also Available on: Wii U, 3DS (one day)
File Size: 1748 MB
With the Wii U and 3DS versions of Scribblenauts Unlimited delayed indefinitely in Europe, reportedly due to a lack of a UK English localisation, we thought it’d be a good idea to play through the Warner-published PC game and deliver our verdict on 5th Cell’s latest and greatest puzzle platformer – albeit with a lack of Nintendo references and a pseudo-multiplayer mode, yet with a far more appealing price tag, and one-hundred percent more ‘humor’.
The most noticeable improvement in Scribblenauts Unlimited is its exceptional presentation, and how much more game-like it is than its two DS predecessors. With fantastic hand-drawn graphics, a sizeable yet accessible world map, and diverse areas filled with character and charm, this game is an absolute joy to play; and with a hint of a backstory in the form of opening and closing cut-scenes, this is just one example of how 5th Cell has made Scribblenauts Unlimited more engaging than its forerunners.
The game starts off with a short tutorial level which introduces the core mechanics, such as clicking on characters to find out what they need in order to dispense a Starite shard, storing or disposing of items that are not currently needed, and actually using Maxell’s notebook to create items, or to add adjectives to existing items. Following this, however, you’re left with nothing but your own imagination in a world, filled with troubled people – and seemingly endless potential for some mind-bending puzzles.
As you progress further into the game’s world, however, you’ll eventually notice that Scribblenauts Unlimited is not actually as unlimited as its name suggests. After seemingly boundless solutions to puzzles until you’re at least past halfway through the game, it’s unsurprisingly disappointing to find that the difficulty seemingly never increases during the final few worlds of the game; making it a bit of a chore for those that are likely to go through using only the obvious solution to each puzzle.
With that said, Scribblenauts has never been a series about straight-up challenge, nor is Unlimited a game that should be rushed through – a majority of Scribblenauts Unlimited’s entertainment value, we feel, comes from finding the wackiest, weirdest, and often downright hilarious solutions to puzzles; and even though the multiplayer mode – which allows up to four players to possess and control any object on-screen – is exclusive to Wii U, this game is arguably even more fun with local spectators, as you share and debate your funniest ideas. If you do get a little stuck on a particularly tricky puzzle, though, there is a tiered hint system, which unlocks one of three hints after you’ve been attempting a particular puzzle to no avail for a certain amount of time.
Overall, Scribblenauts Unlimited is a fantastic game for those that want it to be, in that it offers a creative sandbox that oozes charm and life. While it understandably won’t appeal to everyone, those that enjoyed the previous games will be satisfied by a far less frustrating experience, and will certainly enjoy its world- rather than menu-based setup.
Should you pick it up on PC before the Wii U and 3DS versions eventually arrive? We’d say yes. At £22.99 on Steam, it’s already a lot cheaper than its eShop – and undoubtedly retail, too – price tag; and why wait for a few Mario and Zelda cameos when you can create your own in the PC version’s Object Editor?