By Sidney West
About a decade ago, little ol’ me was sitting in front of the TV when a commercial came on for a Nintendo DS game called Scribblenauts. The premise of it was that you could spawn anything your heart desired if you wrote its name down.
I got the game thinking it would help me become a better speller. The game did not help me become a better speller, but it did get me hooked and I spent countless hours playing it during my teens. A few weeks ago I had finally gotten around to getting the third installment in the franchise, Scribblenauts: Unlimited, and, after beating it, decided I wanted to ramble about it to you, the poor unfortunate reader.
The premise of the game is that you play as a boy with Maxwell armed with a magic notebook that can spawn anything that’s written into it. The game kicks off with Maxwell being a little brat and using said notebook to prank a wizard, the wizard, in turn, places a curse on your sister that is slowly turning her into stone.
So now you gotta save her by doing good deeds around the world, such as providing school children with a new playground, capturing outlaws in the desert, feeding cannibals, and awakening Cthulhu.
For me, the most fun way to play is to solve the puzzles in the most horrific and/or stupidest ways possible. For example, your brother wants something to eat out of the vending machine, but the candy got stuck in it, so naturally my first instinct was to spawn an edible child. Bam, problem solved.
If the puzzles get too exhausting or boring for you, there’s nothing to stop you from using your god powers to make everyone’s lives miserable for fun.
Unlimited’s biggest contribution to the series is that it now allows you to make custom objects to spawn in, which now means you can spawn whatever vulgar and copy written things you want.
I personally didn’t mess around with the feature too much, I’m sure it’s tons of fun once you get into it, but it’s kind of a pain because you have to work with the game’s preexisting art assets. Luckily, if you’re playing using Steam, you can browse the community workshop for content made by people even more unhinged than you.
The game gives you so much freedom and it’s at it’s best when you’re messing around doing your own thing. There’s a huge number of objects you can spawn and it’s so much fun to experiment with them and see how they interact with other items in the world. I wish the puzzles did more to provoke this style of play because as is, they’re pretty basic and unimaginative.
A Lot of the solutions are pretty obvious too, like on the last stage of the game, a pig will ask you to give it something from a farm, all you need to do is spawn something obvious like a cow. The most compelling puzzle I beat involved getting through a prison gauntlet. Your goal in the level was really simple, get to the end, how you did it was up to you.
There were a few obstacles you really had to think outside the box for, I wish there were more puzzles like this one. Something else that would have been nice is the addition of co-op. I would have loved to have played this with my friends. This game just feels like it has a lot of missed potential. It’s not really a huge step up from the DS games, to be honest.
I may complain about what Scribblenauts didn’t do, but not doing things it could have done doesn’t make the game worse. Scribblenauts: Unlimited is a game worth playing, as well as a great time killer.
If you’re interested, the game is available on Nintendo 3ds, PC, iOS, and Android. The game was also included in the Scribblenauts Mega Pack, which means it’s also available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.