Nintendo 3DSPCWii U

Scribblenauts Unlimited Hands-On: More Freedom (And Tentacles)


Scribblenauts has always been a bit of a sandbox. It seemed that a lot people would simply ignore puzzles, just to make God and Cthulu fight each other instead. So it makes sense that 5th Cell would abandon their strict level structure in exchange for a bit more freedom in Scribblenauts Unlimited. The game is a bit more open. You can move across the world, from the jungle, to underwater, to space, making things to ride around on or creating wherever you please.


I didn’t get a lot of time to do puzzles, but I did experiment a bit with the creation tools. Because I’d never gotten around to Super Scribblenauts, the first thing I did was play with adjectives. The 5th Cell rep told me that I had up to 250 characters to describe the thing I wanted to create. As a fan of giant squids, I decided that it would be fun to make a robotic rideable kraken. It dropped down into the forest I was in and started killing people. Oops.


I tapped the kraken on the gamepad screen and decided to add "Friendly" to his description. At this point, the 5th Cell rep encouraged me to get a bit more creative with my friendly rideable robo-kraken and added "Gentlemanly," "Flying," and "Bunnyshooting" to the mix. "Gentlemanly" gave my tentacled monstrosity a top hat and monocle (dreams do come true!), "flying" was self-explanatory, and "bunnyshooting" allowed it to fire rabbits as projectiles. I also started a quest with a random townsperson who wanted help building a treehouse and cleared it by giving them a hammer.


After riding my amazing squid through the air for a while, the 5th Cell rep showed off a new feature that will only be in the Wii U and PC versions of Scribblenauts Unlimited. She designed a brand new object for the game. She started with a polka dot toaster, then used the various creation tools to add skulls for wheels and give it a cannon that shot exploding trout, ultimately naming it "Toasty". While I didn’t have a chance to make something of my own, she navigated through the various menus in this mode in about a minute. After summoning "Toasty" and firing some exploding trout, she explained that the tools at work here are essentially the tools that the developers used to make the various objects in the game, so the options available are pretty impressive.


While my time with Scribblenauts Unlimited was very brief, the game fascinated me. I like that so much of the game is focused on simply making cool things and watching what happens: all creation on the Wii U version handled through the gamepad, so the TV simply becomes a large and pretty way to share the onscreen action with friends.


Scribblenauts Unlimited is a Wii U launch title. The game is also headed to the Nintendo 3DS and PC.


Food for Thought:

1. Since this game’s lead SKU is the Wii U, all of the assets are designed to display in 720p. It’s simple, but it looks nice!

2. For purists, Maxwell can be controlled with the stylus on the Wii U controller.