Sunday, May 02, 2010

Video game number one hundred and fifteen: Scribblenauts

Video game review number one hundred and fifteen in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is"Scribblenauts".

It appears that I've been slacking a bit in my "new games" gaming. I am nearly 10 games behind in my project right now, and that means I need to do some marathon gaming this weekend or something. I have to blame several things. One is the incredibly slow shipping of Gamefly (it takes an entire week to ship them a game back and get one in return) and the other is all the time I've been spending on games I've already played lately. I've spent pretty much the entire week working on Forza 3, which I recently got hooked on again. Splinter Cell is another time sucking culprit recently.

Scribblenauts is a DS game that I've heard good things about but not actually picked up for my DS yet. I thought I'd rent it first and give it a shot, and I'm pretty glad I did. It's good, but definitely not something I'd purchase. The basic premise involves a level with a simple goal that you complete by typing in an item, which will magically appear. A bee comes flying at you, you type "Fly swatter" or "ray gun" and one will appear to deal with the bee. It reminds me a lot of that game Tom Hanks plays in "Big" where he has to melt the wizard with the ice wand....with better graphics.

The first few times I typed something random into the game and got what I was expecting....that was cool. Then I started getting stuck, because I apparently wasn't sure what I needed to type. I needed to cross a body of water, but "Bridge, stairs, and ladder" didn't quite do it. I typed cement (thinking I might pour it into the water and turn it into a solid) but this wasn't recognized by the game. There was an evil fish in the water....and I couldn't shoot him. I typed "fishing pole", but I couldn't use that to catch him. I typed "Dynamite" thinking I could go a little Crocodile Dundee on him....but that didn't work either. Finally, I typed "Plane" and flew over the damn lake, but I'm pretty sure that's not what I was supposed to do.

This game would be great if it had endless possibilities....and while it might feel that way for the first five minutes, eventually, you realize you're riding on the rails just like any other adventure game. At that point, the game becomes....well...boring. You can only type "gun" in so many times before it gets annoying to not start the level with the stupid gun.

Overall? I give this a solid 6.5/10. Most of this score is for the concept, not the execution. I think the game is a pretty good idea and I'm looking forward to a sequel, because this first version feels like it could have used a lot more development time to really expand the types of things you can draw.

No achievements because it's a DS game....but I did beat the first several levels of it before moving on.

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