Monday, November 15, 2010

Video game number three hundred and twenty six: Super Scribblenauts

Video game review number three hundred and twenty six in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Super Scribblenauts"

Over a hundred games ago, I played the first Scribblenauts for this project. It was good, but not great. I liked the concept, but was looking forward to seeing what could be done with the sequel. I played it a few times at PAX (trying to win some buttons for my friend Rachel), and although it felt very similar to the first one...I decided to rent it anyway, just for kicks. My friends seem to love this one a lot, I figured the sequel deserved my attention.

Right off the bat, I have to admit, this one is better than the first one. It's not because the graphics are better (they're practically the same) and it's not because you have some sort of new adventure to tackle (the gameplay is essentially the same too). It's because the game can understand you a little better than it could the first time, and that makes all the difference in a game like this.

I encountered a level with several different little dudes (one was a policeman, there was a military guy, a cowboy, a knight, etc, etc). You had to give them all weapons, with no repeats. That was actually kind of fun. The knight gets a sword, the cop a gun, the military guy I gave a rocket launcher to...all by typing in random things. It was very natural.

There are "get from point A to point B" levels, and they seem to work a little better this time. I gave my little dude a plane for one level, and I found that making ladders and stairs seems to work better this time around. They have added adjectives, so now you can say things like "Green Dog House" or "Giant Baby". There were a lot of levels that required you to do exactly this.

I like the ability to purchase hints when you are stuck. You earn points throughout the levels, but sometimes, it's hard to know exactly which word the developers are looking for. I came across one of the "put something similar in the box" levels, and I was completely stuck. These are levels where there are a couple of objects, and you've got to think up a related object to add to the collection. They start out easy, but get extremely hard. I played through the first 4 or 5 "worlds" (each world has several stars) and I found that I was buying a lot more hints after I had played awhile.

Overall Score? 6.5/10. I gave the original the same score, more for "concept than execution". This one is executed better, but it's the exact same concept. In fact, I didn't feel like I was playing a new game at all, just a patched version of the last one. There wasn't much more to just....worked more correctly when you did it. Decent game, but I'm not going to run out and buy it or anything.

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