Let Your Creative Mind Take Over with Scribblenauts: Remix

Did you ever play the original Scribblenauts game for the DS? If so, you’ll love this. If you didn’t, you’ll like it even better.

Scribblenauts: Remix is a game that allows you to conjure any object in order to complete an equally imaginative set of objectives present across a large array of well-designed levels. It operates on the premise that the sky is the limit when it comes to how you want to complete a level. Read on to see if the iOS version retains the magic found in the DS versions.

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Getting Started

The game has a really neat opening screen that allows you to be creative right away; you are presented with the main character, Maxwell, and a backdrop of your choosing where you can create whatever objects you like before jumping into the problem solving side of things.

I actually played on this almost as much as on the real game! There is an endless amount of fun to be had, well, an infinite amount of fun it seems. I immediately started by entering the most obscure nouns I could think of, from a masamune to an ebola; this game never fell short of expectations. Obviously, some things are bracketed together, such as Congressmen and Politicians and therefore display the same sprite, but you have to admire the handiwork that has gone into creating what could be of the largest collections of sprites since Pokémon.

After further experimentation with the game’s boundaries, I found you can add adjectives to your objects. This completely changed my way of thinking toward the game, and obviously, the first thing I wanted to see was a gargantuan T-Rex. So there you go.

A very large dinosaur amongst verious other items.

A very large dinosaur amongst verious other items.

I then proceeded to animate dead objects (which incidentally, you get an achievement for), and found a lot of laughs watching the academic banana being attacked by the giant angry deodorant. This let me to find that you can enter multiple adjectives to describe your object, such as a big red car. To humour yourself, really try and stretch the game’s application of adjectives by making an angry huge flat round purple wet flying reflective thick wooden frog tongue or something like that. You get the idea.

There’s actually an achievement for using a ridiculous amount of unique adjectives to describe an object. Give it a go.

Gameplay

This game to me seems like a redesigned port of the games for the DS, Super Scribblenauts and Scribblenauts, but it’s been done really well. The graphics are much smoother and more crisp (thank you Retina display), with everything running nice and bump-free. The actual stages only include ten Remix exclusive titles, with the other 40 taken as a ‘best-of’ from all the other games. Not a bad idea, as it sparked off feelings of nostalgia while I was playing.

The game’s first level showcases how you can use many ways to complete a level. Your first, relatively simple task is to get Scribblenauts’ Power Star equivalent, the Starite, that has become stuck up a tree. So what do you do? You could get a ladder and simply retrieve the Starite. If you’re boring, that is. In the spirit of the game, I used a jet-pack, but I’m sure there are a numerous array of ways you can reach high objects.

Harder than it looks? No.

Harder than it looks? No.

The funny thing is about Scribblenauts is that the cornucopia of possible objects you can create renders the level objectives almost obsolete. This, however, actually opens up a channel where creativity can flow; you can tailor the situation to simultaneously feed your curiosity and complete the level, i.e. if you need to destroy a building, just watch as a giant polar bear sets off an explosive charge whilst attacking an innocent bunny rabbit, that incidentally manages to get rid of the building. In fact, I bet 70% of the puzzles can be completed by spawning a ton of mega monsters. Have a try. You never know.

Ride your gorilla-walrus into the sunset.

Ride your gorilla-walrus into the sunset.

The game goes on to give you a diverse range of problems to solve, like completing a government by adding additional members or pulling off a magic trick without giving away the secret. And they all seem trivially easy; wielding godlike power to complete what could almost be everyday tasks is actually quite pleasing.

Design

The main reason why you should buy Remix is the gimmick. That main engine of creativity would work no matter what context it was put in; an game that allows for such a breadth of outcomes and objects will always be satisfying. The idea is one that, while it does have limits (just!), will allow for an abundance of creativity as you figure out different ways to solve each problem.

I love the animated and comical feel of the game; whether it’s during a level or the level selection menus, it’ll always put a smile on your face. It’s not as smooth as modern day classics like Angry Birds in terms of the geometry and colors, but it still manages to deliver a great appearance.

50 Shades of T-rex.

50 Shades of T-rex.

One thing I tend to pick up on in apps being a music producer is the choice of ident/audiobed that goes through the app. I quite like the Animal Crossing-esque sound to Scribblenauts; it reminds me of my days playing the original title for the DS along with many other similar-sounding games. It may not arouse feelings of nostalgia in everyone, but it’s still nice to hear.

The one thing I found about Scribblenauts is that, over extended period of time, the honeymoon effect is long gone. Games like Temple Run and Cut the Rope have this addictive and engaging quality about them, however in Scribblenauts, although it has many other pros, doesn’t pull you in as well.

Conclusion

If you can’t tell already, I’m a big fan behind the Scribblenauts mechanic, and that alone gives the game enough merit to consider buying. My only gripe is that is lacks the replay value of other games that go by gimmicks, so it may not perform as well as its competitors. Nevertheless, the game is certainly worth your time, especially if you haven’t played it before.


Summary

A brilliant and inspired game that uses one of the most creative game mechanics I've ever seen into general progressive gameplay. Well worth the price tag.

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