Review: Super Scribblenauts

To say that Super Scribblenauts is a true sequel to 5th Cell’s 2009 genius but flawed puzzler would be a bit of an exaggeration. The developers themselves refrained from giving it a numerical title but instead claim it to be a superior version of the original. And for all intense purposes, it is just that. Though in some weird twist of fate, Super Scribblenauts may have rid itself from the bigger problems of its predecessor but also lost a bit of the charm too.

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Super Super Scribblenauts trailer

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5TH Cells Scribblenauts was a great concept awkwardly implemented into a game but the follow up appears to have ironed out a few of those issues, expanding the potential puzzle solutions tenfold. Before you could enter a word – mainly a noun – and the object would appear. This latest trailer for Super Scribblenauts shows how the developers have really put the emphasis on adding adjectives to your chosen word, piling them up for better results.

Whether you can get by with a trusty rope and helicopter like the first game is looking doubtful though I wonder what would happen if you type in flying rope?

Scribblenauts 2 goes super

Channeling the naming conventions of SNES games, 5TH Cell’s sequel to the highly imaginative but upsettingly flawed Scribblenauts has been given a grander name than Scribblenauts 2. From here on it will be known as Super Scribblenauts! Controls on the first game went from good to shocking but the successor is promised to have upgraded handling as well as a new adjective system where players manipulate the objects they’ve summoned in numerous ways. The concept remains the same – Write down a word or words which come to life, solve a puzzle and get a star – but now you’ll have the option to change the colour, behaviour, attributes and other such elements of the items you bring into the world. Multiple adjectives can be chained together too, for example; to obtain a star that is too high to grab, simply call for a winged green dolphin to fly you up to pluck it from its perch. Like the first game, you can be as experimental as you please but the added adjective system should allow for even greater creativity, hopefully ending the reliance on using a rope and helicopter for every puzzle like so many of us used in Scribblenauts 1.

Super Scribblenauts is scheduled for an Autumn 2010 release for the DS.Two more screenshots can be found after the break.

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TIME’s top 10 video games of 09

TIME magazine have put together their top 10 lists for the year with video games being no exception. There are a few oddities and some serious questionable placements too that will no doubt cause many an arguments to come. Taking the number 1 spot is unsurprisingly Modern Warfare 2 which I can only agree with. It was a fantastic experience that will linger on for many months thanks to all the multiplayer options available. Next up comes Batman: Arkham Asylum. I am yet to see all the brilliance I keep getting told BAA features but don’t deny that it is a good game. I just don’t believe it’s a great game. I think it is a definite top 10 but maybe not so high. More confusion for me comes with DJ Hero. Just why is it at number 3? Why indeed is it in the chart altogether? TIME believe that it offers something new to the genre of rhythm games but neglected to mention its disturbingly poor sales. Each to their own I guess. Borderlands follows at number 4 which I personally would have placed at number 2 due to it’s continuing offerings of fun. New Super Mario Bros. Wii sits right in the middle at 5 which seems a bit harsh to me as it’s not only selling like crazy but a Mario platfomer in its purest form. I’m glad Halo 3: ODST gets a mention because I feel that game has been given some unnecessary criticism but was surprised to see both Assassin’s Creed 2 and Uncharted 2 only place at numbers 9 and 10 respectfully. I suppose not all games can chart at the top but I would have expected them to do so. Read on to see the full chart and have a little think as to what would your top 10 look like…

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Short and sweet

Scribblenauts - just one year for all this?

Jeremiah Slaczka, co-founder of 5th Cell who just last Friday released Scribblenauts in Europe, didn’t sound best pleased when speaking of 5th Cell’s development cycle for the game (reports TVG). According to him, it only took a year and three months to make Scribblenauts from start to finish which is a pretty impressive feat though does explain the slightly dodgy controls and collision detection. Slaczka said “That’s probably the only thing I don’t like about 5th Cell’s development. It’s just how it is. That’s the way it is. We’re competing against companies like Square Enix and Nintendo, triple-A products.” It almost seems like the time was forced upon them and is further strengthened when he went onto say “People hold us to the same standard, which I’m totally fine with – I want them to hold us to that standard. But [companies like Square Enix] get three years, and I get one year. That’s the big difference. I feel like a boxer with one hand tied between my back. I can make incredible stuff in three years, you know. I made Scribblenauts in one year. What could I make in three years with their budget? That’s just how it is. That’s just what you have to deal with.” Hmm, so just why did such a promising game get such a short development cycle? I guess only Slaczka and the rest of his team will know. The future is looking bright for 5th Cell however as they’re currently working on an XBLA game which is “going to be pretty big. It’s going to be really cool” apparently. I look forward to that one!

Fils my wrath

Reggie himself - thanks

The big man at Nintendo, Reggie Fils-Aime, was interviewed by The Washington Post where he ‘laid down some smack talk’ about the PSPgo. To be honest, it’s not that bad but he does question the newly launched handheld’s reason for existing. He said “[The PSPgo has a] fundamental concept problem in terms of ‘Who’s it for?’ and ‘What’s the benefit?'” But of course, Fils-Aime has the “utmost respect for all our competitors, but it’s interesting to try and answer the consumer question of ‘What’s in it for me?’ in that product.” And what of those competitors? Personally I think the DS much like the Wii has carved out it’s own market and isn’t really competing with anyone at the moment but naturally, a top dog at Nintendo has a comment all lined up. He referred to the brilliant but flawed Scribblenauts when saying “That’s a fabulous experience that can only be brought to life on the DS” and such an experience wouldn’t/couldn’t be found on the App Store. From what I’ve seen so far on the App Store, I’d have to agree but do think with the amount of dribble on Nintendo’s downloadable service, DSiWare, Fils-Aime should be careful with his quotes.

In regards to his comments on who’s the PSPgo for that’s easy. Sony are not replacing the existing PSP models but selling the newbie alongside it. It’s not aimed at previous owners but for potential consumers looking for a great multimedia experience, therefore the PSPgo’s main competitor is the iPod Touch. If you’re into your epic games with high a production and continuing creditable developers, then PSPgo is for you. What’s the benefit? The things I just mentioned Reggie.

{Thanks Joystiq}

Scribblenauts extended impressions

Maxwell plus giraffe equals fun!

After my initial impressions of Scribblenauts I feel I must write a follow up as my opinion of the game has altered somewhat. Not necessarily to a darker place but my jubilation for the game has become a little tainted. The biggest flaw Scribblenauts has is the mechanics and control of character Maxwell. Tapping on the screen in the direction where you wish him to be simply doesn’t work as well as it should and lacks the precision needed for some puzzle solutions. You could spend a good few minutes setting up Rube Goldberg style scene or even just placing a plank of wood over a gap to win that illusive Starite and the game’s physics will fail with the execution. It’s not a constant occurrence but when it does happen it gets tedious quickly. Take the plank of wood scenario. When Maxwell was directed to cross said plank he instead ran straight into it, pushing it into the gap and falling in with it. Not what I intended. Controlling him with the D-pad would have worked much better but this is used to direct the camera along with the face buttons. Like I say, it can get very annoying as I found myself doing the same puzzle multiple times because in theory, the solution I chose should have worked but the game didn’t allow it to. That being said, I still find myself moving onto the next puzzle, going through similar issues but continuing to play and having fun – it just may take a little longer to get there.

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