Scribblenauts has always been a franchise I’ve loved. The original on the DS did something completely different, it was a genuinely unique experience as well as an excellent puzzle game. In 2018 the franchise has amassed numerous entries, each varying in content and quality. The Scribblenauts Mega Pack is the hands down best way to experience this wonderful, colourful and unique franchise. Containing two full games, Scribblenauts Unlimited & Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, there is an absolute ton of content in the package. Each game has two full new areas which are larger than 90% of the other individual levels from the originals.
Release Date: 18th September 2018
Size: 2.03 GB
Developed By: Originally by 5th Cell, new content and port completed by Shiver
Published By: Warner Bros Interactive
Unlimited has a very sweet story that sees both Maxwell and his sister Lily, the youngest of their family, gifted two very special items. One is a Globe which allows you to travel anywhere, the other is a Notebook which can create anything. You can immediately see how that could lead to mischief and, unsurprisingly, it does. After a mean prank, Lily finds herself in grave peril and Maxwell must gather the magical, mystical starites in order to save her life. The story doesn’t bog down the gameplay in any way and only serves to give you a feeling of progression as you unlock more levels.
Unmasked has a lot more dialogue and story. Another disaster occurs with starites at the heart of the tale yet again, Maxwell and Lily must work with DC’s finest to gather them and save the world in the process. It says a lot that DC’s darkest characters, including the first three villains introduced: hitman Deadshot, psychotic serial killer Zsasz and the Clown Prince of Crime all look totally adorable and fit into the cute world perfectly. The DC knowledge is extensive and excellent and that’s what makes this such a special game. It’s not only a fun puzzle game for all ages, it’s a DC fan’s dream.
For those unfamiliar, Scribblenauts is a puzzle series. Using Maxwell’s magic notebook you can spawn anything you imagine, from Aardvarks to Zyzzyva, which is some sort of weird ant thing. You can also add adjectives to words to add an extra element or even just outrightly solve puzzles. One early level in Unmasked sees you having to fix Commissioner Gordon’s ‘Broken Police Car’. Just change the adjective to fixed and boom, solved. Say there’s an enemy that’s annoying you, you can literally just make them ‘sleeping’ or if you’re feeling devious, ‘dead’. The game stops it from becoming too simple by making certain things immune to adjectives.
In terms of gameplay, everything works. The dial scheme for typing is just as intuitive as a touchscreen. Frankly the depth on offer is astonishing. The fact that the game knows how to put adjectives into action, never mind that it understands every object and how they work, is incredible in action. It’s really satisfying to come up against a particularly tricky puzzle and solve it in a way that’s outrageous. The simple solution will probably come to you afterwards but that’s the boring, easy way out. Unmasked even rewards you for creativity and punishes you for repetition. The next paragraph will specifically look at Unlimited then the following one will be Unmasked.
Unlimited is the best place to start for a beginner. The gameplay is far simpler and the story less involving. Each area is unique and based on something from real life, from Ancient Egypt to a High School, and the challenges are tailored to fit the aesthetic. Each level has some basic puzzles that are easy to solve, they can involve finding objects in the level to summoning something to help someone out. One example is having to wake a crash test dummy. Defibrillators solve it in no time. Each level also has at least one longer section. These are challenges which see you fulfilling three plus objectives in order to satisfy the conditions. One is appeasing the inhabitants of a Ghost Ship. You’ll give each something which tied them to their former selves using the hints available. These are fun but can be frustrating. If you fail at the third or fourth objective you have to restart from the very beginning. Sometimes there’s trial and error required, your imagination can lead to a lot of errors. This extends to levels as well, you will accidentally spawn something that will kill NPCs leading to you having to restart levels. Fortunately this is a quick process.
Unmasked is slightly more complex. It completely retains all the charm but requires a basic DC knowledge. Luckily the Batcomputer will help to fill in the blanks, this is a huge database with details on characters that even hardcore comic fans will never have heard of. It’s a sign of the love that’s been poured into the game. Each challenge is slightly comic book themed, even if it’s just clearing the fires left behind by a villain who has rampaged through Gotham. A fire extinguisher does the trick, or you could summon Aquaman instead. The Reputation points system brings a whole new level of gameplay to Unmasked. The more creatively you solve puzzles in each area, the bigger the reward. This can be ramped up further if you accept the challenge of Mr Mxyzptlk. He (it?) will lay down some tough restrictions, such as only being able to use words beginning with one set letter, on you. It’s fun and forces you to be even more creative than before.
Graphics and Sound
Playing on PS4 the game looks very sharp. The cartoony, colourful graphics do pop and each object is clearly defined. Never do you look at something and be unsure of what it is. Colour is important in Scribblenauts, it can be added as an adjective to every item. Luckily both games do a brilliant job of making it really stand out. The one issue is on the World Map. I’m unsure why but the graphics here are blurry and with the exception of lime green the other colours lose their brightness and go a bit bland. It’s odd but only a minor issue. The flipside of this is the loading is so quick the Flash would be emasculated by it so you won’t spend much time on the map.
Audio is excellent as well. The soundtrack is soft and relaxing and reflects the tone of each area. In the desert you’ll get a tune that works for the environment. Sound effects are the same. Dragon’s roar, fire flames, wind howls, people screech in terror and pain (from the Dragon) and Cows moo. There’s no voice acting, which isn’t a deal breaker in any way. If anything a lot of the charm comes from character’s speech bubbles scrawling across the screen. The music on each level in Unmasked is equally wonderful and suitable. The Batcave is dour and dark while somethere like OA has a stronger, more epic overture.
This is an amazing package that’s easily recommendable. If you’re a Scribblenauts fan then it’s for you. If you’re a DC fan it’s for you. If you like puzzle games it’s for you. If you’re a parent looking for something fun to play with a child(or yourself) it’s for you. If you want to improve your child’s vocabulary it’s for you. It has a gobsmacking amount of content which could keep you busy for upwards of thirty hours, and it contains a platinum trophy on PS4 to add extra incentive to the 100%. Both games are full fledged and for the low price of £24.99 in the UK, there is a load of value in the package. You’re really only limited here by your own imagination.
Scribblenauts Mega Pack£24.99
- Ton of fun
- So much content
- Calling in Cthulhu and letting chaos commence
- DC comics love
- Genuinely intriguing puzzles
- Some convoluted puzzles
- World map blur
- Couple of (minor) glitches
- Having to fully restart missions upon failure