Review: Scribblenauts: Unmasked

By October 4, 2013
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As I’ve mentioned previously in my writing at GeekNation, everyone who is anyone loves mashups these days… especially when they consists of two completely different things that people enjoy. For instance, picture a world where you are immersed in a certain medium (let’s say in this instance, comic books), and combine it with the ability to pretty much do whatever you want by manipulating the entire comic book universe. On the last leg of my NYC visit with Warner Bros. Interactive last month, I was pleasantly surprised as well as amused at what I was shown.

Scribblenauts Unmasked

The game is called Scribblenauts: Unmasked, published by WBI and developed by 5th Cell. For those unfamiliar with the Scribblenauts franchise, you play as Maxwell, a young boy whose father gave him a magic notepad with the ability to conjure up an infinite amount of random items and people as well as the capability to give them their own specific characteristics by using adjectives.

In this installment, Maxwell and his sister Lily travel to the DC Comics universe after a debate on who the better superhero is. Upon arrival, Lily’s magical globe is shattered, releasing Starites (which power the globe) into various locations such as Gotham City, Metropolis, Oa, etc. This, of course, is where our hero Maxwell comes in. Your objective is pretty simple: find and collect all of the missing Starites to get Maxwell and Lily back home. There’s a catch, though.

In addition to Maxwell and Lily arriving in the DC world, Maxwell’s doppelganger (aptly named Doppleganger) is helping the DC villains collect Starites before you do. While you travel to different worlds, you are required to assist people in order to gain more points. These points are essentially like money, in order to purchase various items as well as unlock more levels. There is also a “challenge mode” of sorts where Superman baddie Mr. Mxyzptlk entices you to play for more points by limiting what you can type. In one challenge, for instance, you can only spawn female superheroes.

As simple as the game seems, there’s a bit of skill involved in advancing to different levels. For example, using the same word in the same level more than once deducts 50% or more of the possible points you can collect for assisting someone. You could approach someone who needs a wheel for their bike and then later in the level you may need a second wheel for something and use the word “tire” instead.

Scribblenauts 2

Like I mentioned earlier, you have an endless supply of nouns (including pretty much the ENTIRE DC Universe) and adjectives at your disposal, sometimes to the point where it gets very humorous. Between tasks, I was in the Batcave and decided to spawn “General Zod,” who immediately engaged Batman. I then threw in the adjective “Peaceful” to characterize both Batman and Zod, who then stopped fighting. Later, I added “gassy” to Batman…you can figure out what happened next.

Besides being able to purchase locations, items, and costumes, you are also given the ability to build your own superhero. During the preview, we created a superhero made from a green banana with Aquaman’s head. It was rather amusing to see, especially when DC superheroes and villains were brought into the fray. At one point, a character grabbed the Banana Man (who was made “portable”) and placed him under their arm.

Scribblenauts 3

Scribblenauts: Unmasked is out now for Wii U, 3DS, and PC. The Wii U version also includes the option to bring a friend along for 2-player action. Even if you’re not a full-on DC Comics fan like myself, you’re definitely going to be playing for hours on end in order to see what you can create, as well as how your creations can be manipulated. The applications are endless!

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New York-based John J. is the creator/Chief Operating Officer of [adult swim] central as well as the co-founder of ACPN. He is also the host of The Swimcast, co-host of Adventure Club Podcast, and writes for various outlets such as The Other View and GeekNation. John J's favorite movie of all time is Back to the Future and his favorite color is blue. John J. is available for podcast fill-ins, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs. Never submerge John J. in warm water. Email.