Mad Libs: The Game

Platform: Nintendo DS Rating: E

Super Scribblenauts is the follow up to last year’s Scribblenauts ( I figured that out on my own).  The first game had a lot of promise due to it’s impressive vocabulary and innovative functionality. The basic premise was: you are given a level with an objective or series thereof. Using a notepad, you could write just about any noun, and that object would appear, allowing you to complete the objective.

Playing it, I couldn’t beleive two things: (1)The sheer number of words the game recognized was utterly astounding (nothing copy-written or dirty, of course) and (2) a few missteps almost completely sunk the whole damn thing.  First off, you could only control your character by tapping the area onscreen where you wanted him to go. For the love of God, game designers; I know the DS has a touch screen, but, unlike the damn iPhone, it also has several buttons. USE THEM. There are even directional buttons for just this sort of thing.

Photo enhancement courtesy of a semester as a graphic design major*

This wouldn’t have been a big problem, but some levels required finesse in movement, lest you fall to your death. Also, the game usually took these screen-taps as humble suggestions, rather than commands, making the whole endeavor about as responsive as a Mac Book on a hot plate.  If I wanted my passive suggestions blatantly ignored, I would be interacting with my wife, not playing video games.

Secondly, the puzzles were a little too open. In the end you could put just about whatever you wanted to in the level, usually bypassing the designers intention. This gave me what I call the “GTA Lulls” **.  Given too much freedom and I tend to screw around and get bored easily.

But, back to the present.  I’m glad they aren’t calling this Scribblenauts 2, because, frankly, that would be bullsh*t.  A more appropriate title would be Scribblenauts Done Been Fixed.  The game takes only takes two small strides forward: it adds D-pad movement for the main character, cutting down on swear-loudly-inpublic frustration.  Secondly, it adds the ability to use Adjectives. These small changes exponently add to the experience. They cleverly build a lot of the new puzzles around the adjective aspect, making it more cerebral.  For example, in the first game, a lot of puzzles were in the “Get past this bad guy” vein. By the end I was solving all of these puzzles by summoning Cthulhu to kill every motherf*cker on screen (Yes you could summon Cthulhu, which was a HUGE point in it’s favor). In Super Scribblenauts, it will give you, say,  a bunch of different entities and you have to summon one thing that has something in common with all of them.  This gives the game a very “Visual Riddle” feel to it, which I love.

Being a rich and successful (unpaid) blogger, I really don’t have time to play my DS for hours on end.  But, if I want to pull it out occasionally while at my laundromat penthouse suite to solve a puzzle or two, its a great little mind bender on the go.

Grade: B+

*At a community college, of course.

**As opposed to “GTA Lolz”, which is, of course, killing a hooker to get your paper back.

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