The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
If you enjoyed Scribblenauts, slipping into the sequel feels like meeting up with an old friend. The building blocks of the game remain unchanged, retaining the cleverness and replayability that made the original so charming. Instead of overhauling the basics, 5th Cell opted to augment the tried-and-true formula by adding adjectives and building upon the impressive vocabulary that brings your creativity to life.
Adjectives allow for increasingly humorous and complex methods of solving puzzles. When asked to make a cross between a building and an animal, successful solutions included a “furry condo,” and a “hairy house.” Sadly, a “drooling apartment” didn’t fulfill the criteria (fur was apparently a requirement), but summoning a salivating residence into existence was gratifying in its own right.
Maxwell’s available vocabulary isn’t the only thing that has expanded; the puzzles feel more varied, too. New challenges have you dueling a witch by summoning monsters with specific traits to counter her concoctions, matching ingredients in a grid according to a recipe, and even more complex chains of interactions like colonizing a planet. Even if I was slightly frustrated by a puzzle, curiosity always got the best of me and pushed me forward. “Just one more puzzle” is an easy habit to fall into.
Super Scribblenauts’ biggest downfall is the same as its predecessor’s. Because of the freedom of choice and the overall ambition of the project, it’s that much more disappointing when an elaborate scheme on your end doesn’t come to fruition. Some exclusions are mystifying in the library of 10,000-plus modifiers; I could summon a “mopey car,” but a “loud car” was out of the question. Additionally, a handful of objectives were cryptically worded, so much so that it took a lot of trial and error to even understand the goal.
Super Scribblenauts still stands head and shoulders above its puzzle brethren in terms of innovation and originality. The ability to tackle puzzles again to find new solutions, the addition of a puzzle creator, and special levels that focus on action-oriented play give Maxwell’s adventure surprising longevity.