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Scribblenauts Remix (iOS)
Game Reviews

Scribblenauts Remix (iOS)

5th Cell’s iOS port of the innovative vocabulary puzzler is the best Scribblenauts yet, with improved controls, Cloud syncing, and fun that’s limited only by your imagination.

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Warner Bros. Interactive, along with 5th Cell and Iron Galaxy Studios bring the creative fun of the Nintendo DS title Super Scribblenauts to iOS devices in Scribblenauts Remix. There’s plenty of fun to be had as you guide the adventurous Maxwell through a world where the fun is only limited by your vocabulary and imagination. Chances are if you can spell it, you can use it, ride it, or wear it on screen in this wonderful, innovative title that is bound to captivate iOS gamers of all kinds.

You’ll guide Maxwell, a spiky-haired boy who enjoys solving problems while also collecting star-like objects called Starites. It’s a good thing he enjoys doing both, as he’s thrown into challenges one after another that also have a Starite he can earn after he completes them. It’s up to you to help him overcome by typing in nouns with adjectives in his magical notebook that allows you to create objects to assist you. The simple controls help make things easy to get into, as you just tap and hold on the respective side of the screen you want him to move towards, while he will jump over holes and obstacles automatically. Dragging two fingers around the screen moves the camera, and tapping on Maxwell’s face at the top of the screen will focus the camera back on him. There’s also an option to have two virtual joysticks for movement and camera if you don’t like the default control setup.

But the main feature you’ll be utilizing is the notebook icon at the top of the screen. This is where you can let your imagination run free by typing in all sorts of crazy things that will spring to life and help you solve any problems you come across. For example, if there’s a forest blocking your path, you could type in “giant hungry rainbow beaver”, and sure enough, a giant hungry rainbow beaver will appear and eat the trees. Or say you need to protect people from a monster, you could just type “dragon” to summon a dragon that will fight off the monster, but you can have fun with it by typing in “tiny zombie dragon” or “giant peaceful dragon” for different results. Want to try another creation? Just give your iOS device a quick shake to delete your object, and type in something else to make something new.

Once you get a taste of this kind of this sandbox freedom and fun, you’ll never want to go back to regular problem solving games again. And if you do get stuck, there’s a question mark icon you can tap for a hint, as you start off with one, and can earn two more as you progress through a stage. But as long as you think outside the box to solve the problems you run into, you should never get stuck on any of the 50 stages here. 40 are from the DS games, while 10 are all-new to this version.

While Scribblenauts was already nice looking on the DS, it has never looked better thanks to the clean, high-res visuals of the iOS devices you can use this universal app on. Those used to the controls from the Nintendo handheld will enjoy the using the touchscreen keyboard versus tapping out words with the stylus. And for those who enjoyed the fun music and sounds will be glad to know that they’re all here, and are sure to give you a nice, cheery feeling as you make your way through.

Also, since the game was among the first titles to be made specifically for iOS 5, it comes with the ability to sync your game progress on your iCloud account. Once you set it up, you can play and resume your game between your iOS devices seamlessly, much like when you watch videos on Netflix. So if you’re playing a stage on your iPhone and want to switch over to the iPad, you can. And there’s no special technique to it, as you just start the game on your device and play where you left off.

There are a few flaws here, but odds are you’ll be having too much fun to really care about them. Some may feel that the stages are a little too easy, as most can be solved in 30 seconds or less, and that only 50 stages is not enough. There’s also a lot of missing features from the DS version, such as the action mode, a replay mode where you have to solve a puzzle three times without repeating words, and the level editor is sadly missing as well. The only mode featured here is the playground mode, which allows you to create anything you want without an objective. So if you’ve been wanting to see a battle between a “giant rainbow bear” versus a “giant zombie God”, this is the place to make it happen. For $5 on iOS versus $20 for the DS version, you really can’t complain too much.

Perhaps more levels and modes will be available in future updates, but the playground mode alone should keep most happy and entertained for awhile. And there’s also Game Center achievements you can share and compare with friends and others, along with your high scores.

While it may be too easy for some, and lacks a few of the extra modes from the DS version, Scribblenauts Remix is still one of the best iOS titles out there. Some may also think the $5 price tag is steep for a game you can beat fairly quickly, but with it’s entertaining premise that’s limited only by your imagination and vocabulary, there’s plenty of fun and bang for your buck to be had here for gamers of all ages. It’s a shame that so many of the DS version’s features aren’t available here, but by focusing on tighter controls and gameplay, this is easily the best version of the game yet, and future updates may only make it even better. If you’re looking for something different to play on your iOS device, give Scribblenauts Remix a try, as I’m willing to bet that you won’t find a “joyus zombie clown” anywhere else.

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10/12/2011

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9+

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Warner Bros. Interactive

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About the Author: Chris Mitchell