Nowadays, it’s rare that I actually play a game that could conceivably be called “current”. The last time I did so was probably Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. With the advent of the latest Humble Bundle (As of this writing, the Humble WB Bundle), I decided to grab some games I had been meaning to pick up, for a total of $5. One game in the bunch that I hadn’t necessarily intended to play, but was intrigued by, was Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Released in 2012, Scribblenauts Unlimited is the fourth game in the Scribblenauts series. I had remembered the hype surrounding the original Scribblenauts, which revolved around the fact that, essentially, anything you could think of, you could draw in the game. Not owning a DS or iDevice, I missed out on actually playing the games prior to Unlimited, but jumped at the chance to play it in the Humble WB Bundle. I have to say that I’m glad I did.
The plot of Scribblenauts Unlimited revolves around Maxwell and his sister Lily. Maxwell has a magical notebook that can create anything he can think of. One day, he and Lily come across an old man who begs for some food. As a prank, Maxwell creates a rotten apple for the man. Angered by this, the old man places a curse on Lily that will slowly turn her to stone. The curse can only be broken with Starites, which are obtained by making people happy and solving their problems.
There are actually three ways to earn more Starites. The first is by completing multiple-part levels-within-levels that earn you complete Starite, such as defending against a zombie invasion or finding Santa, who has gone missing. The second is by helping people within the larger levels–these people usually need a single item or adjective, and helping them gets you a Starite Shard, ten of which form a complete Starite. The third method is “Object Shards”, essentially a “bonus” method of earning shards by creating specific objects that the game is looking for. Fortunately, the game gives you hints as to what objects will earn you these shards. Further, if you get stumped during the multi-part complete Starite tasks, the game will usually all but give you the answer if you wait along enough and then click the question mark that appears above the person’s head.
Graphically, the game can best be described as “whimsical”, which helps the fun factor, and prevents you from getting too creeped out if you do what I do, which is to try and find the most ludicrous solution possible that the game will nonetheless accept. I cancelled Christmas multiple times, most notably by turning a reindeer radioactive to help it glow. Yes, it killed Santa and everything else in the immediate vicinity–but darn if that reindeer didn’t shine bright! The music is unobtrusive and relaxing for the most part, which is about all you can ask for in a puzzle game like this.
In terms of challenge, I was able to solve most everything either myself, or given the in-game hints. There were about five Starite shards I needed to Google certain terms in the hints given to find the exact word the game was looking for, one I stumbled on mostly through dumb luck after Googling turned up nothing, and one where a person in my stream chat gave me the answer. Even in the case of that final one, though, I was on the right logical path, I just hadn’t fully grasped the mechanics of the game (IE you could add adjectives to things/people). Still, you only need to grab slightly more than half of the total Starites to beat the game.
While you only need to get 60 of the 106 total Starites to beat the game, I went ahead and got everything in it, which took me about 20 hours according to Steam. For the next 42 hours or so as of this writing, this is available as part of the latest Humble Bundle, where paying more than the average price (Currently $4.76) gets you not only Scribblenauts Unlimited, but a bunch of other quality games, namely the first two Batman Arkham games. Even if you only get Scribblenauts Unlimited itself at that price, it’s worth it.