The original Scribblenauts was one of those odd games that set itself a ridiculously high goal then not only met it, but exceeded it. The thought of a game with a library of many tens of thousands of nouns that players could type out and instantly spawn seemed impossible, but developers 5th Cell did it, embedding their miracle dictionary in a quirky puzzle game to keep things interesting.
The sequel, Super Scribblenauts, added adjectives to make for even more possibilities and even more fiendishly head-scratching conundrums. Now with Scribblenauts Unlimited hitting Wii U, Maxwell comes to a home console for the first time, and with the biggest Scribblenauts to date. Not only does it have all the nouns included to date, but allows you to create your own.
Yes, the big addition this time is the object creator. No longer are you limited to spawning real things like angry dinosaurs or green kettles; this time you can build your own stuff using parts from different objects then add your creations to the game's object library.
Now that angry dinosaur can be a flying dinosaur with baguettes for legs, whisks for arms and a mouth that shoots out a never-ending supply of peaches. You can even add simple AI rules for your creation using similar tools to those given to 5th Cell's designers. Despite your dinosaur's fruit-based threat, you could make him a coward by adding a timid personality and setting it to run away if it sees a mouse.
Or, if you want the peaches it fires to have something of a magical quality, why not create human characters who turn into zombies whenever they're hit with a peach? Yes, these ideas are insane, but the great thing is they're no longer the sort of ramblings you'd find written in crayon in a madman's diary - they're real possibilities in Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Once you've completed your creation you'll be able to share it with your friends, unleashing flying dinosaur fruit armageddon on their own game worlds. It's not yet entirely clear whether or not you'll also be able to upload objects to the Miiverse in some way for everyone to use, but we'll be keeping our fingers and toes tightly crossed that becomes a reality when the game's released.
Mindless creation is only so much fun. Gods need purpose, too. Otherwise they get bored and start playing silly buggers à la Clash of the Titans. This is where 5th Cell's level designers step in. What made previous Scribblenauts so compelling were puzzles that required you to think up how you would solve them if you had any object in the world.
The countless different ways of solving each puzzle, and the surprising difficulty of rooting through the tens of thousands of items at your disposal, made Scribblenauts' puzzles addictive. This time things get even better.
Rather than simply being split into small levels as in its predecessors, the stages in Scribblenauts Unlimited are large open-world levels containing many different characters and missions. There'll be around 400 small missions like the ones in the DS games to keep you busy, and completing each of these earns you a shard of a Starite. On top of this though, there are also 80 or so larger missions that see you performing a series of themed tasks that take place over the whole level. One example given to us was a mission in which you have to guide a chap through his love life, starting by wooing a lady, arranging dates for him and ultimately setting up a wedding.
It goes without saying that Scribblenauts Unlimited is set to be the biggest and best game in the series to date. With the new object creation mode, the new world layout, the usual batch of new words added (frog suit and tanooki suit, anyone?) and the addition of co-op gameplay (with one person on the GamePad and others using the Wii Remote pointer), this is looking like another must-have game for the Wii U.