Mechanically Beautiful: Scribblenauts


Being able to customize and personalize my gaming experience is one of my favorite things about video games. Whether I am able to customize my character, adjust the plot of the game from my choices, or choose how to fight, I love being able to take part of a video game and make it my own unique experience. It’s no wonder, then, that I am so enamoured with “Scribblenauts”.

“Scribblenauts” is a series of puzzle games starting in 2009 with the original title game. The main concept of the game is fairly simple; you play as a boy named Maxwell, traveling around with his magic notebook to solve puzzles and help people, collecting Starites along the way. You solve puzzles by using the notebook to summon almost any object that you could think of. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that simple. But it certainly is a fun and creative way to solve puzzles. Much like “Portal”, this game takes the idea of solving puzzles into a whole new form. While the puzzles are relatively simple, it is always amusing to see the different kind of ways you can solve a puzzle. If one person tells you that they are hungry, the solution is obviously to bring them food. You could go on a simple route and give them a hamburger, or you could make it hilarious and feed them a puffer fish. The possibilities are almost endless, which gives the game great replay ability. Jeremiah Slaczka, the creator of “Scribblenauts”, has actually confirmed that there are at least 22,800 objects you can summon, and that’s only in the original game.

Not only is there a seemingly infinite amount of objects you can summon, but with the addition of “Super Scribblenauts” to the series, players can add adjectives to those objects as well. Finally, I can summon my giant, purple, dapper Cthulhu whenever my heart desires. The addition of adjectives just adds such an amazing and fun element to the game. Now your ways to solve puzzles can range even farther and be even more hilarious. You can also add adjectives to Maxwell or whoever you play as, so you can run around as a neon, flying ninja if you so desire. You also have the option to ride on animals or vehicles, such as my favorite, the flying, mustachioed platypus. So when I say that the possibilities seem endless, I really do mean it. You can even make your own ways to play. Right now I’m trying to see how many puzzles I can solve with a baby. I’m talking superhero, detective, throwable, flying. Any kind of baby imaginable. Even if the puzzles are relatively easy and the plot is simple, it’s impossible to not have fun whenever you play this game.

In terms of the game’s graphic style, the “Scribblenauts” series has a simple, colorful touch to it. All of the characters and objects have a very cute, chibi-esque look to them, which makes it even funnier when you spawn that giant, purple, dapper Cthulhu I mentioned before. Even though each game takes the form of a platformer, all areas, including the irrelevant background, remain well designed and cohesive throughout each area. Everything appears very flat, much like it would when drawn, which helps add to the theme and gameplay. The music for the series is also simple and cute, serving as bubbly background noise to help add to the creative and fun experience.

Overall, the “Scribblenauts” series is filled with amusing, creative games that can give you hours of mindless enjoyment. It’ll cheer you up whenever you’re feeling sad, help improve your brain function (somehow, I’m sure), and spruce your creativity. If you haven’t played any of these games, go do so. Tell me what you come up with! (Especially if it’s a baby)