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on October 17, 2010
(Pros/Cons at the end)

I never played the first Scribblenauts. I recall the buzz it made at E3 2009 with its write-anything, create-anything gameplay, but I just never got around to buying it.

That's a good thing, though, because Super Scribblenauts is the perfect entry into the series for first-time scribblers. With revamped controls, improved physics, and the addition of adjectives, Super Scribblenauts is probably what the first game should have been all along.

The game puts you in the shoes of Maxwell, who must solve puzzles and overcome obstacles with the help of--well, virtually anything you can think of. The crux of Scribblenauts is the notepad, where you can write anything that comes to mind--be it a ladder, a tiger, a gun, a panda, and so on--and see it (usually) come to life in the game world.

This, as you can imagine, opens up a wealth of creative possibilities. One early puzzle in the game tasks you with making a lion go to sleep. A possible solution is to write in "moon," which summons a moon and turns the sky dark, allowing the lion to sleep. Another solution is to summon a tranquilizer gun and shoot the lion with it. You can even write in "sleepy meat" and feed it to the lion, who will become sleepy in turn.

This is where adjectives come into play. From what I've heard about the first game, you could only summon objects, which in itself is a powerful idea. But here, you can give life to the craziest corners of your imagination: a vampiric, purple, striped, floating, friendly panda is not out of the question. Whether that panda will give you any use toward any of the game's 120 levels is another issue, but it's something you can play with endlessly in the game's "sandbox" title screen.

The story levels themselves range from genuinely brainteasing to somewhat uninspired. The aforementioned "sleepy lion" level is an early standout, while another level in which you have to summon specific types of food is merely so-so. The game shines when it encourages you to discover strange solutions, but it falls when the answers are limited to obvious outcomes.

That's why the title screen sandbox is such a gamesaver. When you're itching to stretch your creative muscles, or to test the game's dictionary, you're free to summon all sorts of things and see how they play out in the game's world. You can create, erase, and create all over again to your heart's content. Put Santa Claus on a friendly winged velociraptor, if you wish.

Scribblenauts is flexible in that its levels are all bite-sized affairs, easy for those playing on the go, and yet there's enough of a pull from the core creative gameplay that you can sit for hours and still not get bored. Even so, those 120 levels will go by quickly, so Scribblenauts certainly isn't an epic game. But it's thankfully extended by the option to replay most levels in "advanced" mode, where you have to complete a level three times in a row by using different objects each time. You can re-use the same objects from the very first time you played the level, so really you're coming up with two new solutions, not three, but that probably makes it easier on the brain in some instances. I just wish I could turn off the hint pop-ups in advanced mode--I don't need to be told to do the same objective three times in a row.

Overall, Scribblenauts is a great, fun--and funny!--game. I'm giving it four stars because it stands as an extremely solid title, but a few issues (like only being able to share custom levels with friends) prevent it from the legendary greatness of a five-star game. Even so, this is one of the coolest games for the DS, and it's suitable for all ages. It's even a great title for parents to bond with their children by solving puzzles together and giving suggestions to the youngsters on what to summon. Highly recommended.

Pros:

+ This is a great first point of entry into the series. Since there's no real plot, you can start this game without needing to have played the first Scribblenauts.

+ The achievement-like Merit system is an addictive way to encourage you to try certain things in the game, and Merits can be earned even in the title screen sandbox.

+ Buying costumes for Maxwell is a lot of fun. You can play as a girl, if you want to, even though you're still technically Maxwell in disguise.

+ The game offers purchasable hints if you're really stumped in a level, and these hints will even unlock on their own if you wait long enough.

+ Adjectives. I can't imagine playing Scribblenauts without them!

+ Two different control schemes: stylus only, or the d-pad/buttons. Both schemes are lefty-friendly.

+ The custom level creator is fun and very easy to use.

+ Most levels aren't timed, giving you room to think.

+ 3 save slots, so multiple people can enjoy this game without stepping on each other's toes.

+ The in-game dictionary is impressive. You can summon a surprising range of things, and they'll be relatively accurate. (I was very surprised to find I could create a Teratorn.)

+ This game will make you actually reach for a dictionary just to see what kinds of fun things you can summon. A great way to expand vocabulary and sharpen spelling!

+ In-game spelling suggestions can lead you to new, strange objects.

Cons:

- Custom levels can only be shared with friends. I can only imagine how long the life of this game could be extended if the developers let people share levels with the world.

- Some of the story levels are uninspired.

- Not every object behaves as it should, or as you'd expect it to. Some objects are copies of others, or are otherwise useless.

Recommended for:

* Creative children (probably ages 6 and up, because you need to know basic spelling and language to effectively play the game).

* Creative adults (who will totally feel their inner child awaken as they play this game).

* People who want some novelty in their games.

* People who haven't played the first Scribblenauts and want another great title for their DS.

Things to note:

* This game, Super Scribblenauts, is the second game in the series. Scribblenauts is the first game. Their boxes and titles are very similar, so pay close attention if you're purchasing this as a gift for someone.
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on October 13, 2010
I bought the original last year and the superior sequel this year. I am a >30 year old male and love this series. As a kid playing videogames I always wondered why I couldn't kick open locked doors or use a rope in my inventory to rappel down a cliff. I was always limited to what the developers wrought. Nothing against them, I love a good scripted game.

When, in the first game I used a helicopter with a carrot to coax a cow to move out of a traffic jam; a sound that I hadn't heard in a looong time ushered from my lips. I was giggling.

This game recreates that moment and more. Having an undead haunted chair scare a purple spotted baby made me giggle, as much as having a pregnant zombie monkey ravage a bouncy, angry zoo.

Now I KNOW its not for everyone, and I do have a hard time explaining my fascination to other adults, but this is the best lego box I've played with in 2 decades.

What can you expect from Super Scribblenauts?
You can expect to see a grown man giggle at a gentlemanly giant spider. Monocles and all.
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on October 14, 2010
For those who don't remember, Scribblenauts was supposed to be one of the greatest video games ever made. It had a library of tens of thousands of objects you could summon and combine in virtually infinite ways. Alas, the game suffered from quirky physics and horrendous controls. You could spend an enormous amount of time creating an elaborate solution to a puzzle, only to have the main character misinterpret a screen tap and throw himself off a cliff or casually blow himself up.

I am extremely pleased to report that 5th Cell seems to have learned from their mistakes and have fixed all those issues with their sequel, Super Scribblenauts.

The game physics have been greatly improved. In the original, connected objects tended to flail around. If you attached a chain to a stick, your character would thrash about like he was insane. Placing a magnet on top of a car would cause the car to fly off the screen and disappear. These flaws have been fixed in Super Scribblenauts. Gravity behaves more normally and things no longer float around when attached to each other.

Even more important, the controls have been fixed. You now have the option of using the stylus or the D-pad. If you decide to use the touch screen to move, you'll find that Maxwell isn't jumpy like in the original game. He keeps his feet on the ground unless he needs to jump and he doesn't run off if you accidentally tap the wrong place on the screen. You also can no longer accidentally drop objects; tapping on yourself brings up a menu instead. You can now take objects away from NPCs, something you couldn't easily do in the original. The camera also stays wherever you put it, instead of returning to Maxwell automatically.

The new version of the game adds adjectives to its already enormous dictionary. So now instead of merely summoning a "car", you can be specific and summon a "blue car", a "small car" or a "wooden car". You can use multiple adjectives, so you can even summon a "small blue wooden car". On one puzzle, I tried summoning a "romantic dinner" and ended up with a steak with heart thought balloons.

The hint system has also been improved. Hints cost money, but the amount required decreases the longer you keep trying at the level. Eventually the game will provide the hints for free if you try long enough.

In the original game, there wasn't much incentive to be creative with the objects you summon; I ended up using "wings" on almost every single level that required flying or climbing. Super Scribblenauts on the other hand rewards originality. Each new word you use gets you money, so it pays to break out the thesaurus.

Super Scribblenauts is everything Scribblenauts should have been. It's a shame the designers didn't get it right the first time, but at least they learned from their mistakes and got the sequel right.
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on September 24, 2011
My kids age 9 and 13 have XBOX 360, Wii, and DSi. They have had in the past Gamecube, original XBOX, Playstation, DS, Gameboy, Leapster, Vsmile. Of all the years, and platforms, I would put this game in the top 10. I am amazed that even after having it for over a year, they both continue to come back to it, and enjoy hours of re-play. I am also impressed that it is so educational. They learn spelling, and new ways of thinking. I even have to use my brain sometimes to help them with spelling, or to think of a creative way of solving the problem.
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on January 21, 2012
Since I never played the first Scribblenauts game, I didn't know what to expect when I ordered this one. I'm happy with what I got! I had hoped for a game with a central storyline, where I would be progressing through increasingly difficult levels by conjuring up objects to help me along the way. It turned out that wasn't the case at all, this game is just a big collection of unrelated puzzles, with easy and difficult ones all jumbled together. Once I got over this initial disappointment, I had a lot of fun with it.

Basically the idea is that for each puzzle, you have to create objects to accomplish a certain task. For instance, you might have to come up with something that will put an angry lion to sleep, cause a dinosaur extinction, or appease a hungry bear. You may also have to conjure objects that you can perform actions with, like a car to drive or a shovel to dig with. You also might have to use adjectives to complete a puzzle, like populating a scene with scary horror monsters by creating an "evil puppy" or a "zombie giraffe." The game will produce (nearly) anything your brain can come up with, so you can go as mundane or wild as you want with it. This is strictly a puzzle game, so if you're looking for heavy action, look elsewhere.

Pros:
-Super creative gameplay makes this a nice change from typical puzzle games that only have one correct answer to each puzzle
-Most levels can be replayed in "challenge" mode where you have to solve the same puzzle with three different solutions. Most puzzles have one obvious solution, but coming up with three is a real challenge in some cases.
-Different types of levels keeps gameplay diverse enough to be interesting. Some levels may require you to analyze similarities between objects to come up with parallel objects, some levels require you to navigate an obstacle course, and some require you to interact with other characters or creatures in some way. Some are extremely easy while some truly stretch your imagination!
-The "hints" system is just right, giving you a few nudges in the right direction when you need them without actually solving the puzzles for you
-Most of the puzzles are untimed, so you're limited only by your own creativity!

Cons:
-While you can conjure anything you want, the objects don't always behave in the way you expect. I conjured up a hypnotist to put a lion to sleep, but he just wandered around aimlessly.
-The game is strangely picky about which solutions it will accept sometimes. Occasionally it will accept one phrase, but not another that means exactly the same thing.
-The keyboard you use to name objects is over-sensitive. I was constantly having to backspace when it entered a letter twice.
-A lot of the puzzles have very similar solutions. A lot of them can be solved through a combination of jet packs, potions, and explosives.
-Like I said, this game is just a series of short puzzles with nothing really tying them together. This makes it a great game to just pick up and play for a few minutes here and there, but it also means it can tend to get dull quickly.
-The game doesn't seem to get progressively difficult. I would have liked it better if it started easy and got harder as you went along instead of hard and easy puzzles just being all mixed up together.

Overall, this game was a lot of fun and I can see myself going back to replay it many times. It's a must-buy for everyone who adores puzzle games!
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on January 31, 2012
We bought this for a 9 year old boy. When it came, it was a Spanish version. Fine, except nobody in our house has a good enough grasp on Spanish to use the game in Spanish mode. I didn't find anything on the internet that solved the problem although the problem was reported by several users. After an hour or so of my wife and I pecking away at it, it started working in English. Weird, but it gave me some perspective what it must be like to try to use an ATM in a foreign country.

Once it was in English, our boy loved the game. He would play it for hours at a time if we would let him. It requires creativity and challenges his spelling.
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on November 13, 2010
I bought this game for my 12 yr old daughter's birthday present. She loves it! It is challenging and still fun. The difficulty increases as the levels increase. It helps with spelling and vocabulary without her even knowing it's a learning game. She enjoys being able to create her own characters.
Great game, worth the money, definitely would recommend.
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on August 13, 2012
I bought this game for my niece (7 years old) and my nephew (5 years old). I was hoping that it would help my niece to increase her vocabulary, and encourage my nephew to learn his ABCs and get interested in spelling words. My niece loves reading and does not play many video games, and my nephew hates reading and loves playing video games. Well, turns out they both love this game and are having trouble sharing it, so I need to buy another copy! After a couple of days of playing the game my nephew had already improved his letter recognition. They have both been keeping my brother and sister-in-law busy helping them to enter new words into the game.
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on January 14, 2012
This game is everything the original Scribblenauts should have been! No more weird controls and accidental deaths due to it either. With all of the adjectives you can come up with, your creations will get even crazier! Is there any other game where tiny, careful, powerful, sluggish wings are a viable option for anything? Nope.

You can have even MORE fun in the Playground Start Screen now that you have adjectives to play with. The interactions are greatly improved as well. Though some of the items are repeats like in the last game.

My only gripe is that Super Scribblenauts is way too short for its own good. I would've loved to have more insane puzzles to mess around in. I guess that's what the Level Editor is for. There's even some items that have surprises. You'll have to find that out for yourself. ;-)

All in all, if you want a puzzle game where logic doesn't always make sense, Scribblenauts and Super Scribblenauts are the games for you.
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on July 18, 2013
When I purchased my 3DS XL, one of the first few games I got was this. After reading the reviews, I decided to try it. It didn't disappoint.

This is such a fun, charming, and creative game. The music is also very engaging. You play as Maxwell, and you must collect starites by creating objects. The sky is the limit. You type up the words and then presto, an object is formed. For example: You need to eradicate the dinosaurs without the use of weaponry or asteroids. Sometimes you're required to think outside the box. It's really fun to play with the words, especially with the game's massive vocabulary. There is a caveat: sometimes there are certain objects that do not fit. This game is child-friendly, so profane images aren't accepted by the game's data bank. I read a review where a person tried to create phallic images and was disappointed when the game didn't do that.

You receive a tutorial at the beginning in order to get you attuned with the controls and basic gameplay. You can either use the stylus or D-pad to move Maxwell.

I am a right-brained person, and consider myself creative. So this game appealed to me very much. It may look kiddish and the graphics aren't all that polished, but I think if you are in touch with your creative side and love solving puzzles, you will love this game, regardless of your age. I wished it was more open world. (Scribblenauts Unlimited is a sandbox mode.)

This game is suitable for people ages 5 - 100. It requires reading and spelling. (If you spell the word wrong, the game gives you the correct spelling.) It's a "fun" way to teach kids how to read and write. I find it very educational for a video game.
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