There have been quite a few DC-based games in recent times, including Injustice: Gods Among Us, DC Universe Online, and the upcoming Infinite Crisis MOBA. The temptation to play as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and so on may just be a bit too much, which is why developers are starting to churn out DC games. Here’s another one, although in a more lighthearted tone wherein you get to help your favorite superheroes by making something out of nothing.
The previous title, Scribblenauts Unlimited, featured the expanded framework that this new title is built upon. When Scribblenauts first came out for the Nintendo DS, it was both fun and disappointing at the same time due to the hype built up for it. But the idea of being able to create just about anything to solve puzzles is quite enticing, and Scribblenauts Unmasked takes that same principle with some refinements and a lot of helping superheroes out with your own superpower, which is your special notebook.
In this game, Maxwell has somehow arrived in Gotham, where he sees Batman doing what he could to fight the Joker. Being rather familiar with getting help from young boys in his crime fighting affairs, Batman employs Maxwell’s invaluable assistance to score another one in the name of justice. As with Scribblenauts Unlimited, you go through each level and solve the puzzles in it before moving on to the next one to get all the Starites before the supervillains get their hands on them. Along the way, you encounter the other DC superheroes and help them out as well.
In terms of presentation, it still has the paper doll animation and 2D cartoon graphics that maintains consistency with the previous games. Maxwell is not the only familiar face here as 5th Cell has done well in translating the characters from DC into the Scribblenauts art style. Even after the novelty of playing with DC heroes has worn off, players can still feel engaged with all the different places to explore and the various puzzles to solve. The interface is easy enough to get used to in order to do all that stuff, especially being able to type on the PC and on the Wii U and 3DS touchscreen. It would have been way more tedious on other consoles.
As always with Scribblenauts games, this does its best to draw out the players’ creativity and problem solving skills. In terms of the puzzle game genre, the Scribblenauts series is known for being more open-ended than most other titles, and that’s its main charm. Adding over 2000 DC Comics characters into the mix gives this game an additional novelty factor in being able to help your favorite superheroes fight for justice and stuff with superpowers of your own courtesy of the notebook. You have powers almost like that of Green Lantern, but has a greater degree of versatility since you materialize real stuff out of nothing. In a sense, you can feel like a superhero in this game and the superheroes start depending on you for help.
There is also another feature that makes this game even more fun to play with, and is perhaps called for when you think about it. In the PC and Wii U versions, there is the Hero Creator that you can find in the Bat Cave. It’s like the Object Editor in Scribblenauts Unlimited, wherein you can augment something basic to create something more elaborate. In this case, you can create your own superhero or supervillain. Whether you want to add in some Marvel characters just because you want to or create something entirely your own, you have the flexibility to do so in this game. that actually is quite neat for this game, in which the theme is being able to create just about anything to do whatever you want.
But as always with Scribblenauts, its core gameplay is not without its flaws. For some people, especially those who may not be that into puzzle games, this game will feel a lot like a chore. There’s a lot of creating objects, then dragging them around, then getting rid of them if they don’t work, getting the NPCs to make use of them, and so on. It’s quite fiddly to say the least, and it’s not something that most people who didn’t like the first Scribblenauts would like to play, even with refinements over the years.
Some of the problems require solutions that are not exactly within the threads of logic, but that is mostly what this game tries to do. But then again, the Scribblenauts series is known for having stuff like H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos in its scribble library, which is unusual since proper nouns and anything that may have copyrights for obvious reasons. The more you can come up with long-winded and lopsided solutions to puzzles that actually works somehow, then the more fun you can have.
Perhaps this is not the best Scribblenauts game in terms of the puzzles, but it is perhaps the most fun, especially for DC fans. Being able to help out the superheroes by giving them stuff to work with, like armor, weapons, and some creative solutions to problems is a good selling point for this game. If you’re not a big Scribblenauts fan, but still want to play this some time, perhaps wait for a bit to get a sale on this title, if ever. But if you do fall into the demographics that would appreciate this game, then go get it by all means.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8/10