Along with "Peggle", another game that I have recently reviewed, I bought and downloaded Scribblenauts Remix to my iPhone last weekend after noticing that it was on offer on the iTunes App Store for just 69p. I've owned and played the original version Scribblenauts for the Nintendo DS for quite a while now so was already aware of the game and its objectives so was eager to see how it transferred to the iPhone. So what do I think of it?
Scribblenauts Remix takes 40 levels from both the original DS version of the game and it's sequel, Super Scribblenauts and includes a further 10 brand new levels exclusive to this download. You control the character of Maxwell; he's a funny looking chap who's job it is to collect stars from each of the levels he enters by creating objects and animals to help him achieve his task and as the makers of the game state; you are only limited by your imagination as to what you can create.
An example of a level could be that the star you need to collect is situated higher than Maxwell can reach so by creating a ladder and placing it under the star you can make him climb up to retrieve it, alternatively you might be faced with a mob of murderous zombies between Maxwell and the star so will need to create something that will take on the crowd and clear a path for him. Every level is different although the objective remains the same, collect the stars and as the game progresses the levels get more complicated and you really do have to think about what you need to create to be able to win.
Controlling Maxwell and Playing the Game
The touchscreen of the iPhone is used for the game and at the start of each level you are given a Hint which is designed to help you complete the stage. Pressing either the right or left hand side of the screen controls the direction Maxwell walks and located at the top right hand corner of the screen is a notepad icon which enables you to type the name of the object or animal you want to create. Once you have decided what you want to create it then appears on the screen and you can then interact with it or put it to use although do bear in mind that if you create an animal or monster then it could turn on Maxwell and end up killing him so be careful in what you choose to make. This version of the game allows you to use adjectives (these weren't recognised in the original DS game) so you can give your creations specific emotions or behaviours, for example an "evil teapot" will have wings and fangs rather than "teapot" which would just be a flat inanimate object. It's things like this that make the game fun to play and you really can let your imagination run wild.
I have to admit that it's not an easy game at times and some of the levels did leave me scratching my head as to what it was I had to actually do. The game recognises if you have been stuck on a level for a period of time though and does offer additional hints although I did find them very hit and miss at how useful they actually were and I do think that a few of the levels bordered on "impossible" rather than "challenging" and so I did begin to lose patience on the odd occasion and stopped the game only to return to it later to retry. Saying that though the game is rather addictive and once you start a level you do want the sense of satisfaction you get from completing it so I have persevered with it as there are multiple solutions to every level and you can replay them to try something new if you want to.
It's not my favourite game on my iPhone in all honesty as although it is limitless in what you can create I do find that I end up repeating myself in some of the levels and tend to create the items that I know will actually help the character of Maxwell rather than hindering him. The good thing about what you create is that it can easily be deleted so if you make something that is useless then you can get rid of it and try something new, you don't have to be a brilliant speller either as the game will suggest alternatives if you spell the name of the item incorrectly and does seem to know what you want to make. This is handy I must admit and even though I do think I can spell quite well I think this function makes the game accessible to younger players whose spelling might not be perfect and there are educational aspects to the game which would undoubtedly help people improve their vocabulary and spelling overall. I wouldn't say the game was exciting though and I do think that some may be put off by its intricacies, the fact that there are times when some levels do seem impossible is off-putting and it's not a game that I can play for hours on end as it can be very frustrating but I can see its appeal and it is a handy game to dip in and out of for short periods of time.
If you have played either of the DS games then you will recognise the graphics in the iPhone version as they are identical, they are cartoon-y in appearance, bright and clear to see and share the same characteristics as the other formats. My supplied picture shows how the game is presented and there are no flaws with this aspect of the game as far as I'm concerned. The accompanying music isn't anything to get overly excited about as it's just generic backing tracks which don't cause too much of a distraction, I always mute any games that I play as I find I get annoyed after being continually bombarded with music.
Overall thoughts and Value for Money
If you have ever played Scribblenauts or its follow up on the DS then you're going to know how the game is played on the iPhone. The fact that there are some duplicated levels on this version that appear on the original releases shouldn't be a reason not to buy the game as there are multiple solutions and every level is different. I don't find it to be an all-encompassing game and it's not one that I can play for hours on end but I do like it and I do think it was well worth the 69p I paid for it. Having checked the iTunes store for the purpose of this review I have noticed that the game has gone back up to its original price of £2.99 which I do think is on the overly expensive side. I wouldn't have bought it for a shade under three quid and I do think that you would need to be an 'uber fan' to fork that sort of money out for it especially as it isn't brand new and the majority of the levels already appear on the DS releases. It is a keeper though, I'm not going to delete it from my phone and I will dip and out of it if I have a spare 20 minutes to pass and want to see how creative I can be.
Should you buy it? at 69p it's a no-brainer for the size of the game, the levels, graphics etc but at £2.99 I do think that it's expensive. My advice would be to wait until it's back on offer and snap it up then, it will hold a lot of appeal to all ages and it could be educational for anyone looking to improve their vocabulary and spelling.
My version of the game is the 1.1 release which was updated on the 20th of October this year, it is 136MB in size and is released by Warner Bros games. It does have an age rating of 9+ which I do feel is justified, there are some sequences of cartoon violence in some of the levels and I do think that you need to have a good grasp of written English to be able to play the game to its full potential therefore younger players might not be able to fully understand the game or be able to take on the levels they are presented with.
Recommended? Yes, but not at £2.99 - I don't think it's worth that sort of money and my 3 star rating here represents an average score for a just-above-average game in my opinion. Thanks for reading my review.