I remember when this game was announced and it was like kind of interesting to me because it was a new turn based strategy game with a unique looking art style and the team behind it was responsible for such games as oh, I don't know... Fire Emblem and Advanced Wars! But soon after it was out I feel like nobody was talking about it anymore, and it was always $5 in the clearance section of Target. I shrugged it off, assuming it was NOT the next new Fire Emblem series or whatever. And besides, we were getting new Fire Emblem games regularly anyway. Shrug.
At some point I picked up a copy. I'm forgetting when that was. But like I said, it was always cheap. And it's sat on my shelf for a while now. I finally popped it in last night, and y'know what? I'm impressed.
The over-the-shoulder view takes a little getting used to. And at first I was annoyed that I had to use the touchscreen to control the camera. I was thinking, why can't I just use the little second analog nub? Turns out I can - which has made a huge difference in my enjoyment.
The battles play out sort of XCOM style. You've got these aliens running around the map. Actions take points (steam) and saving steam before ending a turn will put you into overwatch mode. And of course there's cover to take and all that.
The art style is very reminiscent of old comic books, which I like. And while there are aliens to kill, this won't quite replace XCOM for me. And now that XCOM 2 has been announced for Switch, I guess none of that matters. I'm no longer on a quest to find an XCOM replacement, and instead I can enjoy these stray strategy games on their own merit. Which is a good thing.
Well this is a fairly pleasant surprise. The Scribblenauts games are ones that I feel like I've always seen reviewed well, but just looked sort of too kiddie for me. That said, I decided to finally take a chance on the first game as it was super cheap and seemed like something kind of cute and light to play amidst all the craziness going on right now.
While it's not without its flaws, so far Scribblenauts is both really charming, and actually pretty neat, gameplay-wise. The conceit is simple: each level is a little puzzle and you're told what the win condition is. You then type in words that generate objects in game to try to beat that level. To use a very basic example from one of the tutorial levels, I was told to give a man something to eat. So I typed in "burger" and a hamburger popped up on the screen which I then dragged and dropped onto the guy. Boom. Level complete.
What's neat about this is that there's no one way to complete an objective. It comes down to how your brain works. How to you get something to happen? Like, in another level there's a cat in a tree and you have to get it down for a little girl. I chose to generate a ladder, climb the tree, and grab the cat. I suppose I could have cut the tree down with an axe, or maybe lured the cat down with something? I don't know. That's the interesting part. It's all about solving puzzles logically, but again, however you do it is up to you. That's cool.
Obviously the puzzles get harder. And you gotta use your head. You can combine objects together as well. And a lot of the fun comes from seeing WHAT you can generate - which is most things, really.
I will say that the camera's a little funky and controlling Max himself can be iffy because EVERYTHING is done via stylus. (I'll also say that the super short stylus of the New 2DS XL is the only thing wrong with that handheld. Luckily, I have my Wii U stylus which is way more comfortable). I had a heck of a time getting Max to just jump off of a ramp with a motorcycle because of this control scheme. But other than that, the game is definitely fun and interesting.
I'll keep at it. It does seem like the sort of logic puzzle game that I enjoy. And I also think my wife will love this game, so I plan to pass the cart on to her when I'm done with it. Luckily, there's two save slots and I look forward to comparing notes on how we completed certain objectives.
Scribblenauts feels like the PERFECT game to be playing right now. There's so much stress and anxiety associated with trying to live a normal life right now, and Scribblenauts really feels like a good way to blow off some steam and relax. It's all creative puzzle solving; and there's no right or wrong answers. Instead, it's about how do YOU want to try to solve this puzzle? It's pretty great.
It's also neat because it gets your brain working. I had one puzzle early on where I couldn't figure out how to get up to a higher platform. I tried stairs, stacking stairs, making a bridge, but nothing I did could quite reach the top. I asked my wife to look at it. She suggested a ladder - not tall enough. Then a rope from the top of the ladder - nothing to affix the rope to up top. So we put a rock up there, and attached the rope to the rock, but the rock wasn't heavy enough so the rope pulled it down. Ugh. Then it hit me: I just made a helicopter and flew up there. Done.
As it turns out, there's a lot of problems that can be solved with a helicopter and some rope. Let this be a real world lesson?
I have plenty of "ollars" (in-game currency) that I could use to skip levels, but I'm not gonna do that. I'm really enjoying the flow. Some levels I fly through in seconds, others I get stuck on for ten or more minutes, and all of this is fun. I like forcing myself to stick with the ones that stump me.
I was driving yesterday and thought to myself, "a submarine! That's how I could probably get that penguin reunited with his friends without hurting the killer whale!" Which leads me to two thoughts...
1. This is a good game. Any game that has me working out its puzzles a day later while I'm doing something else is clearly a game that's clicking with me. I like that.
2. This is the sort of game that when I'm stumped, I need to step away from and do something else and let my mind work out the puzzles on a subconscious level. I fear that if I stick with a puzzle that I'm hitting a wall on, I might find myself frustrated. So this should probably be a kind of between-games game if that makes sense.