You’ll have to walk your brain outside the box if you’re to enjoy Super Scribblenauts. It’s described as an ‘emergent action puzzle game’. What that means in practical terms is a licence to do magic with the stylus; i.e. conjure things in real time simply by spelling them. Use the stylus to input words and watch as the game creates the object(s) on-screen: Ninjas. Velociraptors. Trout. Almost any non-trademarked object you can imagine can be rendered. Almost… it’s kid friendly, so no shark-toothed vaginas or armour-clad knobs.
You can even attribute adjectives to your creations. The majority of the time the creature/object will behave according to it’s nature. Things may get out of hand if you create opposites, or carnivores and tasty humans in the same play park.
Leaving that aside, the gameplay revolves around Maxwell. You move him either with the D-pad or the stylus. The stylus is used for moving your creations around on-screen, so it’s simpler to control Maxwell via the D-pad.
Maxwell collects starite, one of which is awarded for each of the 120 levels completed successfully. You’ll need to analyse a situation, then create an object that will solve a dilemma or enable Maxwell to get from point A to point B safely. Once the starite is won you move onto the next puzzle. It’s structured as a set of tutorials that'll help you gradually understand the mechanics of the game.
There's almost always more than one way to proceed, but admittedly some of the solutions are tenuously related to the problem. Sometimes the obvious, most rational solution will fail to solve the equation with no explanation why. It can get frustrating. When that happened I drifted off into toy box mode again, and fun was had with a jetpack and a flamethrower. Pyromaniacs will get their jollies.
As a game, it’s too short and too arbitrary to give full marks to. As a toybox/sandbox simulator it has almost endless possibilities provided you have a sufficiently fertile imagination to tap into. The middle ground between the two aspects is an amazingly simple idea married to a densely packed creation tool.
Available on Nintendo DS only.
3½ homicidal scribbles out of 5