The sequel to one of the best games made in the last five years that doesn't start with Mario, Halo, Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed has finally arrived on the PC. Springing with creativity, fun and the possibility of a warped sense of humor, there's a lot to love when it comes to Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and 5th Cell's Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Let's get into it, shall we?
The first thing you will notice about SU is how incredibly loaded the amount of creative words you can input into the game. If you thought you hit a wall last game then you haven't seen anything yet. From drawing up a giant boat for a drowning stranger to conjuring up a sidekick for a super hero, there's much to be typed in this game. 5th Cell did a spectacular job in opening up a library of solutions for the gamers this time around. You want to draw up a small dog? You got it. You want to think up a grenade? Done. You want to relive your Wayne's World days and put together Babraham Lincoln? Yes, you can request Babraham Lincoln and she will appear (beard and all). So, everything you love about the original Scribblenauts is intact with the sequel, except that it's expanded. That's frightening to think about considering how big the first felt.
With all this gushing aside, the game did decline just slightly in puzzle solving when compared to the previous title. While you're going to find the occasional puzzle that's going to stump you in Scribblenauts Unlimited, the majority of the puzzles are extremely flexible to your creative suggestions. For example, when Max is asked to put together a solution to calm down an angry Yeti, you only need to type the word 'happy'. Once done, the Yeti becomes 'happy' and the solution is finished. You will run into a lot of situations like this when trying to collect Starites (stars that help open up new lands and heal Max's sister who is slowly turning to stone). Is it a bad thing? Probably not, but don't expect huge amounts of challenge.
If you have never played the game before, inside of certain stages you'll bump into an individual (or situation) that pulls you out of the level you're on and puts you in a multi-tier board. You'll generally have to do a series of tasks that, once completed, lead up to the acquisition of a Starite. The levels are predictable, as everything generally starts off easy and then the difficulty increases as you go further up. Getting back to the Yeti, that was the second-to-last stop for a Starite. This is a great example of how the Yeti should have been a really difficult task to complete, but ended up incredibly simplistic to solve. You will find multiple levels in the game that treat you like this. Again, there should be a more difficult curve to the game, but there simply isn't. Having said all this, there are a lot more opportunities than in the last Scribblenauts games, so naturally the curve might be easier and less difficult as it arcs.
At the end of the day, while the puzzles might be easier to handle, they're still fun. Your solution isn't the only solution out there, so the replay value of going back through and trying new words is right where it should be. You will want to go back and try new things, and you will be guaranteed to spend a LOT of hours doing it. So, again, while the puzzles are mostly simplistic, there's enough desire and less frustration to go back and dive into this game again. You can't deny that is going to be a huge plus for this game.
Puzzle asides, one of the biggest draws (no pun intended) for the PC game (and Wii U) is the Object Editor. You can literally create your own objects through this or improve default objects. Picture the uDraw from THQ, and then picture it if it worked and sold well. That's the Object Editor option and that's huge for a game like this. Owning this on the PC also improves the Object Editor, as you're more naturally drawn to a mouse than a console controller. Make no mistake, though, this is a huge deal for the game and one that will certainly produce an endless amount of creative hours. My oldest daughter loves drawing in Photoshop (she's 10), so the fact that there is an in-game simplistic version of Photoshop (more like Mario Paint) waiting for her is a big deal for the game's success. Every kid loves drawing (even doodling), so seeing their creations onscreen is going to be invaluable.
Getting back to controls, I found that the PC version of this game was incredibly more friendly than any other version. While I don't own the Wii U version, or the 3DS version, I have heard that the stylus and lack of keyboard really does hinder the speedy process of typing and drawing. For the last month, I've been getting in PC versions of games to review (Assassin's Creed III was before this) and I've thoroughly enjoyed the capabilities that the PC offers in terms of controls. The ASD keys combined with the mouse make for a better control experience than compared to consoles. I can safely say that I fully understand why people would want a PC version of pretty much any game over a console version. With Scribblenauts Unlimited the use of keyboard and mouse is a no-brainer. Having the ability to type your words out quickly (and possibly get your kids use to a keyboard) is invaluable. I couldn't imagine how this would be on the Wii U with a stylus and analog sticks. It would be murder on your hands, plus it would slow things down. So, in terms of controls, the PC is certainly he dominant format of choice.
Continuing with the PC love, the graphics in Scribblenauts are as colorfully cute as you've always come expect. I'm running my computer with an i7 chip (2.4ghz), 8gb of RAM (it's a laptop) and a AMD Radeon HD 6770M card; SU looked gorgeous on it. The environments and characters were rich with detail and just screamed 'CUTE'. To boot (no pun intended), the load times were nearly non-existent. I had little trouble going from world to world, cut scene to cut scene. I never noticed the loading one bit. I have no complaints at all from that side. The game ran smoothly, beautifully and seamlessly. What more could you ask for from a PC game?
On top of controls and graphics, the PC version of Scribblenauts Unlimited is nearly $30 less than the Wii U version. Granted, if you don't have a PC then you don't have a choice, but if you do have a PC then why wouldn't you go with this version of SU? Again, much like the controls, going with the PC version of Scribblenauts Unlimited should be a no-brainer. You download it through Steam, it costs less and the controls are far more intuitive. After spending the last month diving into PC gaming, I might have to consider it a bit more. I know it sounds silly, but some of us weren't raised on PC games.