Wednesday, 14 March 2018 20:17

REVIEW: Scribblenauts Showdown (Playstation 4)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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I first encountered Scribblenauts on Nintendo DS all the way back in 2009, it was one of the first games I really got into on that handheld, and almost a decade later I was hoping that the new “Scribblenauts Showdown” by Shiver Entertainment on the PS4, would be just as enjoyable. So was it a modern blast from the past, or has it’s time already been spent?

Scribblenauts Showdown is a 2D, party, multiplayer based series of mini games designed to make you think outside the box. For once in a game vocabulary choices will work to your advantage, in this geniusly-disguised educational tool. All games in some sort of way require words to be typed for a particular purpose in outsmarting your opponent’s choices. Anything you type in-game can be created and used to play.

The game is separated into three modes in the menu; Verses, Showdown and Sandbox. Verses is a variety of mini games that you can battle it out against a friend or the CPU, a CPU that you can adjust the difficulty of. Showdown mode is a card game for up to 4 players or versing the CPU, that plays out on a gameboard, very reminiscent of the likes of Mario Party. Each person has a set of cards in their hand and must play them to get to the end. In your hand will be a type of mini game to play with a reward for if you win, included are also Boost and Reward cards that will deal instant advantages.

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While it is very similar to Mario Party it is lacking the finesse, charm and character. The mini games are good but missing some of the fun factor and inventive play mechanics. The rip off Angry Birds, where you destroy a pile of rubbish is one game that had me thinking this has been done before, but better.

The controls in most games are quite simple enough with a tutorial at the beginning you can skip to guide you along the way. Every now and then the game would throw a curve ball at you and you would get a game where the controls were a ridiculously mismatched or clunky as hell. One example of this was the space boosting game, where you need to collect things and put them in a black hole. The ship handled like a race car with only three wheels, was too fast and didn’t steer well, to put it short I raged when the computer kept beating me by a few points. The salt layer was thick.

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The Sandbox mode has 8 adorable stages that are very much a throw back to their original game. At times it lacks direction, with you having to complete objectives to progress. In the moments when you are stuck you can buy hints, which to be honest, is annoying.

One game mechanic I found thoroughly impressive and ground breaking is the actual typing system. When typing in the words that you need to use in the mini games, the use of the attributes of the PS controller is utilised geniusly. Each direction of the D pad has 4 letters and you use the four, iconic PS buttons to type. The automatic dictionary too, functions impeccably predicting most words without a hitch. The only issue I have with this, is the fact, that not all the mini games employ this system.

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One minor issue I had, that might be huge for some, is the fact you NEED a controller with the motion sensitivity. At the time I was playing, I was using a wired in controller that did not have motion control and without it I was screwed and white washed by the CPU, as you needed to turn the controller to steer the helicopter. If you have the original controller with the system you shall have no issue with this, what so ever.

I love when a game still has innocence. No money transactions, no loot boxes, just pure gameplay value. Scribblenauts has Starbites. Starbites are the in-game currency earnt through playing the game. These little stars can be used to unlock hella cute characters, costumes and other collectibles.

The menu also has a “Create your own” Scribble feature, with simple but well executed customisation of your own little person. You can scroll through the gear, create your look and then use it in the game. As well as this there are goals and achievements which you can earn trophies for when they are completed, these can be viewed in the menu via the “Trophy Room”.

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The graphics have this adorable 2D art style, as if they are hand drawn by children. The little puppet style character’s pivot on joints as they move, making every action seem mechanical but purposeful, it is literally like watching a play unfold. The pastel colours coupled with the fun, energetic music it really sets the mood for a light hearted, good time.

Scribblenauts Showdown is definitely a fun time, for old and young. It is surprisingly simple with innovative game controls and cute graphics and design art. While the mini games aren’t reinventing the wheel and can become mundane quickly, they are certainly enough to keep the young entertained for a reasonable time. It is one game I would recommend for the little ones in your life, and even as an adult an enjoyable experience for at least a short amount of time, but if you are a hardcore gamer after thrills, you make want to look elsewhere.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Genre: Action, Puzzle