Nintendo DS classic Scribblenauts hits iOS

If you never had the chance to play the DS version, you're in for a treat. Too bad it's such a short one.

These brothers needed to be "joined together by their love of sport," so I gave them a basketball hoop.
These brothers needed to be "joined together by their love of sport," so I gave them a basketball hoop. Screenshot by Rick Broida

When Scribblenauts made its Nintendo DS debut back in 2009, it instantly joined the ranks of the console's showcase games. GameSpot gave it an 8.0 rating and called it "a jubilant experience that is sure to delight."

Scribblenauts just arrived for iOS, going under the name Scribblenauts Remix, and it feels as original now as it did two years ago. It's not perfect, and it's definitely going to appeal more to kids than adults--but if you're looking for a unique gaming experience, it delivers.

The object of the game is to help Maxwell--a weird-looking kid whose limbs flail wildly when he moves--collect the Starite, which is done by solving one or more puzzles within each level. For example, you might need to help a knight cross a bridge, or get a classroom ready for the school day.

The clever twist is that to help accomplish these goals, you can bring into existence just about any object you can think up. A bridge, a dinosaur, a pogo stick, a purple hamburger, you name it. Just tap Maxwell's notepad, then type the name of the object you want to invoke.

This makes for some fun levels, no doubt about it, but the reality is that you rarely need anything all that weird to solve them. Scribblenauts' big hook is that you're supposed to use your wild and crazy imagination, but you can easily get by with a tame one.

Also, the game's graphics, while colorful, look pretty chunky; its DS origins are readily apparent. In testing Scribblenauts on my iPad, I found it was sometimes difficult or impossible to select or move an object I'd created. Occasionally the screen was totally unresponsive, meaning I couldn't even get Maxwell to move. And as noted in GameSpot's review, it can be difficult to link objects together and/or make them move.

The games has only 50 levels in all (versus 200 in the DS version), and 40 of those appeared in the original Scribblenauts and Super Scribblenauts--meaning fans of the DS versions won't find much new here. Plus, the first 10 levels are almost annoyingly easy.

Frankly, I think Max and the Magic Marker  is a better game. But don't let that stop you from checking out Scribblenauts, especially if you have kids old enough to write.

And speaking of the DS, be sure to check out  the five best Nintendo DS games for iPhone . (It's a little out of date, so if you know of any newer titles that should make the list, be sure to leave a comment!)

 

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