Scribblenauts was one of my favorite games of last year, along with the Professor Layton games. Scribblenauts had an absolutely brilliant concept — solving puzzles by writing things into existence — but, unfortunately, the controls made the game a bit more irritating than it should have been. Even with that downfall, I still wanted MORE, so I’m happy that the brand new Super Scribblenauts provides MORE…. AND fixes the controls.
As should be obvious by now, I’m a big fan of the Professor Layton series of games for the DS, particularly since even though I’ve only reviewed the previous game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, I tend to mention Layton in just about every video game review I do. That said, there’s a reason I’m a big fan – the puzzles are great and the story is enjoyable.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the DS is that in addition to some really great standard video game titles, there’re a lot of equally great casual and puzzle games as well. It seems that the touchscreen combined with Nintendo’s perceived sense of whimsy when it comes to games is a good combination. In fact, I’m very surprised there hasn’t been a port of Katamari Damacy for any Nintendo console yet — it seems like a perfect fit for the Nintendo world. While Katamari hasn’t made the jump yet, Professor Layton is a series that fits really well with the Nintendo feel — whimsical, yet high quality.
Scribblenauts is an absolutely brilliant idea trapped in a merely OK game — luckily, the idea is so strong, it’s still worth recommending. The idea — which, again, is just outstanding — is that you’re a fella named Maxwell and you’re confronted with a series of puzzles, but you can create just about ANYTHING you can think of by writing it. Given that it’s a DS game — you can literally write it, or you’re given the option to hunt-and-peck with the stylus on a QWERTY keyboard. The latter typically works better; the handwriting recognition wasn’t as good as in some titles — but then, I’m a particularly brutal tester on that front, as anyone who’s actually seen my handwriting can attest. (To prove it I could always write this review out by hand and scan it, but, trust me — you don’t want that.)
The great thing about the Nintendo DS is that while it’s a hand-held system, it’s got enough power to be a decent standard system, too — along with a lot of great games for the system. One of the trends I’ve been seeing with the DS in particular are story-games that are popular on the Japanese market that’ve been coming over here. The Ace Attorney games are a good example, as are the two Trauma Center games.
I’ve always been a fan of the original Super Mario games. Super Mario Brothers and SMB3 are a couple of my favorite video games ever — fun, and occasionally maddening. I only got GOOD at them when I started playing them with an NES emulator that had a save function, but even when I was playing them on the original console and constantly falling into pits, I was having fun.
So, it was basically a given that the first game I bought when I got a Wii was Super Paper Mario. I hadn’t played any of the other games in the Paper Mario series, though I understand that they’re RPG games rather than platforms. SPM attempts to combine the two styles of game. In a way, this is perhaps the only flaw; I’m not a real RPG fan, so I found the excessive chatter between characters annoying (particularly in the opening sequence where it seemingly lasts for 5 minutes without any actual gameplay aside from hitting “2″ to speed through the non-skippable text as fast as you can), and I’m not sure if an RPG fan would find the game satisfying, since the RPG elements are superficial. Luckily, this is a minor complaint (at least standing where I do on the RPG v. Platform divide) as the platform part is really, really fun.