Friday, July 31, 2009

Gamespot updated preview: overall positive, but they want to see some challenge

Finally we have our first "major" outlet reporting since the embargo has ended. Gamespot got another look at the game and posted some updated hands-on impressions. You can grab it here. Instead of highlights (it largely contains nothing new) I'll instead bullet point some of the general feelings and opinions the previewer had.

Note: This was a preview build. Gamestop was a bit more descriptive in what that entails: 11 Action/Puzzle levels from The Gardens, and 2 levels each (1 Action/Puzzle) in the next 9 worlds. So 40 levels total out of 220. Keep that frame of reference in mind.

  • Overall, not very difficult or challenging. Most answers seem obvious.
  • Not much of an incentive to redo levels a different way, and the challenge of doing it 3 times with different items isn't very hard to do. If you solved a level with a baseball you could solve it again with a basketball or soccer ball, etc.
  • Despite the lack of challenge, some of the later levels definitely required some creative thinking
  • Very impressed with the vocab of the game. Contains a ton of objects that behave as you'd expect
  • Sandbox mode is a blast to play
  • Overall positive impressions, but they want more incentives to use your imagination

All in all the complaints are to be expected. Many skeptics of Scribblenauts have voiced similar concerns, and I'd say they're valid to a point. Still, though I understand his want for an in-game incentive (he suggests leaderboards of some sort), I really don't think Scribblenauts is that type of game. I more agree with the Kotaku impressions, which you can check out here, which seem to realize that thought this game can be simple at times, the challenge comes from within your own imagination.

Further, it should be said that they only got a taste of 2 levels from Worlds 2-10, so it's safe to say they didn't see the whole picture. Also, merits (achievements) and ollars (to unlock things such as avatars) should surely provide a good incentive to redo levels, but the previewer makes no mention of them.

Finally, he talks about the level Joystiq is currently using for a challenge. He says it's possible to spawn just about any item you want, drag it above the bottles, and drop it to beat the level. Indeed, it might be harder to find an item that WOULDN'T work in that situation.

That might make the challenge a little easier to complete than it already was...hehe.


  1. Obviously, you can knock the bottles down with ease that way. But is it fun? (hint: no.)

    Scribblenauts is really about imagining a solution that both works and is fun. As you said earlier, if you're going to play it the boring way, it will, surprisingly, be boring. Sure, you can simply drop an ebelskiver pan on the bottles, but isn't it more fun to tie it to a helicopter and swing it from ahigh?

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