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Scribblenauts Showdown

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 20 - 2018

Tap into your imagination with this party game.

The Scribblenauts games were simply the most unique games I have ever played, and it all revolved around a very straight forward premise. The player would think of an object and type the word into the game, then that object would appear on the screen as an in-game object. The dictionary of possible words was massive, and grew with each new title in the series, and a lot of the fun was from coming up with new and outlandish objects to use in solving the games puzzles. They were great stuff, so when a new entry in the series was announced as coming to Xbox One, PS4 and Switch, I was more than a little excited.


So, Scribblenauts Showdown is now on my Switch, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Rather than an open puzzle game in which the player would use their imaginations to solve the puzzles, Scribblenauts Showdown is more of a party game, with a small selection of mini games acting as the centerpiece.

There are three different modes in the game; Versus, Showdown and Sandbox. Then there are the mini games, which consist of 12 Wordy games that actually make use of the original mechanic of typing words in and them appearing on screen, and 15 Speedy games which are much more motion-oriented and feel like they have been pulled from a selection of Wii party games. Some of the mini games are quite fun, others less so, but it is the lack of variety here with less than 30 games in total that really spoils the full game. It really doesn’t take very long to see all that the game has to offer, and most play sessions will involve repeating games over and over again.

The Versus is mode where players will go head to head against another player in these mini games, and it is the easiest and quickest way to see what the game has to offer. For some instant fun with a friend on the Switch, Versus mode can be a great laugh, even with more than half of the games not even requiring any imagination.


When it comes to actually putting words into the game, things do get a little awkward. Obviously the older games that allowed the player to type a word on a keyboard had the perfect set up, but on the Switch with multiple players, that is not a possibility, so another control scheme had to be worked out. So here, you have a dial divided into segments, with each segment containing letters that relate to the face buttons. The player points the stick to the segment they want and then press the appropriate button. It’s almost like going back in time to when we had to text with a numeric keypad. It’s not a lot of fun, and can’t be done quickly, at least not by me.

The Showdown mode is the title mode, and gives the multiplayer fun more structure by placing it into a board game. Players are given cards to play, which offer a mini game and a set number of spaces to move. It’s not bad, but is still limited by the same small selection of mini games. The average game, played either alone against the CPU or with up to three other players locally, will see the players regularly repeating games, which is not too bad as long as no one wants to play the game more than once or twice. Obviously, the replayability here is rather low.

The real star is the Sandbox mode, which is the mode that resembles closest the original games. Offered up as eight open stages, the player (with a buddy if they wish) are given the chance to explore and solve puzzles, some of which can be quite obscure without the use of hints. These levels are a lot of fun, and allows the player to exercise their imagination and make use of the massive dictionary without much by way of restriction, be they trying to solve the puzzles or simply mucking around. Again though, the game suffers because only eight of these levels are included.


Which pretty much sums Scribblenauts Showdown up quite well – a lack of content. The mini games are fun, and the sandbox levels are great, but there is just not enough of either to justify the asking price, even on Nintendo’s somewhat pricey console. There are a few other problems, but all Scribblenauts Showdown needs to be a really enjoyable party game is more of everything.




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