My five-year-old son got a Nintendo DSi for Chrsitmas this year, and one of the games I wanted him to have the most was Super Scribblenauts. I thought for sure it would be a big hit because he’s always asking me how to spell things and wants to write all the time. I heard from others that the original Scribblenauts was pretty awesome, and this new version uses adjectives! Hey, what’s more exciting than adjectives, those little darlings of grammar?
Jake got several games for Christmas, some that he really wanted to play more than this one, so I had to wait a few days to convince him to try it out. I actually ended up playing it while he watched. More on that later. I started out at rock bottom, on the first level, which went fairly quickly. It only took me three tries to find a word that the game would accept as my answer. On to level two, three and so on. Then I reached level 9 of the first star cluster (each star cluster has ten levels) and was stumped. Neither Jake nor I could figure out what the game wanted us to do. The complete lack of direction, even when we purchased all the hints, meant we were stumbling around in the dark, trying to guess exactly what it was this game was asking of us. Thankfully, you only need to complete a few levels before moving on to the next cluster, so we skipped it. Again, in the next cluster, level nine got us every time. Usually that is the adjective level, where you’ll need to combine an adjective with a noun to complete the puzzle.
The game allows you to either use a QWERTY keypad to type your answers, or the stylus and a “sheet” of ruled paper to draw the letters. I thought the ruled paper option would be a perfect opportunity for Jake to practice his letters, and he really wanted to give it a go. However, as soon as you start writing, the game picks up your scribbles as a letter. So if you make an “s,” by the time you get to that loopy part, the game assumes you meant to write “c” and you have to backspace and try again. Jake can’t write that fast yet, and I haven’t found an option that slows down the registration of the letters.
So basically, Jake is left out in the cold, only able to assist in coming up with the right answers. Oddly, he is significantly better at thinking outside the proverbial box than I am. His answers are off the wall, yet usually correct, whereas I over think everything and try to come up with the most logical response. Despite all the flaws and the super-hard puzzles, I do like the game because it gives us a chance to work together as a team. I really wish that he could at least have a chance to play it rather than just dictate answers to me, but maybe with some time and practice he’ll master it.
Super Scibblenauts Good, Bad, and Ugly
The Good- the game recognizes thousands upon thousands of nouns, and now allows for adjectives as well. Maxwell, the little guy that goes about solving these puzzles, is adorable. The game also has a level creator, which I haven’t tried yet, but it’s a nice feature for those who are patient enough to give it a go.
The Bad– Adjectives are only used on certain levels. Puzzles can be a little too challenging for younger children (and seasoned gaming moms!).
The Ugly- The scribble pad is not very intuitive and way too difficult for beginning writers.
Note- I did not receive compensation for this review. I bought the game with my own money. The link, however, is an affiliate link.