In a sketchy, notepad world, a doodled character moves with ninja-like precision over the landscape and deadly terrain. Under birds, over spikes, avoiding pitfalls and collecting floating clocks en route to the exit is a lot more difficult than it seems in this one-button platformer.
Yes, the hero of Scribbland is in for a rough time as he traverses the obstacle laden courses ahead of him, specifically because all of his movements are controlled by using just the right-mouse-click button on its own. The interesting controls work like this: Holding down the mouse button moves the character to the right. Releasing the button causes the character to jump. If the button is pressed again before landing, the character moves through the air with the grace of a leaping gazelle.
Although the controls are fairly confusing on paper, in action they work rather well and boil down to jumping at the right time while running at the appropriate times. The design of the levels is also kept quite simple. Each of the twenty levels is a single-screen in length and you will only see four enemies; spikes, bouncy balls, birds and big holes in the ground. It's worth noting at this point that spikes are not dangerous if you walk horizontally into them, only if you drop on top of them, which... kinda makes sense when you think about it. The combination of the enemies and the precision you will develop when learning how to avoid them is constantly refreshing and always offers a new obstacle.
Analysis: The biggest challenge in the game is teaching yourself how to use the controls. As a standard platformer, the game would be easily completable within a short amount of time. However with the limitation imposed upon you, the difficulty increases as you learn to manage with what you have been given - a single mouse button which controls every move you make.
To increase the play time, the game can also be played on Hard Mode which is identical to the Easy Mode, except that running into walls kills you instantly (as dangerous as an enemy) and certain levels contain extra birds or spikes. The extra challenge is a welcome way to continue to flex the new movement and understanding of the interesting mechanic the game is designed with, as the levels are familiar, but the precision and split-second timing involved is far more advanced. Scribbland is about as accessible as you can get with its easy to pick up, but hard to master gameplay. While you can breeze through the game quite quickly, doing so with a high score is another matter entirely. As an experimental concept with a clever design, Scribbland is worth a look.