Nintendo DS owners most likely recognize the name, but for everyone else, the Scribblenauts series is a relatively unknown treasure. That all changes with the release of Scribblenauts Remix, an iOS version of the phenomenal creativity puzzle game from 5th Cell. The tagline "Write anything. Solve Everything." couldn't be more appropriate, as Scribblenauts challenges you to solve puzzles by typing in words and phrases. If you can imagine it, you can probably do it, so feel free to summon a huge invincible flying pregnant angry rainbow giraffe to fight with Zeus, if you like.
Scribblenauts Remix puts you in control of Maxwell, a happy little chap wearing a chicken with headphones hat, who works his way through a few dozen levels collecting starites. In each stage you must create objects by tapping on the pencil and paper icon at the top of the screen. Open the keyboard, type in a noun, modified with adjectives if necessary, then hit enter to create the item. You can then tap to use the item in any logical way, such as riding in vehicles, equipping objects, wearing items of clothing, attaching ropes and chains to things, and so on. Once the freedom of creation sets in, you'll suddenly become wide-eyed at the possibilities that lay before you!
The stages in Scribblenauts Remix vary in difficulty and are split between puzzle and adventure types. In puzzle levels, you are presented with a simple problem that can be solved by summoning the correct objects. Giving the right items to different people, for example, or creating something that will help a character accomplish a task. Adventure levels are usually more difficult and challenge you to obtain a starite by any means necessary. If that happens to involve summoning a helicopter, attaching a rope to it, and dragging a bulldozer across a lake infested with sharks, well, then that's just what will have to happen!
Analysis: Scribblenauts is a remarkable creation that aims to fulfill what everyone has always dreamed of in a video game: complete freedom. Most games offer up a few puzzles along with a few items to solve those puzzles with, the most logical solutions usually presenting themselves by deduction. In Scribblenauts, however, you are (almost) literally limited only by your imagination, so when the game says "get the starite down from the tree", you can accomplish this however you see fit. Maybe bacon, ceiling cat, and a pink cthulhu can help?
If you're familiar with the Scribblenauts games for DS, you'll recognize most of the content in Scribblenauts Remix. The iOS version contains levels culled from both DS games as well as a few new additions exclusive to the platform. The basic mechanics are the same, and the objects list doesn't seem to have been messed with, though a few seem to have been changed in function (the teleporter, for example). Also, some of the bonus sandbox levels seem to be missing, which is a bit of a shame but not a huge loss.
One oversight in Scribblenauts Remix is failing to feature a left versus right handed layout. The DS releases allowed players to swap preferences from the option menu, but the iOS version features the typing icon only on the right side of the screen, something left handed players (especially those who are using the iPad version) will have to adapt to.
Scribblenauts Remix is an excellent fit for iOS devices, and it's great seeing the visuals looking so crisp on the iPad's large screen. And because Remix doesn't steal everything from both DS releases, you can look forward to much more item-creating fun by seeking out those games as well!