Party Scribblenauts Showdown-style!
I’ve been enjoying the Scribblenauts series ever since the first game, which came out on the Nintendo DS back in 2009. I was intrigued by how the game let you dive into your imagination and bring to life virtually anything you could think of in the game. Now, Scribblenauts Showdown takes its “write anything, solve everything” approach and brings it into the genre of party games with a focus on mini game mayhem.
How well does Scribblenauts Showdown make the transition into the realm of party games? Let’s find out!
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Shiver Entertainment
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Party, Puzzle-platformer
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
A party-style Scribblenauts experience
Scribblenauts Showdown’s collection of multiplayer mini-games all revolve around the gameplay mechanic of being able to conjure up anything just by spelling it out. What differentiates this game from others in the series is the addition of game show like categories and wheel spins.
This narrows your word options and adds a level of competition that has been absent from the series. It’s these random modifies that make the game’s new gameplay mechanics work. Not only do they dramatically change up each round, but if you manage to think up the perfect solution, you’ll gain the upper-hand depending on the game type.
The fact that you can see what your opponents chosen, makes for some really tense moments. Trying to think up of something that fits a specific category or that starts with a certain letter can be hectic. On top of it all, a timer kicks in if your opponent beats you to the punch.
Three different game modes to enjoy
In all, there are three game modes that you can choose from. The first mode we will look at is Versus—essentially a pickup and play mode. Here you can select how many rounds to play, whether they are word or speed based games, and if you want to battle against another human player or the AI. I found this mode to be great for those who are looking for a quick round or two.
Sandbox mode gives you various stages that you can play about in. Additionally, you can complete objectives by helping out characters. This will allow you to earn Starites, which unlock more stages and costumes.
Sandbox mode is a nice addition to the game, but I couldn’t help but feeling it was very limited. Most of the goals a straight forward and won’t really cause you any distress. Plus, if you ever get struck you can just buy a hint using the Starites you have collected.
However, Showdown is the meat and potatoes of Scribblenauts Showdown. It offers a board game layout that up to four players can play in. It’s a race to the finish by playing cards from each of the players hands. Each of the cards can contain a mini-game that can offer either a reward or penalty, such as moving a certain amount of spaces or drawing more cards.
If you have ever played a Mario Party game, then you will see where this game gets its inspiration from. I found that with this mode, having all four players play really made a difference. Sure it was fun with two or three players, but four is really the sweet spot.
A mixed bag of mini-games
The mini-games in Showdown mode themselves are a bit of a mixed bag. There are some where you have to race to a finish line, and are fun every time you play. On the other hand, the more obscure ones such as the moon rover or eating contest felt bland and void of fun.
However, I do like the fact that Shiver Entertainment included some speed based games such as hitting a tether ball back and forth. These type of mini-games doesn’t require a lot of thought and quite fun. A welcomed changed from some of those that are real brain teasers.
I did find it strange that only two players can play these mini-games at a time. I can’t help but think how cool it would have been to have a full team of four people getting in on the fun.
Classic Scribblenauts art style
If you have played any of the previous Scribblenauts games, then you’ll know what to expect when it comes to Scribblenauts Showdown’s graphics. Essentially this game looks like every other one in the series. While the graphics may not be flashy, I love the unique cartoon feel they provide to the game.
I had a ton of fun customizing and designing my own Scribblenaut to play as. There are literally hundreds of wacky costume pieces and vehicles to unlock and choose from.
Scribblenauts Showdown is a game that feels like it has unlimited potential, thanks in part to the amazing ability to conjure up almost anything you can think of. I feel that taking the Scribblenauts series into the realm of party games was a smart idea. Though, fans who have played other games in the series might feel like this game doesn’t bring enough new features into the game to warrant it a must play.
+ Makes for an amusing night with family and friends
+ Astonishing amount of playable characters
+ Motion controls in mini-games on the Switch are fun
+ Fun, creative game that will put your imagination into overdrive
– Mini-games are a mixed bag
– Sandbox levels seem small
– No online multiplayer modes
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.75/5