A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn puzzle-solving while exercising their vocabulary, stretching their imagination. Players are encouraged to be adventurous wordsmiths while also learning correct spelling.
Players encouraged to be creative in their problem-solving.
Positive Role Models
There can be all sorts of chaotic situations playing out, but player's character is presented as being calm, focused.
Ease of Play
Series newcomers will be thrown by variety of play here, tutorials assume fair amount of familiarity with core game.
Violence & Scariness
Some games/tasks prompt players to use "cartoony" weapons (e.g., bazookas, bombs, swords) to deplete health meters of other characters. Characters can also eat or bite other characters when prompted by a modifying word/trait. Handful of areas contain enemy characters (i.e., skeleton warriors) that will attack players if approached.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Scribblenauts Showdown is a party/puzzle-platformer game for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Players engage in a variety of tasks and mini-games using a selection of words, actions, modifiers, and characters. There's some cartoon violence as some games or tasks prompt players to use "cartoony" weapons (e.g., bazookas, bombs, swords) to deplete the health meters of other characters. Characters can also eat or bite other characters when prompted by a modifying word/trait. A handful of areas contain enemy characters (i.e., skeleton warriors) that will attack players if approached. That's the extent ot the objectionable content in this game, though, since it's designed with kids in mind. The main focus of Scribblenauts Showdown is creative problem-solving and outsmarting your opponents in this competitive slant on this vocabulary-based series.
Is It Any Good?
This game's biggest drawback is how repetitive it can quickly become. Intended to be played competitively between friends and the whole family, the odds are fairly good everyone involved in a round of Scribblenauts Showdown will start to tire of the 25 mini-games after an hour or two. The classic sandbox mode is here for respite, letting players loose on eight somewhat small stages to conjure words from a 35,000-word dictionary to gratify characters (like the geisha who wants a specific flower or the dinosaur egg under a snowstorm that needs to hatch). This series has always been synonymous with that impressive dictionary and giving you the freedom to make whatever you can think of, add adjectives to them, and see what sort of chaos or funny interaction happens.
Showdown doesn't lose out on a recommendation simply because it's a departure, but do temper your expectations: The right turns here aren't as bold as they could be. The 25 mini-games fall into two flavors: wordy games and speedy mini-games. Wordy games require you to input a word that fulfills a certain criteria so that you possibly gain an unpredictable upper hand. For example, an obstacle course that asks you to enter a word that starts with "S." I found that riding a sumo wrestler was surprisingly faster than my opponent, riding a salmon. Not all that different but less verbal are speedy mini-games, where you simply must race against the clock to, say, collect more fireflies than the other players. The main draw of playing all these modes over and over again is collecting starites, which function as the game's currency. With them, you can purchase hints for sandbox mode or accessories for your character. It'd be a heartier recommendation if there was more variety here -- most mini-game collections like this, at minimum, have two to three times of what's here -- but for a kid-friendly party game, this is a nice addition to your shelf.
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