A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn to think logically and let their imaginations run wild as they solve puzzles by writing new objects into a scene. Any word they spell is transformed into a digital creation and then incorporated within the game world. Each puzzle requires kids to complete a task and dream up their own solutions. It's a mix of logic, spelling, and creativity. Kids earn bonuses for using new words, which encourages using fresh vocabulary. They can even design their own puzzles to share with others. Kids are in charge of their own learning in this compelling environment for language play and media creation.
The overall message of the game is that imagination is king. It encourages you to be creative and dream up the most original, unusual, interesting things you can.
Positive Role Models
In a game like this, in which your own imagination determines a good portion of the content, you really have to become your own role model while you play. And while the temptation to take the easiest route is always there, the game pushes you to take the high road. Challenges may, for instance, require you to reach a goal without harming any of the animals in your way -- even the man-eating ones.
Ease of Play
Some challenges are much more difficult than others, but this sequel feels, on the whole, easier than its predecessor. It has a better hint system, too, which allows you to purchase more clues as you need them. It also shows you your progress as you tackle levels that has multiple stages. How simple you find the game depends upon how well you use your imagination.
Violence & Scariness
Relatively few of the challenges here actually require violence, but the openness of the game allows for potential violence just about any time. You can create and use just about any weapon you can imagine. Animals and monsters can attack you or one another. Adjectives like "undead," "violent," or "homicidal" can even be added to inanimate objects to make them attack others. All of this is extremely cartoony, though, as the entire game is made to look like children's drawings. Most destroyed items, people, or creatures, disappear in a puff of smoke. There is no blood and the game does not recognize the word "blood."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The game will not allow you to create anything sexual. It does recognize the words "nude" and "naked," but if you try to add those to a person, the result will be a person devoid of color, not clothes. You can however make anything "pregnant," which means that after being on screen for a few seconds, it will suddenly produce a smaller "baby" version of itself. Enter "pregnant lamp," for instance, and you'll get a lamp from which a smaller lamp will suddenly appear.
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Cuss words are not allowed.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The game does not recognize the words for any alcohol- or tobacco-related products.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the action in Super Scribblenauts is almost entirely under your child's control. Exactly how violent the game gets depends on the kind of words they type in. While weapons or monsters are unavoidable in some puzzles, there's still a big difference between choosing to arm a character with a slingshot or a submachine gun. Violent possibilities aside, though, parents would be very hard to find a more creative game for their children. And it's worth noting that this sequel is more focused on brainy, thinking puzzles than action; while there are some standard video-game-like action levels, there are not the main focus.
Is It Any Good?
The original Scribblenauts was one of the best game of, well, ever -- and Super Scribblenauts manages to top it. Taking the focus off the action levels (which were sometimes too difficult and, frankly, less interesting) in favor of more brainteaser scenarios was a brilliant move; one which makes the game far more fun and fresh-feeling. The puzzles are often incredibly inventive, including ones that ask you to fill in a visual equation (like nice man + white wings = angel). While there are still a few sets of action levels, even those tend to call for some puzzle-solving brainwork (i.e., you can't just create an M-16 and plow through the level). The ability to use adjective adds far more depth to the game. Now, if faced with a scenario where you need fire, you don't need to rely on a candle or torch -- you can create a "flaming sneaker," "burning kumquat," or "fiery unicycle." In the last game, whenever you needed to get to a high place, you had to resort to wings or a jetpack; now you can give yourself "flying pants." It's truly amazing. You can spend hours just messing around with different word combinations in the mission-free playground levels.
Online interaction: The game comes with a level designer which permits you to create your own puzzles to share with friends using Nintendo Wi-Fi.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.