What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Scribblenauts Remix is the first iOS installment in this popular puzzle series that encourages and rewards players for using their imagination. Faced with puzzles, players must write in the objects they wish to use, giving lots of leeway as to where things can go. (The game has a vocabulary of thousands of words.) The game is largely a "Best of" collection of content from the first two games in the series, so fans who have both might be a bit disappointed. Because of the game's open nature, players can opt for a peaceful or violent solution. And the sometimes difficult nature of the puzzles makes this app less than optimal for younger players. Users can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- solving puzzles
- thinking critically
- developing novel solutions
Engagement, Approach, Support
Open-ended situational challenges surprise and delight but could frustrate some kids. Kids will keep trying and ask for help to get the job done.
The depth of available puzzles, objects, and associated vocabulary is fair. Kids are empowered to devise creative solutions. The hints sometimes define narrow ones, and no true sandbox mode exists.
A fantastic tutorial eases kids into the experience, but navigation and controlling objects can be frustrating.
What's it about?
The app presents a variety of colorful, brainteasing puzzles. Kids type in words to conjure up objects, then use those objects to solve the puzzle. For example, in one puzzle, players need to get a star off a tree. They can summon an ax and chop the tree down, or create a ladder to climb it, or type in "jetpack" to fly to retrieve it. Even if they don't arrive at the "best" answer, if their chosen object works, they can solve the puzzle and move to the next.
Is it any good?
The Scribblenauts series is one of the most unique to come along in years, so it's delightful to see it make its debut on iDevices. SCRIBBLENAUTS REMIX is a best-of game, combining the highlights of the first two Nintendo DS titles (along with 10 new puzzles) and offering a wonderful mix as a result. Veteran players know the drill, but newcomers to the game will be astonished at the wide variety of ways they can solve puzzles. (It is, in fact, just as fun to play with the game's dictionary to come up with ideas as it is to solve the puzzle.)
Some of the puzzles are tough, but an integrated clue system will help people along. The real joy in the game, though, comes from seeing how creative you can be in your answers. Climbing a ladder up a tree to get a star is easy and obvious, but it's so much more fun to ride a friendly dragon to the top to retrieve it. If you're not playing this, you're doing yourself a disservice.
Families can talk about...
Help kids think about categories of objects. For example, if they need a container, you could say, "A bucket is a container. What are other types of containers?"
For kids who are stumped, ask questions about object properties: "Do you need something that's flat? Long?"
Make a dictionary available to kids for spelling help.