Scribblenauts Unlimited

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Scribblenauts Unlimited Game Poster Image
Vocabulary-exercise puzzler is an imaginative treat.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about puzzle solving while exercising their vocabulary and stretching their imagination in this highly creative puzzle adventure. Players need to search their stock of words to come up with nouns and adjectives that describe, in detail, the sort of creatures and things they want to create to solve non-player characters' problems. Generally speaking, the more creative and imaginative the solution, the more fun the game is. Misspelled words are marked in red with suggestions for correct spellings provided, which means kids may get to brush up on their spelling skills while playing.

Positive Messages

The story focuses on helping people solve problems. Kids are encouraged to stretch their imaginations to the limit as they write words that are used to summon into existence nearly anything they can think of to deal with the situations they encounter.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Max learns a lesson early on about playing practical jokes, then spends the rest of the game trying to do good deeds. He provides aid of one form or another to nearly everyone he meets in the game, all in the name of the grander goal of saving his sister from turning to stone. 

Ease of Play

Moving Max around with the thumbstick is a snap, and finding folks in need of assistance is easy if you turn on starite vision, which highlights all nearby puzzles. What's more, there's generally a pretty simple solution to almost all of the game's hundreds of conundrums. If you do get stuck, the game will eventually provide a simple clue or suggestion for what you need to do.

Violence

Using Max's notebook kids can conjure up things that perpetrate violence, including everything from atomic bombs and laser rifles to raging zombies and giant destructive monkeys. That said, everything is presented in a very cartoonish manner, and the game stops short of allowing players to summon more disturbing things such as blood, gore, or victims. They can also add vomit and farting.

Sex

Players can create "pretty" people, and one mission is about making sure a couple's date and wedding go smoothly. However, there's no hanky-panky and the game doesn't let kids create objects with adjectives like "nude."

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The game does not permit players to create objects using words like "wine," "beer," or "cigarette."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Scribblenauts Unlimited is an adventure game starring a young boy with a magical notebook who's on a mission to help everyone he can. Play encourages kids to use their imagination to conjure up whatever might be needed to solve a particular problem, like a doctor to tend to a sick person or a lawnmower to cut overgrown grass. While the range of objects players can create is enormous, the game stops short of allowing kids to spawn any truly disturbing imagery, serious violence, or adult-themed objects. Comical zombies, vomit, and laser guns are about as far as kids can take things. Parents should note that while this game allows players to share custom content with each other, controls are in place to keep swapped objects kid-friendly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9, 15, and 18+ year old Written bySpecimenB April 12, 2013

Good for the whole family

A terrific game for parents and kids a like. My son and I enjoy playing together and seeing how many silly solutions we can come up with. Much like the old scri... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 10, 14, and 17 year old Written byMomisummer August 11, 2013

My 10 year old loves the whole series

My son has played each of the games and he loves them all. No cussing, violence or anything but a mind puzzle. Great for all ages.
Kid, 11 years old January 9, 2013

Great!

This game is great! I think that any kid should play it, though younger kids will definitely need help with some puzzles. Actually, I'm 11, and I still nee... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byARandomDude February 24, 2013

Awesome, Really Creative

Its really creative, you build things,You will really like this game in single player or in multiplayer its fun for the family and funny I rate this 10/10

What's it about?

Max, the perpetually smiling star of SCRIBBLENAUTS UNLIMITED, has done a bad thing at the game's outset. After playing a prank on someone with his magical notebook, which lets him conjure up anything he wants simply by writing it down, his sister is cursed to slowly turn into stone. The only things that can save her are starites -- little yellow stars earned by doing good deeds. So Max heads out into the world looking to use his notebook for the greater good. Under the player's guidance, he helps get cars running again by summoning mechanics, serves people in a restaurant by creating their ideal meals, and even ensures a first date goes smoothly by helping a guy procure some decent duds, a present, and a ride. In fact, players can help these people however they like, writing into existence anything they can think of that might solve their problems, from star-spangled bears to unreliable time machines. The object of the game is not only to solve problems, but to do so in fun and funny ways -- like, say, putting out a kitchen fire with a thunderstorm. There are dozens of areas for Max to explore and hundreds of puzzles for players to solve, which should keep kids busy for quite a while.

Is it any good?

As with past Scribblenauts games, you get as much out of Scribblenauts Unlimited as you put into it. It's pretty easy to solve most problems in basic ways, conjuring a guitar for a musician in need of an instrument or a bicycle for a kid in want of something to do. And kids will likely get bored if that's all they do. However, they're apt to have loads of fun if they take the time to think up goofy, outrageous, and unlikely solutions instead. Rather than demolish a building with a wrecking ball, why not summon up a nuclear missile or some sort of destructive monster?

The series' debut on Wii U finally gives Max a much needed backstory, and it sets the action in a pretty, high-definition, connected world where Max moves organically from one area to another, solving puzzles along the way. Not all of the new features work as well as others -- the co-op mode, which has additional players using a Wii Remote to control objects created by the main player with the GamePad, just makes for jealous friends -- but taken as a whole it's the deepest and most satisfying game the Scribblenauts series has yet produced.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about imagination. What sort of things can you imagine that are impossible to make in the real world? Was there anything you imagined that the game didn't let you create?

  • Families can also discuss violence in games. How can you tell what your kids are ready for? Do you factor in their judgment, what they think they might be ready to see?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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