Scribblenauts Showdown PlayStation 4 Review

If you are a fan of the Scribblenauts series, you will be surprised by the new additions to the Scribblenauts Showdown's word library.

By RON, Posted 11 Mar 2018

Scribblenauts Showdown is a fun game, for a while. It is the latest entry in the series known for its use of words as part of a sandbox-style gameplay, but this time it has a twist: a multiplayer based party-style gameplay in which a player can compete against other humans or AI players in a series of mini-games.

The game has three different modes on offer: Versus (a one-on-one game mode), Showdown! (party-style scenarios with up to four players), and Sandbox (the classic Scribblenauts experience in which your imagination and vocabulary will determine how able you are to help the characters in every scenario and, in turn, receive rewards for doing so).

Scribblenauts Showdown,PlayStation 4,PS4|Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Characters,Library,Missions

For those unfamiliar with the Scribblenauts series, here’s a crash course: in Scribblenauts Showdown, you control a character – regularly Maxwell, but you can also create your own – in a series of sandbox scenarios. Using words to create virtually everything you can imagine – within reasonable limits for a game aimed primarily at children – the Scribblenauts library has increased considerably with each entry –, you can address the necessities of the characters you encounter, attack, defend yourself or create different ways of mobility. On consoles like the Nintendo DS this was fairly easy because of the stylus, but the solution for the PS4 is rather ingenious. Scribblenauts Showdown provides you with different circles to choose from. Each circle encloses fourth letters, divided alphabetically. Each of those four letters corresponds to a button on the controller. So, if you want to select letter A, you’ll have to select the wheel in which the A is enclosed and then press the button that is in the same position as the letter on the wheel. It is fairly easier done than said. Besides, the game provides you with a predictive autocomplete list after a couple letters have been input. That makes it even easier to create a word. On top of that, you can modify something you have already created by inputting an adjective. This is required especially during sandbox gameplay, where you will find different missions and secret objectives.

First let’s tackle Versus and Showdown! modes. Both are rather similar, with the main difference being the Mario Party-like maps used in Showdown! mode and the ability to compete with up to four players, whilst versus mode is a friendly mano-a-mano competition in continuous games until a victor is decided.

Scribblenauts Showdown,PlayStation 4,PS4|Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Characters,Library,Missions

Another key difference between these modes is the fact that you have to use cards to advance, make your opponent go back, draw other cards and, in general, do anything during the Showdown! mode. These cards will often also decided which type of minigame you will face during your turn. There are three types of minigames: wordy, which means words will be useful or decisive for the outcome of the game; speedy, which translates to button-smashing, and a weird hybrid of both types. It is important to notice that even though wordy games might benefit from a creative use of words, some word choices can be rather wacky and will not punish you for using the world “velociraptor” as your choice of a meal or the word “mummy” as your desired mode of transportation during a Flappy Bird-like game. It’s just part of the Scribblenauts fun.

In principle, the game is fun and some minigames actually are entertaining, but the main problem is that it gets old pretty fast. Once the novelty factor wears off, the game does not have a lot to offer and some games even become monotone and repetitive. Furthermore, speedy games feel like very unimaginative and flat; in the end it’s just about how fast you can punch a button and where’s the fun in that?

Despite that, the sandbox scenarios are actually quite fun and packed with a lot of things to do. It is a shame that there are only 8 of them, with a couple more to be unlocked. To be fair, some puzzles are quite imaginative and might make you feel like playing a kiddy version of a point-and-click adventure game, without the inconvenience of actually having to find the object you think will suit best; instead, you get to create whatever you want on the spot and try any possible combination to meet the needs of the characters and animals in the scenario.

Scribblenauts Showdown,PlayStation 4,PS4|Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Characters,Library,Missions

Another positive element in the game lays in its customizable options. There are a lot of possible ways you can create and customize your character, with options like hairdos, skin colors, facial accessories, and both men’s and women’s clothing for your character; you do you! This does not impact gameplay in any way, but does give you a better sense of immersion and satisfaction.

If you have never played Scribblenauts, this might actually be the best way to start doing so and, if you are a fan of the series, you will be surprised by the new additions to the word library. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little wacky fun competition from time to time. Scribblenauts Showdown is available now for PS4, Switch and Xbox One.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2018-03-06

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