Scribblenauts Showdown offers a new twist on a pretty well established franchise and takes it to a level that involves the whole family. It is a local multiplayer challenge experience made up of lots of mini games for the whole family to enjoy. As with any game from the Scribblenauts franchise, the players imagination plays a big part in how the whole experience unfolds. There are a number of modes available including a Versus mode, the main Showdown mode and the sandbox area where different levels can be explored and moulded in to your own creation.
Within the Versus and Showdown game modes players take on a variation of many random mini games, with some being short 10 second games to others lasting a few minutes. There are two variations of what to expect within these modes with Speedy games being exactly what they say they are consisting of things like chopping a tree down the quickest by tapping A and B continuously in a timed motion or being the fastest to build the perfect campfire. The other type is the Wordy games where the player will use their imagination to think of something to use in the game, as long as it’s in the Scribblenauts dictionary, you type it, you use it. Doing a 100 meters hurdle race while on the back of a military operative or a chicken is surprisingly a lot of fun.
The stand out mode is the main Showdown mode. This offers a board game style experience by giving each player boost cards to get them around the board to the finish line first. On the way though players will compete against each other in a mixture of Speedy and Wordy mini games in order to gain an advantage and move around the board. Included in the cards though are wildcards that can be used to transport forward 3 spaces or some can even be used to bring your opponent back a few spaces, hindering their progression. This particular mode is certainly a lot of fun and certainly stands out against the versus mode, which is more of a quick play option.
While it feels fresh at first, once you get to grips with and experience all of the mini games on offer it can get quite tiresome, seeing the same mini game pop up over and over again, signifying that Scribblenauts Showdown isn’t a game that you could spend many hours playing but rather a game to put on for an hour or so to have some family fun. Sandbox mode is a neat little addition offering a place of exploration and imagination. Different settings all offer different secrets to find and tasks to complete all while offering the player full access to its dictionary to create within each setting.
Scribblenauts is definitely a visually appealing game, especially to younger players, easily identifiable and resembling a cartoon style found on channels like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Colours are vibrant and it all looks nice and crispy sharp on screen, offering a pleasing art style suited to the style of game that it is aiming to be. The overall gameplay is simple yet addictive, offering an easy control scheme for all mini games that anyone of any age can access and enjoy. There is some repetition in the gameplay at times but certain mini games stand out more than others in the gameplay department and difficulty levels can vary depending on the task at hand. Overall though, despite its limitations, Scribblenauts Showdown is fun to play.
Where the game is sadly let down is in its price point, with it being overly expensive for what is on offer. The content is of good quality but I don’t feel that there is enough to keep everybody interested for the long haul and is a game that may be played only on a few occasions throughout the year. Contributing to its lack of longevity and rather high price point and possibly its biggest downfall is the fact that there is no online multiplayer on offer. I feel that there is a missed opportunity to expand on this fun and quirky universe by having some kind of competitive online mode but the developers have opted to leave it out for some strange reason. Having this included could of boosted the amount that this game will be played and could really add to what I consider to be a pretty polished family party game, but having no online options seriously limits the playtime considerably. Scribblenauts Showdown isnt a bad game as such, it has its fun moments in short bursts but it’s let down by its repetitiveness, it’s limitations in scope and is far too expensive for what it is.