Taking a brief break from my “Tech of Disney” series, I thought it would be fun to highlight a game I recently came across called “Scibblenauts Remix”. My daughter got a Nintendo 3DS XL just after Christmas. The high cost of the system itself sent me off to the pawn shop to find cheap games. While her focus was on Littlest Pet Shop and Pokemon, I was hoping to find some games that had some educational element to them, as well as fun gameplay. I struck gold when I found the original DS version of “Scribblenauts” for $2 in a bargain bin!
Basically it is a puzzle-solving game. You are presented with a challenge within a small 2D environment. Could be a farm, could be outer space, or underwater. You then use your “magic notebook” to type the items that you need to solve the problem. Those items will then appear on the screen for you to use. I love this game because it teaches critical thinking skills with the problem solving and it challenges my 2nd grader to spell all the words for the items she wants to use. She is really enjoying it. Heck, I’m really enjoying it. But I got tired of asking her if I could play “her” 3DS (with her listing the conditions I must adhere to in order to use it), so I decided to see if the App Store had some version of the game. I found it right away, and it is pretty awesome. Let’s break down the mobile app, “Scribblenauts Remix”.
The Cup Half Full
I’ve compared gameplay between the DS version and the mobile version, and I’ve found very little difference. Sure the 3DS offers a second screen, but that’s mainly used for stats, the game itself is entirely played on the touchscreen of the 3DS. So there’s no difference between it and the mobile app (aside from using a 3DS stylus, though you could use one with the mobile app too, if you wanted).
The mobile app offers up a ton of levels for $0.99! And if you drop an additional….wait for it…. $0.99, you get all the current levels (around 50 right now) plus access to all additional levels coming down the road. I did some research and the original 50 levels were a breakdown of 20 original Scribblenauts game levels, 20 Super Scribblenauts levels, and 10 levels created especially for the mobile app. That’s a pretty amazing package for $2, being that buying new versions of the two DS games would run you $40 pretty easily (if you aren’t a pawn shopper like me).
Finally, the mobile app has some cool additions not found on the 3DS version. One is the use of the dictation speaker built into the keyboard to speak the names of the items you want to get in your “magic notebook”. This negates my plan for spelling practice, but my daughter knows that speaking is a last resort, and she seems to be sticking to the plan so far. Also, if you want to scrap all of your current creations in the current level, all you have to do is shake the phone and you will be prompted to agree to scrap all creations. That’s comes in handy when my elaborate plans don’t work out so well.
One final bonus, since the mobile game works on iPad as well, you can play on a much larger screen than with the 3DS version!
The Cup Half Empty
As with all mobile apps, this one offers “in app purchases”. These come in the form of “avatar” character packs to use in the game. It comes standard with the primary character Maxwell, as well as a Lifeguard, a girl Maxwell, and God (picture old guy in white robe). There are several avatar packs that will run you another $0.99 for each group. They include mythical characters, historical figures, and monsters. So if you really want to play as Shakespeare or Dracula, you’ve got options. But it’ll cost ya. There are also “playgrounds” which come in a three pack for, you guessed it, $0.99. So I call the “in app purchases” a half empty thing, but really, you could get everything they have to offer and not even reach the cost of a single 3DS game, so that’s pretty cool.
The other issue I’ve found with the game is related to “Game Center”. At first glance it appeared that a game I started on my iPhone would transfer over to my iPad Mini, but that doesn’t appear to the case at this point. Though that could be a setting issue as much as anything. I’m not a hard-core gamer, so this isn’t a big concern for me, but I know that could be a deal breaker for some, who count those points like they’re real cash.
Parental Note: This game does allow you to call up guns and other weapons. If you “shoot” the weapon at another character they will lose hearts and vanish in a cloud of smoke. When shooting humans, this will generally result in losing the level and having to start over. The game does not have overt violence, but for those sensitive to this issue, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
The Whole Cup Summed Up
“Scribblenauts Remix” is a great little mobile game for both smartphones and tablets. It’s been around for a few years now, so new gamers will find tons of content, with more coming. I would expect a game with similar gameplay to cost at least $1.99 in the app store. But they’ve made this one accessible for everyone’s wallet. The gameplay is on par with the much more expensive 3DS version, and even offers a few perks like shake to scrap and voice commands.
You’ll probably be tempted by those in app avatar purchases, and who could blame you!? So if you’ve got a few extra bucks, pick this up.
And a note to parents. I sought out a game for my daughter that would be so fun she would barely register that she was learning and developing her brain, and this was a total score. So definitely check it out if you’ve got an elementary school kiddo. But be prepared to spend some time playing it yourself, cause it is tons of fun!
Try and tell me you don’t want to know what’s going on here!?