Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 26, 2018
Scribblenauts Mega Pack is an expanded bundle of two action adventure puzzle games available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Scribblenauts made its debut in September 2009 releasing exclusively on the DS to unanticipated critical acclaim as it became a sleeper hit leading to a sequel titled Super Scribblenauts for the DS in October 2010, while Scribblenauts Remix was released for iOS and Android in October 2011 and April 2013 respectively. Scribblenauts Unlimited marked the first time that Scribblenauts appeared on a dedicated gaming console outside of the DS; launching on 3DS, Wii U and even PC from November 2012, while Scribblenauts ventured into the DC Comics Universe with Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure on 3DS, Wii U and PC in September 2013. Can Scribblenauts Mega Pack prove even more popular than Scribblenauts Showdown, while continuing the momentum of the Scribblenauts franchise’s recent renaissance?
Scribblenauts Mega Pack is a compilation of two previously Nintendo console exclusive action adventure puzzle games including Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure and Scribblenauts Unlimited. Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure features new levels and over 200 new characters and costumes from the DC Universe in addition to all of the previously released content, while Scribblenauts Unlimited is not superhero themed, but contains the fun gameplay of the Scribblenauts franchise set in global locations.
For players who have only previously played Scribblenauts Showdown and not the Nintendo exclusive Scribblenauts games; gameplay in both games is reminiscent to that of the sandbox mode from Scribblenauts Showdown. Gameplay revolves around creating objects by using the letter wheel to utilise letters in effectively producing an object that solves a scenario that characters are having. For instance, a cat is stuck up a tree in Scribblenats Unlimited, so at first you may think about creating a ladder, climbing it, picking up the cat and bringing the cat to the sad girl that needs help to find her cat, but the actual solution is to create a fireman who then proceeds to hastily chop down the tree to save the cat.
Starite collectibles are earned through making characters happy by helping them to achieve objectives such as a farmer who is desperate for his pig to win the animal show; the player’s participation earns a shard with ten shards forming a single starite.
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure introduces Gotham, Metro and Justice League reputation points that are earned by helping heroic characters and civilians which are spent on unlocking more locations; however if the player utilises the same word more than once in the same area, then it will reduce Gotham, Metro or Justice League reputation points by 50%, while certain words do not offer any reputation points as they would be deemed too easy. Mr. Mxyzptlk from the Fifth Dimension will deliberately show up at a location that Maxwell transports to in order to compete to show everyone who is more imaginative by setting limitations for Maxwell with the reward of double Gotham, Metro or Justice League reputation points for completing a task, despite the imposed limitations. Also, when a villain such as Victor Zsasz attacks Maxwell, he can defend himself by creating a weapon, although weapons have durability that will gradually decrease the more the weapon is used. Upon meeting Batman and Alfred Pennyworth in the Batcave; Maxwell is provided with full usage of the Batcomputer to view a range of creatable heroes, villains, vehicles, equipment and teams, alongside unlockable superhero and supervillain costumes, although the unlockable costumes must be purchased with varying amounts of reputation points.
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure’s character design is the star of the show as it comprises of iconic superhero characters from the DC Comics Universe including Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, James Gordon, Superman, Wonder Woman and much more besides, although there are supervillains too such as The Joker, Penguin, The Riddler, Victor Zsasz and many more. Interacting with Alfred Pennyworth in the Batcave provides the player with the ability to edit superhero costumes in the hero creator such as changing the classic Flash costume from red to the colour of your favourite football team or alternatively constructing a superhero from the face, body, arms, legs and feet of different superheroes, alongside equipping your superhero with any of over 100 superpower attacks that are unlocked through spending reputation points. Meanwhile, your superhero can also have widely varying detailed options and scripts from ten entire categories including general, fire, electricity, weapon, container, movement, equipment, behaviour, special and scripting all containing multiple options within each category, alongside naming your superhero. Scribblenauts Unlimited’s character design sees the main hero of Scribblenauts named Maxwell return to help all manner of characters including a farmer; a sad girl whose cat has run up a tree; and many more besides. Alternative avatars for Maxwell’s brothers are gradually unlocked as you find and help them followed by highlighting Maxwell and picking an avatar for your character.
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure’s environment design includes Gotham City comprising of the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD), the Batcave, Wayne Manor, Arkham Asylum and Joker’s Funhouse; Metropolis and the Fortress of Solitude; Oa; Atlantis; Central City; and much more besides, alongside environments contained within origin stories, although the majority of environments and all origin stories need to be unlocked with a varying amount of reputation points. Scribblenauts Unlimited’s environment design is understandably not as varied as the vast quantity of subject matter to draw from in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, although Scribblenauts Unlimited’s environment design is still quite varied as it includes everything from a farm to large bustling cities and much more besides.
It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of Scribblenauts, especially considering Scribblenauts and Super Scribblenauts released on DS, while Scribblenauts Unlimited and Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure released on 3DS, alongside an iOS and Android mobile exclusive titled Scribblenauts Remix and a port of Scribblenauts Unlimited; yet there has never been a Scribblenauts game ported to PSP or Vita. However, remote play is a consolation for Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure and Scribblenauts Unlimited within Scribblenauts: Mega Pack. Scribblenauts Mega Pack’s remote play performance for both games is excellent as it produces the quality of graphics, audio and general performance from the PS4 version. Remote play control scheme optimisations include zooming in or out being re-mapped to the top right and left of the touch screen respectively, while the rest of the controls remain identical; resulting in a comfortable remote play experience.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing O to display the action menu; pressing X to select, place object or jump; pressing square to perform a default action or rotate an object; pressing triangle to interact or rotate an object; pressing R1 or L1 to cycle through to the next or previous object respectively; pressing R2 to zoom in or L2 to zoom out; pressing right on the d-pad to open the notepad; pressing left on the d-pad to turn starite vision on or off in Scribblenauts Unlimited or to use the Batcomputer in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure; pressing up on the d-pad to open the world map; pressing down on the d-pad to centre the camera; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move your character or cycle through objects; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to move the camera; pressing options to toggle HUD as player 1 or dropping in and out in local multiplayer as player 2. Vibration occurs when Maxwell has been attacked by an enemy, although there is no touch pad implementation that could have provided an alternative to the left analogue stick and face buttons when choosing letters to form objects, while there is no light bar support that could have produced the colour of the superhero costume Maxwell is wearing.
Graphically, both Scribblenauts games retain the charming cartoon qualities of every Scribblenauts game for each of the vast quantity of characters, environments and objects situated throughout both games. However, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure elevates the charm by producing comic book stylised fonts of such words as pow, bam and thunk to emphasise Maxwell or a superhero fighting a villain.
Scribblenauts Mega Pack’s presentation is solid with an excellent user interface across various menus such as the title menu, main menu, character avatar customisation menus, options menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Main menu backgrounds for Scribblenauts Mega Pack prior to entering either game focuses on the vast amount of items that Maxwell has the capability to scribble.
Despite the opening story cutscene having a voice-over for Lily and Maxwell respectively; every character during gameplay only communicates their dialogue through speech bubbles, although they are presented in a fun and stylish manner. Sound effects vary from one objective and environment to another, while characters interact with each other and engage in battle, alongside ambient sound effects such as birds tweeting near a farm and a colony of bats in the Batcave; accompanied by uplifting arcade style music in Scribblenauts Unlimited and superhero film soundtrack esque orchestral music in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. The DualShock 4 speaker produces incidental sound effects such as when successfully completing an objective.
The trophy list includes 47 trophies with 40 bronze trophies, 2 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Magical Globe for Rent bronze trophy for bringing three starites to Lily and unlock the world map; the Helping Hand bronze trophy for getting every starite in any given level; the Make it Yours bronze trophy for editing an object or an avatar in Scribblenauts Unlimited; and the Maxwell in Disguise bronze trophy for changing your avatar in Scribblenauts Unlimited. Harder trophies include the Notebook Explorer gold trophy for getting all 217 object shards in Scribblenauts Unlimited; the Starite Get gold trophy for getting all 112 starites in Scribblenauts Unlimited; the Walk-in-Closet gold trophy for unlocking all costumes; and the Honorary Superhero gold trophy for completing the final mission in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 35 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although the difficulty curve is highly dependent on your imagination as objects are created through spelling the words that form required objects and adjectives in order to complete objectives to overcome specific situations in both games.
Online functionality includes the ability to share and download user generated content in the form of superhero costumes and objects. Meanwhile, local multiplayer is not as far ranging as Scribblenauts Showdown as there is no split-screen multiplayer due to the second player only helping out by being able to type in letters through an additional letter wheel to assist in the creation of objects that apply to mission objectives. However, players were able to roam around the entire level in the excellent split-screen multiplayer sandbox mode in Scribblenauts Showdown; therefore it would have been much better in local multiplayer if further development time had been invested into porting the local multiplayer sandbox gameplay within both games that would have enabled local competitive multiplayer combat between superheroes and supervillains in addition to split-screen co-operative multiplayer.
Scribblenauts Mega Pack’s replayability originates from the inclusion of two full Scribblenauts games with all-new content added to Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, a massive quantity of objectives in both games, alongside being able to play through the origin stories of Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Superman and Wonder Woman as well as creating and sharing your created superheroes with the world and experiencing what other players have created to share with players globally that will collectively keep players returning for many dozens of hours between both games.
- Title: Scribblenauts Mega Pack
- Developer: 5th Cell (Original Creator/Developer) Shiver Entertainment (2018 Port)
- Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
- System: PS4
- Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-2 (Same Screen Local Multiplayer for Assisting in Creating Objects)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 3.04GB (Version 1.01)