Thursday, October 08, 2009

Scribblenauts? More like scribble not.

Above: Exploring scribbles.

I have a review of Scribblenauts up at Innovative or not, it is not a very good game. It's fun to mess around with, and my wife wants me to tell everyone that she really liked it. (That's not as minor a footnote as it may sound -- this may be the first time that's ever happened. You wouldn't believe the number of supposedly casual-friendly Wii games she hasn't liked. The list of games she likes now stands at two: this, and Rock Band.) But there's little more here than promise that a later game might be better.

I find I'm losing patience with games that don't work well to begin with. Everybody made so much out of how everything you summon in Scribblenauts acts correctly -- bears are hungry, helicopters fly, and so on -- but I found that not to be the case. Things rarely did what I expected them to. Maxwell hardly ever went where I wanted him to. And perfectly logical solutions didn't pan out, because the governing logic naturally can't be all that different from one type of thing to another.

There was a time when I'd put up with a game's foibles, because it was the only one I had on hand, and what the hell else was I supposed to do? These days I feel more like I can't be bothered with a game that hasn't put in the effort to smooth out the edges. I love the idea of Scribblenauts. I really do. I also love the idea of world peace. Sometimes you bump up against reality.


Matthew Gallant said...

"Therefore world peace, like Scribblenauts, gets a 2.5 out of 5." - Mitch Krpata

Gary A. Lucero said...

The longer I live the more convinced I am that we live splintered lives where two people will hardly ever agree.

I don't have a DS but if Scribblenauts were to come to the iPhone, I would buy it. Would I expect it to be a great game? No, but few portable games truly are.

And for that matter, while many love God of War or Final Fantasy or Dead Space, some of use prefer something a bit more Western, like Fallout 3 or Mass Effect or Halo 3 ODST.

My point is we are never all going to agree on this stuff. And I'm not arguing whether Scribblenauts is a good game or not -- most people say it isn't -- but what I am saying is I bet even Mitch will put up with a lot of nonsense in certain games but not in others, right?

We all do...

RocknRollJoel said...

Gary - You make a good point. Mitch is right, Scribblenauts is not a good game. The controls are rubbish. The camera sometimes makes me want to snap my DS in half. Things don't always act the way you expect them to. And you know what? I don't really care, cos the game is so much damn fun. I'll play it for a good few hours before i get sick of the controls. And i always come back to it. Whereas there are other games that have small issues that i just can't get over, and are real dealbreakers for me. It's all different strokes for different folks, i guess.

Gary A. Lucero said...

Thanks RocknRollJoel.

The other thing that always strikes me as odd is that sometimes a game really clicks, even one that isn't good, and other times even pretty good games just don't click at all.

For exmaple, I bought the new Wolfenstein game when it came out and after several hours I couldn't play it anymore. Spent $60 and it just wasn't doing it for me.

I then spent $10 on Turning Point, a game panned in the press and hated by many, and I really enjoyed it. Played the entire game and forgave its many flaws!

But at a time of the year when a great RPG or other game has really captured my attention, I wouldn't give certain games the time of day. I'm also very apt to forgive the faults of a great Western RPG (Mass Effect for example: Flawed by brilliant IMO).

web design mumbai said...

Well great work a review to be appreciated.

8Bitz said...

All true-- You guys might love this!! True classic point n clickage coming to your iphone from some indie gamer peeps. COuld be better than Monkey Island methinks!


8Bitz said...

--Oo they got a game design blog and site too ---

Like a good mystery!

Mike said...

I, too, wanted to like this game more than I do. It does come down to frustrating gameplay when the core concept is still executed well.

Example: the last level of the first stage, with the bee and the piranha. I accidentally grabbed the bee, jumped in the water, jumped out before the piranha killed me, and the bee remained in the water and died. I was unable to reproduce it, though.

I tried summoning "bee killer" and got the same thing as if I'd said "killer" -- same with "bee suit," I got a tux -- though in doing so discovered that you can finish plenty of levels with "ninja."

After all that, though, it was unclear that there was a third flower in the water and so I had to do it all over. The shopping level in the second stage was a pain, too.

I'm going to keep trying, but I don't know if I can make it through.

Mike said...

Oh, I forgot to mention what I came here to mention in the first place. Scribblenauts is making me realize that I just may not be that imaginative when it comes to things like this. A beaver cutting down a tree? Would never have occurred to me. On the snowball level, I futzed around with "snowball machine" and "cord" and "generator" for god knows how long before I said "forget it," reset the level, and typed "snowball" three times.

I love that there's a reward for being creative, but I hate the fact that if I get what I feel is even remotely creative I'm punished for it.