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'Scribblenauts Unlimited' feels limitless on the Wii U


"Scribblenauts Unlimited" will present a "massive" open world for exploration and puzzle solving.

"Write Anything. Solve Anything." This is is the Scribblenauts mantra. In a world where you solve problems by drawing needed objects, I was eager to push the limits. Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U takes advantage of the console's larger memory by offering a broader vocabulary of possible answers to its puzzles, as well a larger world to explore.

Scribblenauts Unlimited is completely open world. Players can interact with any NPC at any time and are presented with a wide variety of missions, both quick-fixes and more elaborate schemes. Like the original Scribblenauts, series protagonist Maxwell must help solve people's problems by writing in his notepad to create objects.

Perhaps the best moment of my demo came after I had completed several quests I came across a group of small animals. A fat little pig walking along the ground gave me the option to attack when I clicked on it. I wrote "machete" in my notepad and a cartoon machete appeared for my use. I attacked the pig and it turned into a chunk of ham. Then I picked up the ham and gave it to an NPC to eat.

The machete incident was not part of a quest, but something I chose to do on my own. This is the freedom of the game's new open world, packed with small things like this that players can tool with on their own whims. The freedom to aid and create – or destroy – is powerful. The added use of the Wii U's GamePad makes the feeling of absolute creativity is even greater.

Players type in the object they want to create on the GamePad's touchscreen. The GamePad can also be used to create new objects, another creation element with seemingly limitless possibilities. The controller serves as a physical equivalent to Maxwell's magic notepad, more intimately connecting players to the MadLibs-style problem solving.

Players can choose from a number of things, like dogs and tractors, and modify or build on them in the new object creation system. They can then set the properties for the object by ascribing a set of actions to it that will control movement and, in some cases, use of weapons. An object can be set to perform a certain action when it is touched, then depending on what it encounters next can take on an additional reaction. For example, I built a tractor that hovered when I rode it, then emitted explosions of color when I ran into objects.

Unlimited comfortably fits the Wii U's unique controls scheme. There is no right or wrong way to play, and the world is open and waiting for creative problem solvers to dig in. The lack of restriction and freedom of questing sets the game apart from previous Scribblenauts titles, allowing players to craft their own Scribblenauts experiences.

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