Video Game Review: 'Scribblenauts'

Scribblenauts, a new game for the Nintendo DS, is, quite simply, delightful. It’s whimsical and playful and will appeal to casual gamers of all ages -- all ages who can spell, at least. The game is divided into short stages, each of which challenges you to find your way to a star hidden or protected in some dastardly way, or earn a star by accomplishing a task -- figuring out how to make a car move, say, or rescuing a lamb threatened by a wolf. The fun part is that any tool you’d want for the task at hand is at your fingertips -- just type (or write) the name of a baseball bat, if you think you can use a baseball bat to fend off the wolf, and it’ll appear.

Want to fly up to a tree to fetch something? You can sprout wings, or conjure a magic carpet, or an airplane. Whatever you want, as long as it’s a real object and not a place, a proper name, suggestive material, a shape, a Latin or Greek root word, alcohol, race, culture, vulgarity, or copyrighted. The permitted list includes guns and other weapons, but it’s not encouraged -- you get bonus points if you beat the stage without resorting to violence. It’s a Rube Goldberg video game. Kids love coming up with the most creative, sometimes ridiculous way to solve a problem. And you may find yourself sneaking in some games, too -- I even brought it with me on my commute instead of a book for a few days.

Torie Bosch

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