Having never played a Scribblenauts game, I was very much looking forward to seeing what the series was all about. I knew that you could pretty much just think of something, type it in and then it would magically appear in front of your eyes — it turns out I was right!

The full premise of Scribblenauts Showdown is to be creative and use your imagination to make some wacky interactions. When people say, “The world is your oyster“, the saying applies to this game perfectly. There are literally hundreds of objects that you can muster up with a click of a button. This isn’t an understatement; as every time I tested to see if an obscure item existed I wasn’t left disappointed. This just goes to show you how much time and effort went into the development process and creating all the possible items. It’s not restricted to objects but also people and professions. For example, you can place beekeepers and ninjas down on the level stage. The sheer amount of variety blew me away (35,000 items!).

Scribblenauts Showdown Review

That’s not to say it’s all needed. Though, like I said, while it truly is great to have all these items at your disposal, but without a reason to use them, they seem a bit irrelevant. For example, when I placed the Ninja down it didn’t affect anything; it was just there. I wish the items were implemented in a more enticing way that affected the gameplay in ways that makes it worth spawning people. However, you can add “adjectives” to your character which does, in fact, change up the gameplay. One of my memorable moments was when I typed in “whacky” and some retro-themed 3D glasses were added to my character which distorted the screen and blurred my vision. There were some other creative adjectives that affected what happened either with a visual difference like the one described or with sounds.

Because Scribblenauts is primarily meant for local co-op, the single player content is a little lackluster. This isn’t inherently a downside, as it’s meant to be a multiplayer game, but it’s worth pointing out. The game consists of three core modes: Versus, Showdown and Sandbox. By far my favourite game mode was Versus as it gives you the best of both worlds. Within this mode, you have subseries modes which have you play little mini-games to beat your opponent. You can select how many rounds you want to endure against your opponent or CPU so if you only have time for a few quick rounds you can just pick a couple.

The “wordy” mini-games have you use your scribble powers to give you the upper hand against your opponent. This is a fun and refreshing concept that changed up the standard formula of the “Speedy” mode. A great example of this was in the “Balancing Act” minigame which had, you guessed it, balance objects. You take control of a magic flying carpet and have to balance the falling objects onto it, so the smaller the objects the better as you only have five lives. I quickly learned that the best technique was to pick an object that was easily stackable yet not too big or too small, so that it would just fall off or be misplaced.

If you like different control methods this is definitely the game for you as it has you turn your Joy-Con every which way for some mini-games, and quite a few even use motion controls and HD rumble. This is why you should pick up the Switch version of the game as you can even play in handheld mode. Some mini-games seem to overlap in creative ideas and are just different ways of using motion controls. A few of them just have you shake your controller frantically to complete the task, but just in different settings. Apart from that, there is a solid selection of mini-games for you to spend your time with.

The “Showdown” mode was great but also frustrating and sometimes even unfair. It is definitely a worthwhile mode to play but some of the cards you use just want to make you rage quit. I was playing against a CPU and I was nearing the end of the board until my opponent pulled out the card I was fearing he wouldn’t do. It was the card that places you all the way back to the start of the board game. At that point, I was ready to quit right then and there, but I was determined to beat the CPU. That plan didn’t go how I was expecting it to…the CPU won. This is why I think “Showdown” has its flaws as some of the cards used are too extreme and make the game unfair which equates not being an enjoyable experience.

The last game mode “Sandbox” was frankly just unnecessary. It was an attempt to incorporate a single player section into the game but it just felt clunky and had no clear vision. I never knew what I was meant to do and the maps were too small to venture out and explore the surrounding area. Despite that though, the customisation of characters was really great. You have many unlockables which you earn by playing the game. There is also a trophy section where you can view and show off your hard-earned awards.

At the end of the day, I think Scribblenauts Showdown is a great local multiplayer game that is definitely more enticing than the likes of 1-2 Switch. However, in terms of single-player content, there really isn’t much there so I don’t think it warrants a purchase if you’re looking for that. With many fun and creative mini-games, there’s lots of fun to be had in the local co-op madness that is Scribblenauts Showdown!

Scribblenauts Showdown Review (Nintendo Switch)
Scribblenauts Showdown for the Nintendo Switch is an enticing co-op multiplayer game that beats out other party games such as 1-2 Switch. If you're looking for a fun, enjoyable co-op title for the Nintendo Switch, look no further than Scribblenauts Showdown.
Overall Score7.5
Pros
  • The co-op multiplayer is a blast with a variety of game modes.
  • There are more items to create than you can count.
  • The game has a variety of control options and has portability, which no other version has
Cons
  • Single player isn't nearly as enjoyable as multiplayer
  • The computer can be incredibly cheap
  • Sandbox Mode is unecessary
7.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)
5.3

About The Author

Special Contributor

Marcus Sellars is a veteran in the video game industry. He has written reviews and features for a variety of different outlets and is a gaming insider. You can find his him on Twitter, along with his inside information, at @Marcus_Sellars.

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