Heroes and villains collide in 5th Cell's new 3DS game.
If anything, Scribblenauts: Unmasked will go down as the most comprehensive superhero game in history, even surpassing the popular LEGO games. WB Games and 5th Cell's DC Comics Adventure pulls thousands of characters from the company's storied history, from well-known faces like Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, to the Invisible Kid, Metamorpho and ones we never heard of. This ties into a detailed database that contains bios, vehicles and equipment, easily accessible via the 3DS touchscreen.
With this in mind, Unmasked begs the question, is this simply a Scribblenauts game with DC characters? The answer is, more or less, absolutely. Players once again control Maxwell, a youngster with the ability to spawn people, animals and objects using a magic notebook, which gamers use to solve a variety of puzzles by jotting down nouns and adjectives. Except in this case, they interact with a wide assortment of heroes and villains.
One moment, they'll help Superman battle Lex Luthor and later, General Zod. The next, they'll team with Batman to thwart the Joker's plans. Not everything, however, is tied to comic book lore. Other missions include dealing with a zombie outbreak, thawing a prehistoric creature and squaring off against a cat-throwing tree. There are limitations to what players can spawn, but for the most part, each puzzle contains multiple solutions. Need to get rid of those zombies? Give Maxwell a flamethrower, or better yet, the cure.
Similar to previous games in the Scribblenauts franchise, the developers do a great job blending the action adventure and puzzle genres, though Unmasked still misses perfection. Discerning between bottomless pits and drops where Maxwell lands safely is a bit tricky unless you constantly zoom out to see more of a stage. We also had trouble putting items into Maxwell's hands with too many characters on-screen. Respawning upon death, meanwhile, often puts the hero within the enemy's sights, forcing us to make quick decisions under fire. You also lose the Hero Creator from the Wii U version, along with the HD graphics.
Considering the sheer wealth of content and attention paid to the DC lore, Scribblenauts Unmasked manages to rise above its shortcomings, making this game a smart pickup for comic book fans and players interested in using words, not just weapons, to save the world.
Review copy provided by WB Games.
What's Hot:Interactive DC encyclopedia, fun cameos by lesser known heroes and villains, smartly implemented Scribblenauts puzzles, randomly generated missions.
What's Not:Bottomless pits, missing Hero Creator from the Wii U version, hard to see Maxwell when characters crowd the screen.