Bottom line: An addictive platform game with a fabulous twist — type in a description and lo, your enormous purple ﬂying pegasus (or whatever you typed) appears to save the day. Great for practicing problem solving with kids. Try it — you won’t emerge for days.
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When Ron, SAFK’s Grand Poobah, gifted all of his staff this app (he’s generous to a fault), I should have been suspicious that it was going to take over my life for at least several hours. A day and a half later I emerged from gameplay. The children fended for themselves and the only casualty appears to have been the supply of baked beans in the pantry and an overwhelming aroma of unwashed bodies. But these are the sacriﬁces my family makes for Smart Apps for Kids while I am researching great apps to share.
But enough silliness. The above description is entirely untrue (well, mostly untrue), but Scribblenauts Remix from Warner Bros. is really, really fun. I love a game that makes you think, and this app is great for anybody who likes to use their imagination while solving puzzles. Scribblenauts itself is not a virgin iOS game, but was released in its ﬁrst incarnation on the Nintendo DS. Given its resounding success there, it was only a matter of time before it made an appearance on iOS devices.
The objective of Scribblenauts Remix is to solve puzzles. The awesome twist on this is that the player can summon any object by typing it on the touchscreen. The database allegedly has tens of thousands of objects that can be summoned using combinations of nouns and adjectives, and covering everything from vehicles to mythical creatures to famous people to everyday objects. The database draws the line at allowing the user to conjure up anything that is potentially profane, so this game is safe even from your teenager’s somewhat inventive and sordid imagination.
Gameplay is a two-dimensional gamer platform, and Maxwell, the hero, has to perform a certain task to achieve his “starite” before he can move on to the next level. For example, Level 2-5 opens with Maxwell on the bottom level and a lion pacing above. Each level starts with a hint, and this one is, “The king of the jungle needs to rest.” So how do you put the lion to sleep? My ﬁrst thought when dealing with a giant wild cat was “tranquilizer dart,” but I went for a more soothing choice to begin with. Sleep is synonymous with night time. What does night time need? A moon! I typed “moon” and a crescent moon appeared. I hung it in the sky and ta-da, the lion went to sleep!
The gameplay can be as simple or as imaginative as the player chooses to make it. Each level can allegedly be solved in virtually unlimited ways. I certainly couldn’t get sleep dust or warm milk to get the lion to go to sleep, but on another go-round, a tranquilizer gun did indeed pop the king of the jungle off into zzzland just as successfully as the moon had.
There is much replay value here. I’m a sad case so I challenged myself to solve each level in three different ways. If Maxwell needs to ﬂy about, then why conjure up a boring old plane when you can have a “massive pink Pegasus”, a “spotted blue ﬂying killer whale” or an “enormous green pterodactyl” to ferry Maxwell around? And why chop down trees with an axe or a chainsaw when a giant hungry rainbow beaver can do the job? The system even identiﬁes different meanings of the same word, so if the player were to type chicken, there is a choice between chicken (animal) and chicken (food). After all, you can’t swan about on a giant ﬂying chicken if it’s been cooked for the dinner table.
One important note for parents: the game does allow (but doesn't seem to require) the user to equip Maxwell with a gun and other weapons. You should use your judgment about what seems appropriate for your child.
The scope for use for this game is immense. Not only is it awesome fun for casual gaming, but Heather, one of our resident SLPs, has been using it with her students. Ron has also been heard to say that this app would be “crazy awesome in therapy situations.” As a teacher, can you imagine using this game to practice problem-solving? You would be deemed the coolest teacher of all time.
Ninety-nine cents buys six “worlds” with 10 levels in each, which is more than enough to keep you playing for a good amount of time. Once your addiction is firmly entrenched, another 99 cents gets you as many worlds as are currently available (twelve at the time of this review), and any subsequent worlds that may be added in the future. For the sheer amount of gameplay here, I reckon this is a bargain. There is also an option to add avatar packs for additional money if that sort of thing enhances your gameplay.
So, start conjuring giant hungry rainbow beavers and get playing!
Eleanor Holland conjured a gorgeous dark-haired chef to make her dinner tonight. It was very tasty. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.