Who hasn’t, at some time or another, dreamt of being a superhero? Admit it. At least once in your childhood, you’ve tied a towel around your neck and imagined you were flying through the air, fighting the bad guys and saving the day. Well, now you can relive that feeling all over again, thanks to 5th Cell, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and DC Comics’ new love letter to comic book fans, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.
The story opens with Scribblenauts star Maxwell and his sister, Lily, acting like siblings do, reading comic books and arguing over who is better between Batman and Superman. That’s when the duo figures out a way to settle the disagreement once and for all, by combining their abilities and magically transporting themselves into the DC Comics universe so they can meet their heroes in real life. Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned. Maxwell and Lily soon find themselves trapped and searching for lost Starites before they fall into the hands of the DC’s most vile villains. Making matters even worse, the villains have teamed up with a mysterious Maxwell doppelganger, who seems more than willing to tap into the dark side of his imagination. Luckily, Maxwell and Lily aren’t alone in their quest, teaming up with the heroes of the DCU to recover the Starites, stop the bad guys, and find their way back home.
For those unfamiliar with the Scribblenauts franchise, the gameplay is fairly simple, though none the less extraordinary. Armed with a notebook and a pencil, and the power to bring to life anything he writes down, Maxwell is presented with a number of quirky and challenging puzzles. It may be defeating a raging werewolf by crafting a silver arrow or helping a teacher achieve her dream of becoming a street performer by rocking her out with an electric guitar. How you solve each puzzle is limited only by your imagination.
Maxwell has already had a pretty robust vocabulary to work from in previous game, but Scribblenauts Unmasked raises the bar by opening the vault and allowing Maxwell full access to the library of characters, costumes, vehicles, and items of the DC Universe. This opens up some great possibilities for comic book fans. At one point in the game, I had Maxwell dressed as Green Lantern, teamed up with the Batman Beyond Batman and Star Sapphire Wonder Woman while taking on Bizarro and Batzarro. For an extra challenge, longtime Superman nuisance Mr. Mxyzptlk occasionally shows up with optional restrictions for a stage, such as being unable to create any weapons. Completing side missions with these restrictions in place earns Maxwell bonus reputation, which can be used to unlock more cool goodies.
Accessing the Batcomputer, players can learn more about the more than 2000 different heroes, villains, and items available to Maxwell from the extensive history of DC Comics. You might not know who G’nort or Starro are before playing Scribblenauts Unmasked, they are both right there in the Batcomputer database to learn about and to create in the game. If that’s not enough for you, Scribblenauts Unmasked also includes a robust Hero Creator, which allows players to mix and match pieces of their favorite heroes and villains in order to build their own custom creations for use in the game.
There are a lot of games out there that claim to me limited “only by your imagination”, but the Scribblenauts series is probably the closest to actually achieve that goal. And if you’re a comic book fan, Scribblenauts Unmasked is a dream come true. It’s a quirky, fun game that’s easy to pick up, hard to put down, and an insane adventure. Scribblenauts Unmasked taps into that inner child still flying around the room with the towel around his neck, and and gives him the freedom to finally be the superhero he always imagined. Definitely a must have for kids or simply kids at heart.