Scribblenauts

James Batchelor

Scribblenauts

Scribblenauts is a much more imaginative breed of puzzle game than the majority of titles out there, riddled with the type of lateral thinking that has thrived on DS in titles such as the Professor Layton games. As the game’s publisher, Warner Bros is growing excited for Scribblenauts’ upcoming release.

“We fully expect this title to be the start of a brand new franchise in the DS puzzle market,” says Warner Bros’ product manager Phil Lamb. “It definitely offers consumers a different way to challenge and test their lateral thinking and imagination without it being a dry, edutainment experience.

“With the plethora of awards the game achieved at E3 – 35 in total, including Best Game Of Show from a number of media owners – and the nominations it’s had at Gamescom, plus the fact that it offers something new, we know that there is real anticipation for the title amongst gamers.”

As with many DS titles, Scribblenauts’ appeal stretches far beyond the remit of traditional gamers. While even hardcore gamers will get a kick out of this quirky puzzler, developed by the team behind the acclaimed Drawn To Life titles, the game’s accessible nature sets it up as a potential smash hit with the more casual DS owners.

“The stylised look offers something fresh and friendly that doesn’t appear intimidating,” says Lamb. “Combined with the addictive gameplay, it will definitely strike a cord with casual, female and maybe even grey gamers.

“Essentially what Scribblenauts offers is something akin to Nintendo’s Professor Layton series – an addictive and challenging game that has real mass market appeal all wrapped up in a uniquely stylised package.”

SCRIBBLE ME THIS

An apple hangs from a tree. A young boy named Maxwell wants said apple. How does he get it down?

In most puzzle titles, there is usually one perfectly logical solution. Some will have more obscure and long-winded solutions, but again, there’s generally only one way to retrieve the apple. Not so with Scribblenauts.

Players have potentially thousands of options in such a scenario – all they have to do is type in a word and watch the results. So they can use a ladder to climb up to the apple, or use a pole to knock it down. They can even summon a beaver to gnaw the trunk and make the tree fall, bringing the apple with it.

“It’s absolutely amazing what sort of words it can recognise and allow the player to call into Maxwell’s world,” says Lamb. “5th Cell have claimed that there are tens of thousands of words that will generate objects, ranging from basic nouns to mythical beasts, paranormal creatures and deities, that Maxwell can interact with and will have an influence on the environment and your situation.

“There are over 200 levels in the game that grow in difficulty as you progress but because the only real limitations in the game is the player’s imagination. The replay value is immense. That said, players can have just as much fun messing around in the introductory level that acts as a ‘sandbox’ and allows you to get to grips with the mechanics and allows you to randomly create objects to see what they do.”

There is even a level customisation mode, where players can create their own environments, objects and situations and then share them with other Scribblenauts owners via wi-fi.

DRAWING UP PLANS
As a major title for Warner in the upcoming season, Scribblenauts will benefit from a comprehensive marketing campaign designed to promote it to the masses. Since there is already a strong level of anticipation among gamers, the majority of the advertising will be focused through mainstream channels.

Print ads will be appearing across a range of key lifestyle and national publications, while Warner has arranged a partnership with a key Internet Service Provider to bring a bespoke campaign to a wider audience.

There will also be a two-phase TV campaign that will see promotional spots airing around launch. The ads will encourage viewers to visit microsites online that outline the game in more detailed. A second, more detailed TV campaign will run nearer to Christmas to engage mainstream gift shoppers.

A full range of POS assets will be available to retailers, and Warner has even organised a sampling tour for Q4. Scribblenauts will be demonstrated and available for consumers to play at a variety of shopping centres and events around the country from mid-October until Christmas.

“Scribblenauts is a highly innovative, fun puzzle game with accessible mechanics and huge replay value that will appeal to gamers and DS owners of all ages and abilities,” says Lamb.

“Many gaming forum users are stating that Scribblenauts is the single biggest incentive they’ve had to revisit their dormant DS consoles in a very long time.”

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