Hands On with Scribblenauts Showdown

If you are looking for a more social games to play that require your wits more than actual skillful gameplay, then the upcoming Scribblenauts Showdown may be the game for you when it arrives next week on the 6th of March. It’s a wonderful mix of the traditional party game and the series’ ingenious word mechanics, which will have everyone putting his or her creative hats on for some silly gameplay that’s sure to put smiles on many faces.

Upon pairing up at a preview event, the first thing players were prompted to do in Scribblenauts Showdown was to create a character. The classic clean 2D art style of Scribblenauts returns, and the character creation mode compliments this extremely well, offering the player a large selection of customisation presets to be able to design their own personal character. Some of these customisation options are very bizarre, but it’s funny to see what other players have made their character look like when competing against them.

What ultimately makes Scribblenauts fun is the variety of its mini-games and the game’s various modes. There was definitely a WarioWare vibe as we jumped from one game to another, but Scribblenauts adds its own identity into the fray of competitive action with good old fashioned wordplay.

I really enjoyed playing the various mini-games within the game’s standard Versus Mode. One of these included a Flappy Bird-inspired level where the players had to carry the item that they spelt to the end of the level without losing all their lives. There was another which involved guiding a helicopter while carrying items to drop off points, but this was similar to the spaceship game which had more or less of the same concept… in space. There were also games where players had to inflate balloons using motion controls and eat things using triggers and analogue sticks, and many more.

While these were for two players, the Showdown mode that lends the game its name to the game applies the same mechanics to playing with four players, but sadly we were not able to try this at the event.

Scribblenauts doesn’t take itself too seriously, nor are the rules particularly strict. For instance, when trying to pick foods beginning with S for the eating mini-game, my opponent had picked a Sword. The game actually let him attempt to eat the sword, while I chomped away at my Steak. As bizarre as it sounds, it shows the kind of absurdist humour you can get away with when playing, and it got a reaction from those watching us playing. Their sword eating antics beast me in the first round of the little competition being held.

Outside of the competitive and multiplayer modes, the game also features Sandbox Mode, where the player is able to complete objectives and missions by interacting and modifying their Scribblenauts character. This was quite fun, as I was able to steal the wings from a bird and use them to fly around the area, while also manipulating objects and characters within the environment based on my creations and modifications.

I was able to try the game out on both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. With its 2D art style, there weren’t any visual or performance difference between the two versions of the game. What’s good about the variety of games offered within Scribblenauts’ game modes is that they use the PS4 and Switch controller functionality extremely well and support motion controls and split Joy-Cons.

Scribblenauts Showdown is a game you can count on being enjoyable for a long time, as its varied multiplayer mini-games and modes get you to dig through your internal dictionary and thesaurus to find just the right thing you want to conjure in the game. If you’re missing some party games in your video game library right now, then Scribblenauts Showdown could be an ideal candidate when it launches.

Written by
I am a gamer with a passion of all things relating to it. I co-develop a ROM Hacking project called Pokémon Liquid Crystal with a team of experienced developers and also have written for gaming and tech news outlets such as Neowin and Dashhacks. In my spare time, I wreck scrubs at Destiny and trophy hunt.