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Scribblenauts is a series of physics-based puzzle-platformer games developed by 5th Cell Interactive (previously known for Lock's Quest and Drawn to Life) and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. You play as Maxwell, a young boy who wants to collect the Starites, shiny star-shaped things. There's one Starite per level, and they are either out in the open or are hidden until certain tasks are completed.

While Scribblenauts has a simple premise, there's more to it than is immediately obvious. Using a magical notepad, you can write and summon almost anything in the dictionary (and plenty outside of it) to the game world to solve puzzles, from elephants to thunder clouds to zombies. You can then move and interact with everything you make to solve the puzzles. This system allows for a massive amount of freedom in solving every stage, to the point where revisited levels challenge you to beat them three times in a row while not being allowed to re-use any objects made in the last attempt.

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The first game was made for the Nintendo DS, like many of 5th Cell's previous titles. Prior to its September 2009 release, the game received mild hype from various outlets from its extremely ambitious premise, but only really took off at that year's E3 when game journalists finally got to play it for themselves. In an unprecedented occurrence for a portable title, three major game reporting outlets declared the hand-held Scribblenauts to be the game of the show. Reviews of the full game were still generally positive, aside from criticism of the control scheme.

A sequel, Super Scribblenauts, released in 2010 on the DS. The dictionary now includes adjectives to modify objects (meaning you can create a literal Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot), new levels (there are fewer this time around, but they're longer and more puzzle-based), and a whole lot of improvements to the controls, camera, and physics engine. Both Super and the original were re-released as Scribblenauts Collection on one DS cartridge, backporting quality-of-life features into the first game.

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A Mission-Pack Sequel mobile game, Scribblenauts Remix, was released for iOS in 2011 and Android in 2012. It uses the adjectives system of Super Scribblenauts, and contains favorite levels from the first two games, as well as levels exclusive to it.

The third game of the series, Scribblenauts Unlimited (2012) brings the series to the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Steam. The Wii U and PC versions include an object editor, allowing players to create new objects using pieces of other ones. This game alters the formula from the previous ones by having each level be a miniature open world with several small quests and one or two big ones to solve. It also added a simple plot, explaining why Maxwell has his notebook (he got it from his adventurer parents) and why he goes around collecting Starites (he abused the notebook's power and had a curse cast on his sister Lily that turned her to stone, and it can only be reversed by collecting Starites which appear by doing good deeds). A mobile version was released in 2015 and a Nintendo Switch version in 2019.

A third sequel, Scribblenauts Unmasked, was released in 2013, and was a crossover with DC Comics. It even has a comic book series based on it. Plans for another game titled Scribblenauts: Fighting Words were scrapped in 2016 after a major layoff at 5th Cell, and development of future titles were eventually handed over to another company: Shiver Entertainment.

In 2018, a spinoff titled Scribblenauts Showdown was released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, developed by Shiver and not by 5th Cell. It is a multiplayer-centric party game, with over 25 minigames based on the players outdoing each other's efforts to find the best word or object to fit a given task.

A Compilation Re-release titled Scribblenauts Mega Pack was also released in 2018 by Shiver. This is a compilation featuring Scribblenauts Unlimited and Scribblenauts Unmasked, adding new levels and features.


T-R-O-P-E-S

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  • Adapted Out: Due to 5th Cell leaving the development of the Scribblenauts series in general, none of the developers or the logo can be summoned in-game onwards from Mega Pack, as well as meme items/characters or Nintendo characters even in the Switch version.
    • Also, one of the levels from Scribblenauts Unlimited, Tilde Reef, was cut from the Mega Pack version.
  • Air-Aided Acrobatics: Items that create gusts of wind, such as the air vent, can be used to cross gaps.
  • All Myths Are True: There's plenty of choices in the "mythical creatures" department, including Cthulhu!
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: You can do this yourself by recoloring human objects, whether with adjectives or from the object editor. It can also be done with potions in Super and paint-based objects.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: One of the objects a psychologist will react to is a mother.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Lawyers are attracted to ambulances.
  • Anachronism Stew: This can be invoked by the player, but a few levels do this on their own. This is especially prevalent in the overworld levels of Unlimited. For example, the pirate ship level features pirates from The Golden Age of Piracy, ninjas, and an internet pirate.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Most small arthropods get enlarged to the size of Maxwell's face, while big animals like whales are significantly smaller than their actual size.
  • Apple for Teacher: In all stages that require giving a teacher an item for their classroom, one of the accepted objects is an apple.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Auditory example. In Remix, if you use the "play" command on any musical instrument, from a bagpipe to a theremin, you get a sound that resembles a high note on a Hammond organ regardless of which instrument you're playing (or no sound at all). Fast-forward to Unlimited, and each instrument has its own individual sound.
    • Setting off a nuke in the earlier games results in a puff of smoke, then everything dying after the screen goes briefly white. While the effects are different in Unlimited, the real occurrence of this trope for the nuke is that setting it off actually forms a mushroom cloud.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • Plateosaurus is not a hadrosaur, but typing its name summons one.
    • The words Dunkleosteus, Bull Shark, Cow Shark, and Sixgill Shark summon a Carcharocles megalodon.
    • In the first game, the word Microraptor summons a pterosaur. In Super Scribblenauts it correctly summons a feathered dinosaur, but it's a little big for a Microraptor unless you apply adjectives.
    • The word Ceratosaurus summons a T. rex, and so do the names of several other non-avian theropods that were not tyrannosauroids.
    • The word "Ichtyostega" (note the absence of the second "h") summons a plesiosaur.
    • The word Pliosaur summons a long-necked plesiosaur, but Pliosaurus summons a correct pliosaur.
    • The word Ichthyosaur summons a bottlenose dolphin.
  • Ascended Meme: During the first game's pre-release period, a user named Feep made a NeoGAF post, the 217th one in the thread, covering his experience with the game (in short, he used a time machine to retrieve a T-Rex and used it to fight cyborg zombies). After the story went viral, 5th Cell added the words "Feep" (a synonyms for the robot zombie) and "Post Two-One-Seven" (a billboard depicting the event which acts as a reskinned nuclear bomb) to the in-game dictionary, and made Feep's experience into a desktop wallpaper.
  • Astral Finale:
    • The last level of Super Scribblenauts has Maxwell chasing his Evil Twin across space.
    • The last three levels of Unlimited take place in an astral setting.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Give Maxwell any weapon and then send him to attack any target (living or not, hostile or not). He'll keep hitting it until one of them dies or you cancel the action.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The addition of adjectives allows you to make any living creature into a gigantic version of itself.
  • Author Avatar: Almost every developer from 5th Cell in the credits of the games has an associated character that can be summoned, some represented by humans and others by unique monsters, and Unlimited requires you to summon one for a Starite Shard (1/10 of a Starite). You can also summon the 5th Cell logo, which is an air-hanging object.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Nukes, meteors, tsunamis, and black holes (in Super) kill everything on-screen. Including you, making it very difficult to solve levels with them.
    • The Flame Sword is awesome, but deals less damage than a chainsaw.
    • Anything with both the "ballistic" and "spectacular" adjectives in Unlimited. When it "hits" an object (notably the normal option for attack is replaced by "hit"), it gives the object the ballistic adjective, which makes it count down to an explosion. Except instead of normally exploding, the object flies up at a diagonal angle first. This is hinted at in-game, with a sword being made during one of the shard quest in Vowelcano showing these adjectives when examined.
  • Bad Future: Certain levels in the games take place in futuristic post-apocalyptic scenarios.
  • Batter Up!: Maxwell and NPCs can use baseball bats as weapons if necessary.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: The magic wand, which spawns alongside witches, can turn anything it hits into a frog with its magic.
  • BFG: The first game has the nuclear recoil-less rifle, a standing turret the fires rockets, and the exploding barrel launcher, which shoots explosive barrels. Later games let you make any gun massive by adding adjectives.
  • BFS: The historical Zweihander is a valid weapon for Maxwell, and it's also slightly taller than he is. Other equally large swords include Excalibur and the zanbato. As with guns, you can make sword colossal in the sequels.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Most of the European translations of the series tend to be extremely inaccurate and possibly machine-made, especially in earlier games. This is a very noticeable problem for a dictionary-based game, forcing players to swap to English or jump through input hoops because the game won't recognize certain words.
  • Blob Monster: A green slime monster can be summoned with words like "blob" and "ooze". In the first game it is strong and nearly invincible, only getting killed by fire and ectoplasm; later games make it weaker and eventually non-hostile.
  • Blush Sticker: Maxwell does this in the Valentine's Day update for Remix.
  • Boring, but Practical: In a game where you can create most anything you can imagine, the simplest things are often the most helpful.
    • Rope or any equivalent is indispensable (if somewhat touchy) for moving, dragging, and connecting things.
    • Since many puzzles involve moving things that don't want to move or are outright hostile, glue and baskets are equally helpful in transporting them.
    • Most action-level puzzles are based around you trying to get Maxwell to the Starite, but it's a lot easier to just move the Starite to Maxwell. Cue the fan, a simple object that generates wind to blow the Starite around, completely bypassing challenges. In the original, you could even get them to hang in midair (without adjectives) by summoning a cloud and gluing things to it.
    • While not exactly boring, the humble jetpack is at the top of any player's list of "things to summon immediately". It's small, unobtrusive, and allows you to move in all directions at about the same speed as normal walking. Wings are a somewhat inferior substitute, but they look cool. You can also apply adjectives to make them fly faster.
    • If you're trying to get rid of a troublesome individual but aren't allowed to kill them, shrinking them with a shrink ray and putting them into a bag is very effective.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In the first game, Maxwell can only fire ranged weapons a few times before they fall away and break, but NPCs can use them indefinitely. Everyone has infinite ammo in later games, but Unmasked introduces durability, causing weapons to disappear when used enough times.
  • Brown Note: The vuvuzela in Unlimited. Playing it enough times is so annoying that everyone nearby gets an Angry adjective and starts attacking each other—even trees can be angered by it. If you play the vuvuzela near Maxwell's father, he petrifies you.
  • The Cameo:
  • Camera Screw: The camera system isn't awful, but occasionally the way it snaps back to the character can be a bit annoying. Thankfully, the sequel fixes this.
  • Chainsaw Good: The chainsaw is one of the most powerful weapons in the first game, capable of killing dragons, Cthulhu and even God.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Maxwell's rooster helmet is part of his Iconic Outfit, so much so that a real one was available as a pre-order bonus for the first game. Pre-ordering Scribblenauts Unlimited on Steam also got you the rooster hat in Team Fortress 2.
  • Combinatorial Explosion: Part of the fun in the game is in finding out how many unique item interactions were accounted for. For a small list: the moon turns villains into werewolves, water shorts out anything electric, people dance to Keyboard Cat, and you can create a zombie by using a battery to jump-start a corpse.
  • Compilation Re-release:
    • Scribblenauts Collection was a DS re-release of both Scribblenauts and Super Scribblenauts. The latter is mostly unchanged, but the former received bug fixes, button controls, and made flight-based items work indefinitely like they do in later games. However, a few items (such as "LOLWUT") got removed from the dictionary.
    • The Mega Pack, released in 2018, features ports of Unlimited and Unmasked in one package, plus new levels and features.
  • Console Cameo: If you type in "Scribblenauts" you get a DS cartridge of the original game, even in the PC version of Unlimited.
  • Collision Damage: "Nail", "spear" and "spike" all destroy everything they touch. With the proper application of glue, anything can turn into a weapon by attaching one of those to it.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: You can set up fights to the death between any powerful creatures, such as God versus Cthulhu.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: The DJ, who is both a summonable character and one of the avatars.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Given enough time, it's possible to kill a dinosaur with a spoon or any similar weak weapon, provided it doesn't eat you first.
  • Delivery Stork: One level tasks you with getting a baby to a king and queen, with a stork asleep nearby, the assumption being that the stork is shirking its job. Hurting it makes the level end. Storks will also protect any babies that happen to be nearby.
  • Developer's Room: In the first game, spawning and using the Teleporter item may take you to 5th Cell headquarters.
  • Developers' Foresight: Three months of the game's development were devoted to just making lists of things, ensuring that players really have everything at their disposal for the puzzles. There's a whole separate page for this trope for this game.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You can summon Cthulhu himself, but he's just as vulnerable as any other monster and can be beaten down with the right weapon. Alternatively, summon a bigger fish or give it adjectives so it has a Weaksauce Weakness (such as being edible). This applies to similar large monsters as well.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Summoning a Mosasaurus, Tylosaurus or Platecarpus produces a decidedly un-mosasaur-like sea serpent.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Neutral NPCs with combat prowess will attack if they lose health by any means, meaning that throwing a pillow at God will cause him to try to kill you.
  • Divine Intervention: There are a few situations in which summoning a deity is a viable solution.
  • Dummied Out:
    • The original game's manual mentioned you could buy 30 extra levels from the ollars store. The levels were never implemented, and instead of just removing the section where you're supposed to buy them, the button to get to it was made invisible. Trying to access it makes the game freeze.
    • There's a number of items in Unlimited that can only be accessed by using a glitch that exploits the object editor, some of which imply this. Among the more interesting ones are two rays, one which switches the gender of whoever is shot and one that turns whoever is shot into a random "monster" out of a rather large list.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Some features that would become standard in later games aren't present in the first game, most notably adjectives. Also, the first game's levels are divided into "puzzle" levels and "action" levels. The main difference is that in puzzle levels, the Starite is hidden until you complete a challenge, while in action ones you can see it immediately and the challenge is getting to it- though there is crossover between the two types. Later games in the series wouldn't make this distinction in their missions.
  • Easter Egg: Mostly present through secret object interactions and puzzle solutions.
    • In one puzzle, your objective is to get a group of bad guys into heaven. This can be easily accomplished by placing a stairway near them.
    • In Puzzle Stage 5-1 of the first game, scrolling the camera to the bottom of the level the reveals that Cthulu is swimming underneath the deserted island the level takes place in.
    • Interacting with a cat by using any kind of bread or toast creates a black hole, referencing the cat-toast paradox. This is necessary to get a Starite shard in Unlimited.
    • In Super, creating an arcade machine and interacting with it starts a secret mini-game.
  • Eats Babies: Using adjectives allows you to give the "delicious" attribute to a baby, causing other entities to eat them without a second thought. Alternatively, if you summon a dingo and a baby (regardless of adjectives), the former eats the latter.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Several of them can be created, including "Cthulhu", "Shambler", and "Shoggoth".
  • Electrified Bathtub: Throwing any electrical device into water (even something as small as a battery) will One-Hit Kill anything nearby, not to mention short-circuiting and activating switches.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: While an ordinary "Elf" is no trouble, putting a "Wood Elf" and a "Dwarf" next to each other causes them to fight. The winner depends on how they are equipped.
  • Epic Fail: The phrase "Epic Fail" acts as a synonym for an atomic bomb, one of the screen-wipe objects that'll cause you to fail a level.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The games will certainly reward any player who had a childhood obsession with dinosaurs, as it lets you summon many well-known and obscure ones.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke:
    • There's a level in the first game where your objective is to get three "bad guys" into heaven. The bad guys are a prisoner, a bully, and a lawyer.
    • In Unlimited, there's a scientist that wants a DNA sample to clone a dinosaur and needs a blood-sucking creature to get it from amber. Some of the solutions are mosquito, leech, vampire, and lawyer.
    • In Unlimited, spawning two liars next to each other will create a pair of flaming pants. Spawning two lawyers next to each other has the same effect.
  • Evil Twin:
    • Writing anything relating to Maxwell himself ("Maxwell", "Me", "Protagonist", etc.) produces an opposite-colored Maxwell named Doppelganger who steals things right from the hands of the innocent and whose presence scares most people. Typing in "Clone" spawns a slightly different Doppelganger who has a few different animations and doesn't scare people, but still steals things.
    • In the sequel, the Doppelganger has his own notebook and will summon random objects from out of thin air, just like you. He's also the final boss, where you chase him through space.
    • He appears as a Mirror Monster in Grave Manor in Unlimited and is one of the main antagonists in Unmasked.
  • Explosive Breeder:
    • Place two rabbits next to each other, and they will multiply until the object meter fills up. Before release, the rabbits would spawn so many other rabbits that the game would crash. In the sequel, they will merely spawn two "baby bunnies".
    • Anything with the adjective "fertile" will spawn kids until the object meter is full, even objects that are normally inanimate.
    • In Unlimited, adding another cockroach to the one in the city level will quickly fill the street with cockroaches.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Adding the "omnivorous" adjective to an object will cause it to hunt down and eat any life forms nearby. In the case of Maxwell as a victim, it's a One-Hit Kill. You can likewise apply the "edible" adjective to every object you summon, making them a food source for any hungry character that happens to be nearby.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: The Shoggoth has many eyes placed on the side of its body.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Using "earth magic" will turn anyone evil, even God and Santa Claus. Using "mind control device" or "Cupid bow" will turn some (but not all) evil characters good.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The games' world exists in a mish-mash of all sorts of time periods and mythical bases. You can mix aliens, dinosaurs, Eldritch Abominations, various deities, and urban legends into a typical suburban stage as if it were a typical day, and sometimes this can happen even without Maxwell's notebook.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The "firebreathing" adjective lets any object or character spew fire as an action, even a flamethrower that can already shoot fire.
  • Firehouse Dalmatian: Dalmatians are often seen, sometimes accompanying firefighters. One level in the first game even involves a mix-up where a firefighter has a Maine Coon cat and a boutique owner has a Dalmatian, and the player has to send the animals back to their correct owners.
  • Forced Tutorial: Any time that you want to start a new game for the original title, you have to individually skip through each level in World 0, the tutorial. If you try to summon any items in level 0-6 (the only time that you can summon something on these levels), it will immediately disappear, no matter its properties.
  • Freeze Ray: A freeze ray can be produced and used to encase objects in blocks of ice.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The developers described a bug which they thankfully caught at the E3 release of the original game: a pair of rabbits would multiply so quickly, baby bunnies would keep appearing until the game crashed. This was fixed for the final version with the rabbits breeding until your object meter fills up.
    • In most iterations of Scribblenauts, trying to use a fishing pole or grappling hook on a tornado crashes or freezes the game.
    • Chaingun vs. Godmother = game freeze.
    • The game freezes when you try to access the 30 buyable levels that were Dummied Out.
    • In the first game, shooting a corpse with a stun gun will crash the game (which is odd, since attacking a corpse with any other electrical item will turn it into a zombie).
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Typing in "Enemy" produces a soldier in a gas mask, which is the standard form of foe for many levels.
  • Gender Bender: In the sequel, a female or male potion lets you turn NPCs into the opposite gender via adjectives.
  • Ghost Ship: A tattered blue ship can be summoned by typing "ghost ship" or "wreckage", and it can be ridden like other aquatic vehicles.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: A giant crab monster separate from normal crabs can be summoned with the phrases "giant enemy crab" and "ancient Japanese history", in direct references to the memes produced by the reveal of Genji: Days of the Blade. It even appears in a level with three samurai with the hint "For massive damage!"
  • Glass Cannon: Edison Yan in the first game, one of the Creator Cameo entities. Very powerful (he can one-hit kill Maxwell in sandbox mode), but takes only one hit before dying.
  • Grandpa God: Writing "God" creates a deity with white hair and a long beard.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first world of the first game, set in a forest.
  • The Greys: The standard alien object is grey, bald, and has black eyes. Typing in "Xenomorph" also results in one of these.
  • Guns Are Worthless: In combat-heavy stages of the first game, don't get an ordinary gun (or most ranged weapons for that matter), since their limited ammunition means you'll have to constantly remake them. NPCs don't suffer from this problem, though. That said, laser guns provide a useful One-Hit Kill, though they only have one shot, and freeze rays freeze the target in a block of ice, rendering it harmless without harming or killing it, useful to circumvent enemies you aren't allowed to simply murder.
  • Hand Cannon:
    • While typing in "Hand Cannon" provides an early firearm, typing in "Gyrojet" yields a gyrojet, which looks like a pistol but fires rockets.
    • The barrel gun's barrel is as big as Maxwell's head, and it fires the exploding barrels seen in many action stages.
  • Hand of Glory: A hand of glory is one of the things that you can summon, functioning as a hand-candle as expected.
  • Harmless Freezing:
    • You can freeze anything using a freeze ray, and it doesn't harm it.
    • A kid in one level of the sequel is frozen solid, but is no worse for wear when unfrozen.
  • Hearts Are Health: Health is depicted as red hearts (usually four) that float above the character.
  • High-Class Glass:
    • The Philosiraptor's defining characteristic is its monocle.
    • In Super Scribblenauts, a "Gentlemanly" object will be wearing a monocle when spawned, even a monocle itself.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: The mind control ray can be used to control powerful beings like vampires, Cthulhu, dragons, and the like. It Instantly adds the "loyal" adjective to the target. Hypnotic items are even better, since they affect inanimate objects as well, so you can hijack Cthulhu, a volcano, or basically anything you please.
  • Historical Hilarity: It is possible to summon several Historical Domain Characters like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, even in Unlimited, where it's explicitly stated that proper names are not in the dictionary.
  • Horny Devils: "Succubus" summons a unique version of the devil entity; "incubus" and "devil" are synonymous in the first two games, but incubi get their own model in Unlimited.
  • 100% Completion: Requires you to beat each level with three different solutions. There's 220 levels. Go figure.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Dropping a radioactive rock on someone turns them into a mutant.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Not only are there human cannibals, but cows and pigs will also and happily munch on beef and pork. Though at least cows will attack you afterwards, since they get mad cow disease.
    • You can make any object eat humans by giving it adjectives such as "man-eating", even objects that wouldn't make sense to be capable of eating things, let alone large enough to digest an entire human, such as snails, chairs, and rocks.
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: In Super Scribblenauts and the other games with adjectives, adding the adjective "crying" will make the object cry for no reason.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Inevitably, Maxwell. When you've got just about every noun in the English language at your disposal, you have limitless ways of fending of other characters and destroying obstacles.
  • Improvised Platform: You can use any object as a footstool if necessary, such as "dock" or even "floating platform".
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In the first game, the shrink ray and shrink magic downsizes an object permanently. They still work in the sequel, as does applying relevant adjectives through the notebook and potions.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The wizard staff shoots red magic, which can kill anything in just a few hits.
    • A "dead" or "gone" potion can be used to eliminate anything instantly in the games that allow adjectives, as can any object with the "deadly" adjective.
    • In Scribblenauts Unlimited, the Cap Gun is capable of killing and destroying anything, including priests and black holes, which are normally completely invincible. Though considering how the object editor reveals that it shoots "nothing", this could be a glitch.
  • Instant Roast: Whenever livestock such as pigs, cows, and chicken go near fire, they turn into cooked meat.
  • Interactive Start Up: The player is taken to a sandbox area before officially starting the game, where they can play around with item creation, and can't be killed by most things that would kill them in the game proper.
  • Interface Screw: Summoning "Game" in Scribblenauts Unlimited and playing it will apply a pixel filter to the screen. Play it again and the screen reverts to normal.
  • Item Get!: When Maxwell grabs a Starite, he spins it around and jumps in the air, producing a burst of confetti.
  • Jerkass: Though much of his behavior is up to the player, Maxwell's canon jerkassery is established in Scribblenauts Unlimited, where he feeds a rotten apple to an old man because he thought it was funny. The old man curses his sister with Taken for Granite, though, so Maxwell has to learn his lesson. By Unmasked, he's largely shed this trait.
  • Joke Character: Boars and Yetis are very weak in the first game; it takes 50 attacks from them just to kill a generic NPC, and twice that amount to kill Maxwell. They don't even have any solid defenses or agility to make up for this flaw, meaning that they can't survive most fights they get into. Later games fixed this problem by giving them a boost in power, however.
  • Joke Item: There are a lot of goofy items in the games, but the most obviously jokey ones are the ones based on internet memes, which rarely have a practical use for the levels.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Katanas do more damage than regular swords, but the AI prefers swords over katanas (even characters that spawn with a katana, like samurai, will swap for a sword if one is lying around).
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Maxwell's notebook gives him a ton of power, letting him summon and (mostly) control anything he can write into it.
  • Kill It with Fire: Some enemies (like zombies and mummies) are flammable and will get badly hurt if they touch fire. In the first game, this is the only common weakness of the ooze monster.
  • Kitchen Sink Included: You're able to make a kitchen sink just as easily as you can make anything else.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • The blob/slime/ooze is a short, unintimidating monster, but it can destroy creatures without risk of taking any damage, provided said creature is not on fire, while also fitting into more places due to its size.
    • Longcat is apparently stronger in a direct confrontation with God. He hates water, though.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • "Post 217." Looks like a billboard based on the "ROBOT ZOMBIES" story, acts like a nuke.
    • The Cap Gun in Unlimited looks like a normal dart gun, but in certain versions of the game it destroys everything with one shot, including black holes and "invincible" objects.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Electricity can jumpstart cars and revive corpses, making a storm cloud handy in specific levels.
  • Literal-Minded: The final puzzle levels in the first game and Super encourage this. Hint: "Write the answer". Answer? "Answer", or anything that normally summons a false Starite.
  • Made of Explodium: Explosives like gas tanks and explosive barrels will detonate if you so much as look at them the wrong way.
  • Made of Good: According to Unlimited, Starites are made from the happiness of living things, which is why Maxwell needs to help people to collect them.
  • Made of Plasticine: Maxwell can take the same number of hits as a baby normally, except in the sandbox stages, where Maxwell has no hitpoints and can only be killed by insta-kills like Edison or a screen-wipe.
  • Magic Potion: In the first game, the player can create potions that act as healing objects. Starting with Super Scribblenauts, adjectives can be added to potions, and those potions have the affect of changing the appearance of a character or object (for example, a "Golden Potion" will turn things to gold).
  • Malevolent Architecture: The main point of the "action" stages, where arrangements of spikes, spiked balls, monsters, explosive barrels, and many other obstacles all convene to make the path to a Starite much harder.
  • Market-Based Title: The Japanese title for the first game is Hirameki (could mean "insight" or "flash") Puzzle: Maxwell's Peculiar Notebook. The Japanese release of its sequel averts this, strangely enough, simply sticking with the original title.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: According to the intro of Scribblenauts Unlimited, Maxwell has 41 siblings including Lily. You get to meet and help them all over the course of the game
  • Master of Disguise: Maxwell usually fits into themed stages by putting on an appropriate costume. It's possible that the alternate player skins are also just costumes.
  • Memetic Mutation: The original game threw in many references to Internet memes of the time as Easter eggs, and these were iconic enough to be included in later games as well, with new ones being added. Unfortunately, this got the devs into a bit of trouble, as they included Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat in Unlimited without realizing that both were trademarked, and owned by people willing to go to court to defend said trademarks. The case was settled out of court and the characters were licensed for the game, but as a result, all memes (except Invisible Bike, and in-jokes like Post 217) were removed from Unmasked.invoked
  • Mercury's Wings: One of the many ways you can make Maxwell fly is to equip him with winged sandals. You can also make a winged helmet, but it doesn't fly.
  • Mr. Seahorse: The adjective "Pregnant" makes the unit spawn a baby version of itself, and can be applies to male characters along with anything else
  • Monster Mash:
  • More Dakka: In Super Scribblenauts, it's entirely possible to make guns that wield other guns, which wield other guns.
  • Motivation on a Stick: You can set this up using a "plank", "glue", and something a character wants, causing them to pursue the item continuously.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Included as a Take That, Audience! in the earlier games: "Virgin", "Gamer", and "Otaku" correspond to the same type of object.
  • Nice Hat: Maxwell's helmet is race-car red and has three crests on tip. It's usually referred to as a rooster hat.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability:
    • Priests and longcats are almost completely invincible; the only ways to eliminate them are having them get eaten or using One-Hit Kill items like black holes, screenwipes, and the Cap Gun in Unlimited. Vampires are similar in most respects but have traditional vampire weaknesses that kill them in one shot. Adjectives can be used to make anything invincible to normal damage, though special items like a dead potion or stun gun still work.
    • After the original Scribblenauts, any person that might represent a religious sect is indestructible to anything that doesn't wipe the screen or destroy absolutely anything, including priests, rabbi, imam, nuns, and atheists. In Scribblenauts Unlimited, priests and the like can be killed with the Cap Gun.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Goofy mashup creatures either exist naturally in the games (such as robot zombies, hamsters, and dinosaurs, or ninja sharks) or via applying adjectives and clothing to create whatever combination you desire, including a Piratic Zombified Robotic Ninja]].
  • No Mouth: Pretty much all human characters in all games have only eyes and sometimes facial hair, but no visible mouths. Maxwell and his siblings are aversions.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Using the Time Machine in Super Scribblenauts will occasionally send you back to the first stage of the original game. There's another Maxwell (the normal one, not the doppelgänger) running around there, and you can even collect the Starite for 100% Completion. Past Maxwell can't normally be interacted with, but he's still vulnerable to potions.
    • The sequel's last level ends with writing "the answer" again, only now you're on the moon!
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: Water shorts out a variety of electrical items, including some you wouldn't expect to be electrical at all.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • In the first game, "Edison" (the representation of Edison Yan, an artist for the game) will eat almost anything alive in one bite, including you.
    • The adjective "Deadly" can allow anything to kill whatever it touches in one hit.
    • Potions apply adjectives to whatever they're used on. Creating a "dead potion" will let Maxwell kill anything with one use of it.
  • 1 Million B.C.: A prehistoric area can be reached in the first two games via Time Machine, and both contain a lot of dinosaurs.
  • One-Word Title: The first game is called solely Scribblenauts, reflecting how Maxwell solves problems by scribbling things in his notebook.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Maxwell's notebook is bound to him, so he can't just hand it off to someone else or have it stolen.
  • Overly Long Gag: The hint of action level 10-9 in the first game goes on for about 20 hint boxes and, rather then giving any actual hint to the straightforward level, contains a somewhat amusing rant about coffee, steak, and rules to live your life on.
  • Oxymoronic Being: You can make things like a diant wwarf. In Unlimited you can also make a dry puddle, which upon summoning comes with the adjective "Paradoxical".
  • Panacea: In the sequel, creating and using panacea (or an "elixir of life") on a dead or sick being revives them. Using it on a healthy being makes them invincible.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Witches won't attack you if you wear a witch hat, and cops will attack anyone wearing a pirate hat.
  • Permanently Missable Content: In Scribblenauts Unlimited, Edgar appears on the farm level after you unlock the ending. He has a special cane that turns anything it shoots into stone. If you reset the farm level at any time, he and his cane disappears and cannot be respawned. The only way to keep the cane is to put it in your backpack. In the PC and Wii U versions, this object can be spawned by using a glitch.
  • Person of Mass Construction: The point of the game is to solve puzzles by creating things with your notebook, including castles, planets, dragons, and cheese.
  • Planimal: You can add "wooden" to anything in the sequel, turning it into a treelike creature.
  • The Power of Creation: Maxwell's notebook, with its power to create anything he writes into it.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The NeoGAF vehicle is powered by a gamer. If you interact with the NeoGAF logo instead of riding it, a gamer will pop out and the logo will no longer fly.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: In the games, eels, elvers, lampreys, hagfish, and quillfish all have electric powers and are extremely aggressive, attacking everything else including their own kind. In real life, their only similarities are that they are fish with elongated bodies and fused fins.
  • Puff of Logic: In the sequel, an atheist can kill God just by walking up to him and thinking.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Normally, atheists run away from God, but giving them a gun causes them to go hostile. In the sequel, an aestheist can cause God to die by just touching him.
  • Raising the Steaks: In the sequel you can make anything undead, even things that were never alive to begin with. It makes ojects hostile, causing them to zombify other entities they touch.
  • Sandbox Mode: The title screen provides a free playground to summon arbitrary items and do whatever you want with them, without worrying about mission restrictions or Maxwell's health.
  • School Setting Simulation: School levels pop up pretty often. Common puzzles the player must solve there include stocking a classroom full of themed items, helping students handle certain problems, and hiring teaching staff.
  • Shamu Fu: Swordfish can be used as (very ineffective) weapons.
  • Shout-Out: So many that the series has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work: A kappa will eat cucumbers. In the sequel, they also get the friendly adjective.
  • Small Taxonomy Pools: Any animals who bear a superficial resemblance to each other are treated as the same species by the game. Examples include (but are not limited to) earthworm and caecilian, mouse and pika, and Velociraptor and Herrerasaurus.
  • Snake Charmer: A snake charmer is one of the characters possible to summon. They're able to make snakes tame.
  • Something Nauts: The game is named Scribblenauts, though the word never comes up in the game itself (aside from being used to create a concept design for the player character).
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music remains cheerful regardless of whatever carnage may be happening on the screen.
  • Star-Shaped Coupon: Starites are star-shaped objects that Maxwell collects in each level to make progress through the games.
  • Start Screen: The startup screen acts like a sandbox mode, allowing you to just play around and summon whatever you want. In the sequel, you can customize it.
  • Stepford Smiler: Maxwell won't stop smiling, even if he's burning to death. In Unmasked he still smiles a lot but also has different expressions for when he's attacking, being hurt, or doing other actions.
  • Straw Nihilist: The game includes both "passive" and "hostile" nihilists, though it serves as a synonym to "philosopher".
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Explosives in many forms, like dynamite, C4, and nukes, are an easy but risky way to clear the way forward.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: It is fully within your power to turn Maxwell's world into a thoroughly Crapsaccharine World, through whatever means you deem appropriate.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: You can summon anything, so this is a natural way to solve combat-related problems.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Maxwell can easily swim in all games, and from Scribblenauts Unlimited onwards can even dive under water without tools (like "scuba") or adjectives (like "immortal").
  • Swiss Army Weapon: In Super Scribblenauts, that distinction falls on potions: when you create one, any adjective you decide to adjunct to it is the potion's effect.
  • Taken for Granite: Medusa's stare turns things to stone, as do several other things. Unlimited's plot involves trying to rescue Lily from a curse that is slowly turning her to stone.
  • Take That!:
    • An Indy Escape level in the first game has the hint "The fourth one is bad".
    • "Twilight" is a possible word (despite no other time of day being accepted), and it summons a black hole.]]
  • Take That, Audience!: "Virgin" maps to "gamer" in the game's dictionary. Also, "scientist", "astronomer", "nerd" and "dork" are all represented by the same character.
  • Teleportation: You can summon a teleporter, which takes you to a variety of places such as outer space or 5th Cell's office.
  • The Tetris Effect: After playing Scribblenauts, you'll find yourself coming up with ludicrous ways to solve problems in real life, regardless of whatever you have available.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Inevitably, some players will solve most problems with excessive force. Need to knock down bottles? Summon a battleship.
  • Threatening Shark: All sharks in the game, regardless of their real-life behaviour, are very aggressive, including the filter-feeding whale sharks and basking sharks.
  • Time Machine: One of the summonable objects. It allows you to either move forward or backwards in time.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A good deal of summoned human characters tend to chow down on any can of arsenic they see, though they can be cured.
  • Total Party Kill: Several items will act as a screen-wipe and force the level to reset, such as atom bombs, a tsunami, a falling meteor, or a black hole (in Super Scribblenauts only)
  • Try Everything: Part of the series' fun is finding new ways to solve every level, which is even encouraged by challenge mode replays.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny:
    • It's possible to pit any number of mythological or historical characters together in a fight thanks to the large dictionary, with varying results.
    • With Scribblenauts Unmasked, it is obvious this trope would come into play. You can summon almost any DC character you want and get them to fight. Want to see Superman take on the Sinestro Corps? How about Young Justice duking it out with the Joker? The possibilities are endless!
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Level 10-5, the final normal level of Super Scribblenauts, briefly turns the game into an interactive fight where you fire Starites at the Doppelganger's UFO.
  • Universal Driver's License: Maxwell. In addition to "mundane" vehicles like cars, pogo sticks, and boats, Maxwell can also drive tanks and helicopters, and ride dragons and unicorns. In the sequel, the "rideable" adjective takes this to its Logical Extreme.
  • Unobtainium: Easily obtained, in your choice of Adamantium or Mythril. Both are pretty much indestructible, and in the sequel you can apply the former as an adjective. In Unlimited, you can summon unobtanium itself.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Double-subverted: while the last action level of the first game was designed to be Unwinnable if attempted the hard way, it's still possible to flip every switch and press every button through the clever use of glue, anvils and shrink rays. However, neither the switches nor the buttons actually work.
  • Vague Age: Maxwell is young, but could be anywhere from a kid to a teenager.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Most of the series is based around helping other characters to get Starites, and the ability to summon anything lets players act out whatever cute scenarios they wish. You can even pet animals if you want.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As with any sandbox-based game, the potential to cause havoc to other characters is unlimited. To quote the ESRB's justification for the E10+ rating: "a club can be used to hit an animal; steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions; rockets can be lobbed at a man". Even the developers encouraged this.
  • The Virus: Zombies, vampires, and werewolves are all infectious. However, vampirism is the only one that can create a proper apocalypse. The AI on zombies is bugged so that they will continue fighting each other to the death even after being turned, so you'll usually only end up with only one active zombie at any given time. People infected by werewolves only turn hostile if exposed to a full moon.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Part of the Combinatorial Explosion: Dracula runs from garlic (or garlic bread), Bigfoot runs from cameras, and atheists run from God unless those atheists have a shotgun. In the sequel, aetheists are strong against God instead.
  • Western Terrorists: The words "Terrorist", "Anarchist", "Arsonist", and "Madman" summon a masked person who attacks authority figures and sets off explosives.
  • Wide Open Sandbox:
    • While it's technically a puzzle-platformer, Scribblenauts' central concept makes it hard to resist playing it like one of these. To that end, the dev team has thoughtfully designed the start screen to be sort of a "sandbox mode", so you can have hours of fun without even loading your save file!
    • In Unmasked, the Bat Cave serves this purpose, and after completing the missions there, the Watch Tower and Brainiac's ship become these as well.
  • With This Herring: Completely avoided, since all of the levels can be solved by writing up what you need to complete each task.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Maxwell isn't shy about wearing women's clothing, or any other kind of outfit.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Pegasus is afraid of dolls.
  • World of Pun: All of the locations in Unlimited are either writing puns or named after the developers. Examples include Capital City, Payper N. Penitentiary, and the Exclamation Point (a mountain).
  • Writing Around Trademarks: "Taser", "frisbee", and "lightsaber" are not in the dictionary whereas "stun gun", "flying disc" and "laser sword" are.
  • Yandere:
    • In earlier games, the "psycho" and "stalker" entities look similar to the "girlfriend" or "cheerleader", but come equipped with a knife.
    • In Super Scribblenauts, "Girlfriend" will try to kill another Girlfriend on sight regardless of how each one was made.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: Usually inverted, as the games recognize a very robust lineup of words that most stages account for. There can still be times when a stage won't accept an obvious answer, however.
  • Your Mom: While "Mom" summons a normal woman, "Your Mom" summons a zombie.

    Super Scribblenauts 
  • Abnormal Ammo: Any adjective applied to a projectile weapon will also apply to its projectiles. This can be useful (an "explosive gun" will shoot exploding bullets, and a "flaming gun"'s burning ammo can set its targets on fire) or completely useless (a "pretty gun" will shoot bullets that wear little tiaras).
  • Artsy Beret: The character simply titled 'Artist' constantly wears a red beret and scarf over black clothes. None of the other labelled characters ever change their clothes, and they're all dressed to embody the steretypes they portray.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Typing "stalker" spawns a normal-looking cheerleader with a knife and a masculine voice.
  • Censor Box: The "Birthday Suit" is a nude body costume with a black bar covering its privates.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Among other things, you can create Burning Fire, a Lycanthropic Werewolf or a Zombified Zombie. Some objects that are paired up with redundant adjectives are visibly different from the normal: Winged Wings are wings wearing wings, for example, and a King King wears a crown on top of his crown.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: Wendigos in Super and subsequent games look fairly threatening, but are quite weak and fragile. In fact, they're so weak that generic humans of all people can beat them in a fair fight.
  • Fearless Fool: Giving a creature the adjective Brave will cause it to fight back anyone that harms it, even especially if they don't stand a change of beating it. (ex. Brave Man vs Evil Dragon)
  • Fission Mailed: In the last level, the Doppelganger's ship crash lands on the moon, prompting the following message to appear in the bottom screen: "Try again: The starite was destroyed." The only button to close the message box says "No way", hinting that the players can still beat the level by spawning a starite themselves.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A bug sometimes occurs, in which Maxwell randomly ascends to the skies and never comes down. This renders the sandbox mode unplayable.
  • Gay Option: In one of the levels, Maxwell has to buy presents for each of his parents and his girlfriend, based on the objects they have in their rooms. It's possible to change the playable character into a female one, though the girlfriend is not changed.
  • Guide Dang It!: To get the final merit, you must "apply the secret Super Scribblenauts adjective". The only clue is that the merit is called "The Fourth Wall". The adjective is Scribblenautical if you were wondering. It gives everything the rooster hat.
  • Logic Bomb: Typing in contradicting adjectives such as "Blue Yellow Apple" will result in the game ignoring all of them apart from the last one. The only exception is "wingless wings", which summons nothing and fills up the meter a little. You can't delete it since you didn't really summon anything.
  • Mini-Game: Summoning the Arcade Machine and using it lets you play a little mini-game where you must defend a wall from falling bombs. You not only get an achievement for doing so, your file also tracks your high score!
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Now that you can use adjectives, nearly any mix-and-match monster you can think of can be created.
  • Nostalgia Level: The first level from the original game appears as an Easter Egg - very occasionally, the time machine, instead of taking you where you asked to go, will take you to said level. Maxwell from the past and the starite appear as well, and collecting said Starite is required for 100% Completion.
  • Sequel Escalation: Adding a dictionary of adjectives means that your seemingly limitless repertoire of potential objects is now multiplied by an equally limitless number of modifiers. Good luck trying to write them all.
  • Stone Wall: The cockroaches have a lot of health, but don't fight back. Even if you gave them adjectives such as "brave" or "fearless" so they won't run away from their attackers, they aren't that strong.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The "exploding" adjective can be applied to any object to turn it into a bomb.
  • Taken for Granite: Gorgons can petrify creatures. If you kill the gorgon or summon a gorgon head, you can use the head as a weapon.
  • Teens Are Short: The adjective "teenage" makes objects smaller.

    Scribblenauts Unlimited 
  • Alliterative Name: Many, e.g. Payper Plains, Pilcrow Peaks, and appropriately enough, Alliteration Abyss.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Tomb of Onomatopoeia includes a group of visiting aliens who resemble the animal-headed Egyptian gods (plus one standard gray alien).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Nintendo items in the Wii U version. At first, it's a right lark to spawn Bowser and Mario and watch the two duke it out Scribblenauts style, but you soon realise that you can't add adjectives to them in any way, nor can you edit them in the Object Editor. That's acceptable; obviously Nintendo doesn't want you vandalising their intellectual property with adjectives like 'smelly', 'rude' or 'lizardlike'. What is less excusable is the fact that they will NEVER be the answer to the puzzles, even when they make 100% logical sense. For example, if you need a weapon to defend against a horde of zombies, spawning a sword will work, but the Master Sword? Not on your life. Of course, since this game features an object editor, you're free to make Nintendo characters and items that can be adjectified and used to solve puzzles.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Grave Manor.
  • Bilingual Bonus: One of the areas is called Kana Craters. "Kana" refers to the Japanese language's native writing systems.
  • Brick Joke: In the animation that runs behind the credits sequence, one of the figures shoots an arrow into the air. It comes down much, much later, just in time to save the same figure from a monster.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Bullet Point Bayou.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The Storybook Keep.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Tomb of Onomatopoeia.
  • Canary in a Coal Mine: In the "Underscore Mine" stage, the first thing you encounter is a canary who wants some protection against toxic gas. Giving the bird a gas mask earns you a shard.
  • Cement Shoes: In the "Capital City Runoff" stage (which is located underwater), you'll find Maxwell's brother Tempo being tied to a safe. Freeing him is one of the tasks to beat the stage.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits of the game showcases every single 5th Cell member who worked on the game as Scribblenaut-style cartoony avatars of themselves, creating and interacting with various items in multiple levels the player has visited in the past.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: In the Listy Colon (a pirate ship), one of the NPCs is just some guy on a laptop. Clicking him says you get a Shard if you stop him from engaging in digital piracy. Doing the opposite (such as spawning a router or something similar) unfortunately doesn't do anything.
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: In the "Inkwell High" stage, you can earn a shard by giving a scared student protection against the dodgeballs.
  • Dummied Out: There's an unused, unfinished stadium level that was also used by the developers as a test level. It can be briefly seen on the PC version by using the "—autoloader" command line parameter. If you want to actually play in it, however, memory hacking is needed.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Several missions have (female) creatures asking for a mate. Conjuring a succubus is an entirely valid solution.
  • Evil Chancellor: In Abjad Dunes there is an evil vizier who eventually turns into a giant snake.
  • Flipping the Table: One miniquest has two people at a table asking for a game to play. Once one is provided, they play for a while and then one of them gets angry and flips the table.
  • Fragile Speedster: Smaller objects are faster than their larger counterparts, but don't deal as much damage and can't take as many hits.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The game's goal and main Aesop is to do good things for people. However, some of the people you help are evil, and along with the series' trademark Video Game Cruelty Potential, you can solve people's problems in some rather comically dark ways (such as one mission involving reuniting a man on their honeymoon with their dead wife; killing the husband is considered just as valid as resurrecting the wife).
  • Gangplank Galleon: The Listy Colon.
  • Hub City: Capital City, the largest city in the game.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Even though it was Maxwell who gave the old man a rotten apple in the intro, it's Lily who is punished for it.
  • Jail Bake: In "Payper N. Penitentiary", one shard is achieved by helping a woman hide a tool in a cake so her friend can use it to escape from the prison.
  • Jerkass: The entire plot stems from Maxwell giving an old man a rotten apple just because he thought it would be funny. Needless to say, he learns his lesson.
  • Jungle Japes: Anaphora Falls and the Ruins of Ellipsis. The latter has an underground Temple of Doom.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: You can swim in lava, but you'll take continuous damage unless you use an adjective to make yourself fireproof.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Vowelcano, which takes place inside the aforementioned volcano. It houses a pit of lava at the center.
  • Level Ate: Land of Sweet Hyperbole, a level featuring giant gingerbread houses and mountains of ice cream.
  • The Lost Woods: The Metaforest.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Sir Guillemet's Castle.
  • Mighty Glacier: Larger objects have more health and deal more damage but move slower than their smaller or normal-sized counterparts.
  • Mining for Cookies: In the "Kana Craters" stage, which is set on the moon, Maxwell encounters a mouse who is convinced the moon contains cheese and asks for a tool to mine for it. If Maxwell gives the mouse a useful tool, like a pickaxe, the mouse will indeed strike cheese, earning Maxwell the Moon Gold shard.
  • Omniscient Morality Licence: The old man who curses Lily. At the end, it turns out that the man was actually their father Edgar, and they're understandably quite angry at him. But eventually they forgive him.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Giving something the "gone" adjective. Goodbye, thing!
    • "Dead" or "deceased" does exactly what you'd expect. Making a weapon "deadly" allows it to one-shot anything mortal.
    • Objects with adjectives like "man-eating" and "omnivorous" will kill their targets instantly upon consumption.
  • Patchwork Map: There is a Wild West desert right next to an iceberg.
  • Pirates vs. Ninjas:
    • The pirate ship has a ninja in the brig.
    • The same level has a miniquest where a pirate and a ninja are facing off, and both ask Maxwell to help them win the battle. Unlike several other levels where two characters have conflicting goals and Maxwell must help both to complete the level, this miniquest only runs once, allowing and requiring the player to take a side.
  • Pixellation: What the "naked" adjective does in this game: It adds a "pixel" costume over an object instead of giving them a flesh-colored tone as in the previous game. The pixels vanish soon after being removed, and that includes stealing them from the object.
  • Prehistoria: The Saurus Park, a Jurassic Park-themed level with dinosaurs-a-plenty.
  • Press X to Die: Adding the adjective "dead" to Maxwell, i.e. yourself, or becoming "exploding" and then interacting with yourself. And unlike NPCs, being "reincarnating" won't help you.
  • Raised by Wolves: In the "Metaforest", two wolves want a human cub to raise. Giving them one earns you the Raised by Wolves shard.
  • Retraux: Time Machines, Video Games, and Arcade Machines now give three different flavors of this.
  • Round Hippie Shades: The "Hippie" is one of the stock character types the player is able to summon, dressed in stereotypical '60s counter-culture clothing. And it includes round, yellow glasses.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: The Ruins of Ellipsis.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Abjad Dunes.
  • Shoplift and Die: If you steal something from a shopkeeper, they'll come after you with a battle axe.
  • Sleazy Politician: One of the object shards involves summoning two liars and placing them near each other. "Politician" is considered a valid substitute.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Three of them: Abian Sea Front, Pilcrow Peaks and Exclamation Point, the latter which doubles as a downplayed Death Mountain.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: The game is all about saving your sister from a curse of petrification. She's at your home the whole time, waiting patiently for you to collect enough Starites to break the spell. (Not that she has much choice.)
  • Stealth Pun: One miniquest involves retrieving a treasure chest that triggers a trap when opened. There's nothing inside it except a booby.note 
  • Space Station: Syntax Station, one of the final stages.
  • Spring-Heeled Jack: Spring-Heeled Jack is of the characters you can spawn. He's capable of flying, and will attack every other character, including the player. The game portrays him as an actual cryptid, rather than a human in a suit.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: The Saurus Park has (apart from whatever else you might choose to summon) Allosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Plesiosaurus, a pterosaur, a dromaeosaurid, an unnamed brachiosaurid, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus and a sheep.
  • Taken for Granite: Maxwell's jerkassery in the prologue gets Lily cursed, causing her to turn to stone bit by bit. Maxwell has to collect the Starites to free her.
  • Theme Naming: All the stages in Unlimited, besides Edwin's Farm, are named after various writing terms and punctuation marks (Hyphen Heights, St. Asterisk, Ruins of Ellipsis, Vowelcano, Syntax Station...) And in the Mega Pack version, we also get Zed Zeppelin and Land of Sweet Hyperbole.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: The Starite quest in Abjad Dunes requires you to train and fortify a small desert village to protect against invading Desert Bandits.
  • Turtle Island: Dot the Island is an island located on a turtle. When exploring the reef below, you see the turtle's head and feet.
  • Tyop on the Cover: On the WB Games logo screen before the main menu shows up, it reads "Copyright © 1007-2012 RAD Game Tools, Inc".
  • Under the Sea: There are four of them: Capital City Runoff, Tilde Reef, Alliteration Abyss and Lost Kingdom of Parentheses (which doubles as an Underwater Ruin).
  • Unwinnable by Design: Rendering a puzzle unwinnable will turn the Starite piece counter red to warn you. Fortunately, you can reset the level to undo it. Some levels include mutually exclusive goals (e.g. "help the lumberjack cut down the tree" and "help the hippie prevent the tree being chopped down") and can only be completed with a reset.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: Punctuation Plaza is a level that's only available in the Wii U version of the game (and later, in the Nintendo Switch version of Mega Pack).
  • Video Game Settings: Averted at the beginning when the only locations accessable are buildings within the city. You later, however, gain access to a forest, jungle, desert, tundra, volcano, and several other more "traditional" video game environments.
  • The Wild West: The Dusty Brush Canyon stage.
  • World in the Sky: Storybook Keep, which is located on a cloud. In the previous stage, Dot the Island, you have to help a mechanic reach it.

    Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure 
  • Adaptational Villainy: Catwoman is a full-on villain here. This goes for a number of Anti-Hero types, especially '90s Anti-Hero characters like Azrael Batman and the Eradicator.
  • Alternate Continuity: Certain characters actually have multiple versions of themselves in the game to reflect various Elseworlds, such as Superman: Red Son and Batman Beyond.
    • The game's version of the DC Universe seems to combine characters and elements from the Post-Crisis universe and the New 52 universe.
  • Beam Spam: Summon an entire lantern corps (or better, multiple allied lantern corpses), then put a character they hate among them. Enjoy the fireworks.
  • Big Bad: Brainiac
  • Book-Ends: The first and last thing you create is a doctor. The first one is to heal Lily, the last is to heal Doppelganger.
  • Bowdlerise: Many of the summonable characters' bios in the Batcomputer have information either censored or completely missing. Most egregiously are entries for characters who are currently deceased or whose backgrounds involve Death by Origin Story using the words "attack" and "defeat" in place of "kill". Especially jarring considering some of the other stuff they got away with. Typing "New Fifty Two Joker" produces the Joker as he appears in Death of the Family. You know, that story where he appeared with his face cut off and held in place by a belt.
  • Call-Back: Lily offhandedly worries her father would turn her to stone for breaking her globe when she and Maxwell landed on Gotham City, she drops the topic immediately before Batman could inquire further.
  • Canon Immigrant: Luminus is one of the villains you can summon even though he appeared exclusively in Superman: The Animated Series and never turned up in the comics (not counting three issues of the Comic-Book Adaptation of said animated series).
  • Clothes Make the Superman: A number of unlockable outfits based on DC characters are available for Maxwell to wear, giving him the powers of those characters.
  • Code Name: Played with in a running gag where innocent bystanders Maxwell stops to help assume he's a superhero and guess at his hero name: Rooster Boy? Red Rooster?
  • Composite Character: The Azrael Batman costume has the look of the Knightfall costume, but comes with the flamethrower of the KnightsEnd costume.
    • Wonder Woman's origin level mentions her classic origin of being brought to life after her mother sculpted her from clay, but also mentions that her father is Zeus, which was an element from her reworked origin in The New 52.
    • Certain characters featured in the game combine elements from their Post-Crisis and New 52 counterparts. One example is minor Superman foe Kryptonite Man, who resembles the K. Russel Abernathy version that appeared in Post-Crisis continuity, but has the background information of the New 52 Kryptonite Man.
  • Crossover: Between Scribblenauts and the DC Universe.
  • Enemy Mine: During the final mission, Maxwell has to select one of the many Lantern Corps batteries to get backup that can assist Hal Jordan in fighting the Sinestro Corps. It is possible to summon the Black Lantern Corps, the Red Lantern Corps, or the Orange Lantern Corps as your allies in this battle.
    • Doppelganger and Sinestro briefly ally with Maxwell and Hal Jordan to defeat Larfleeze.
  • Foreshadowing: During the intro, the paper that Maxwell wrote 'Gotham City' on it has a D on the other side. Say, doesn't "Doppelganger" start with a D?
    • There are also a few hints throughout the game that Brainiac is the main antagonist.
  • Final Boss: Brainiac
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Pre-New 52 Captain Marvel has a hidden Kryptonian adjective. If you create an item that removes said adjective and use it on Captain Marvel, he appropriately loses it... except he loses it permanently - restarting the game will not reapply the hidden adjective. It can only be fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling the game, a solution that can't be applied to the Steam version given the way it stores save game data.
  • Glass Cannon: Indigo can fire powerful lasers, but is quite fragile, and can easily be taken out in a single hit by many of the other characters. Even a baby can take more punishment than she can.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: You can make a villain undergo a Heel–Face Turn by adding adjectives like "benevolent" or "good" to them. Likewise, you can make heroes go through a Face–Heel Turn by adding adjectives like "evil" or "bad" to them.
  • Heroic Willpower: Averted. When Maxwell grabs the Orange Power Battery, Hal Jordan notes that he shook it off pretty fast. Max quickly tells him that he did no such thing.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Maxwell and Lily openly Squee! over meeting many of the superheroes, reasonably as they concocted this adventure deliberately to meet them.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Has 2000 characters from the DC Universe, some of which being obscure characters that only appeared a handful of times. Specific examples are the 100+ Green Lantern mythos characters, Bat Family, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman, as well as their respective Rogues Galleries. In fact, there's achievements for summoning alternate copies of the Justice League and 150 Green Lanterns.
    • Unfortunately, this inevitably led to quantity over quality, especially with the more obscure characters. For example, even though Mother of Champions from the Great Ten is immune to radiation (and it even says so in her description), she can still be harmed and killed by radiation just as any other character.
  • Made of Iron: Some characters, such as Constantine Drakon, Parallax, and Mogo, can take a whole lot of punishment before biting the dust. Mogo in particular can be hit by over 10 missiles and still keep going.
  • Mirror Match: Since there are multiple versions of many characters, it is possible to pit them against each other. Like the Green Lantern Sinestro versus the Yellow Lantern Sinestro.
  • Narrator All Along: The narrator doing the starting and ending cut scenes turns out to be Alfred, Bruce's loyal butler.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Maxwell and Lily kickstart the plot by combining two mystical artifacts of incredible power to settle an argument about who the more powerful superhero is.
  • Psycho Poodle: In Metropolis, you come across a feral poodle. It will attack you if you get close, though it states that it doesn't WANT to be feral, and your mission is to make it nice.
  • Puzzle Boss: Brainiac. He simply teleports the other heroes outside of his base before his fight begins, but Lily figures out that the key to beating Brainiac is to summon alternate versions of the DC heroes due to Cyborg noting that Brainiac can only teleport his other counterparts or people from his home dimension and therefore has no power over Maxwell and Lily. The key to defeating Brainiac is to summon the Elseworlds incarnations of the superheroes, such as the Red Son version of Superman or the Batman Beyond version of Batman.
  • Retirony: In the tutorial, if you kill one of the cops the death screen will say: "... Just two days away."
  • Run the Gauntlet: After fighting The Joker, Harley Quinn, Zoom, Lex Luthor, Ocean Master, Sinestro and Cheetah in the previous stages, you have to face all of them again during the final stage on board of Brainiac's ship. Averted with General Zod, Ra's al Ghul and Scarecrow, who do not return for the finale.
  • Snake Versus Mongoose: During the boss fight with Sinestro on Oa, Maxwell has to counter everything Sinestro creates with something that scares Sinestro's creation. One of the things Sinestro can summon is a snake, and the correct response from Maxwell is to create a mongoose.
  • Speech Bubbles: As befitting a comic universe, the characters will occasionally speak with these, instead of the uniform "blah, blah, blah" of the last game.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: There are several missions that would be significantly easier if the player could just apply any number of adjectives to the villains, but anything that permanently immobilizes them ends up forcing a restart. Even non-lethal adjectives like "sleeping" or "immobile" don't work.
  • Superheroes: The game is based on DC comics and features tons of superheroes and supervillains from that company, per Loads and Loads of Characters, 2000 of them!
  • Supernatural Repellent: Humorously enough, there's the aptly titled "Zombie Repellent." Guess what it does.
  • Super Zeroes: Has a number of memetically infamous heroes, including The Legion of Substitute Heroes.
  • Stable Time Loop: In the Arkham Asylum level, Barbara Gordon appears as Batgirl, apparently never having her spine damaged by the Joker. After the level is beaten, Maxwell shows his thanks for Batgirl saving him by going back in time and implicitly preventing the Joker from crippling her.
  • Villain Decay: Happens to a lot of the stronger DC comics villains, especially if you use adjectives. For example, in the Fortress of Solitute level, Maxwell has to fight Doomsday, the Anti-Monitor and a gigantic Darkseid, 3 of the physically strongest DC villains, but they go down easily by making them fall asleep, stick a bomb on them and use a mirror respectively.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Despite the fact that his powers are exactly the same as your own, Doppelganger at best makes a token effort to stop you in each level. Once you reach Themyscira, he explains that he is limited to the single page of notebook Maxwell used to kickstart the plot, hence he has to conserve his summons lest he run out of room to write.


Alternative Title(s): Scribblenauts Unmasked, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Super Scribblenauts

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