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YMMV / Scribblenauts

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  • Awesome Music: Big Tiny 1. It starts out sounding like an ordinary, upbeat ear worm until you hit the 1:42 mark, where it becomes more dramatic.
  • Broken Base: The gradual elimination of action levels from the series (equal in count to the puzzle levels in Scribblenauts, restricted to two optional worlds in Super Scribblenauts, and nearly nonexistent in Scribblenauts Unlimited and Scribblenauts Unmasked) is a contentious point. Some players feel that the elimination of platforming and obstacles in a puzzle-platformer is disappointing, as it lowers the stage count and makes the series rely on "fill-in-the-blank" puzzles with less freedom. Others think that it's better to have lengthy, creative puzzle stages rather than frequent Death Courses that require the games' poor controls and still encourage relying on a small set of objects, not to mention that later games let you apply adjectives to Maxwell and pre-existing objects to erase any danger.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • If you don't feel like playing around, chances are you're just going to stick to one or two reliable objects, such as a form of flight like wings, a powerful weapon like a chainsaw, and a connector like rope, especially since most objects in a single class largely have identical functions.
    • To drive home the "a lot of things work exactly the same" point, Abridged Vegeta managed to clear several puzzles in Unlimited using only Shoggoth as a Running Gag. Need to save a kitty? Here, Shoggoth. Need a present for your grandkid? Have a miniature Shoggoth. Class pet? Have a little tiny Shoggoth.
    • In later games, you can apply the "invincible" adjective to your character to completely eliminate any combat risk, though there aren't as many fights to get into in those games.
  • Contested Sequel: Unmasked is this due to its relatively limited scope. Some players like the greater focus on story and the crossover elements, while others dislike that it's a Mission-Pack Sequel to Unlimited with no additions to the dictionary outside of the DC content.
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  • Critical Research Failure: In Unlimited, Death is joined by Pestilence, War, and Famine. They even have their own mission. However, their colors are somewhat odd, as War is white (the typical color of Conquest) instead of red, and Pestilence is red instead of green or black like Famine (a greenish color is used for Pollution, an original horseman).
  • Cult Classic: The series fell into obscurity after its initial period of attention, but it still has its fans because of its unique gameplay and the highly flexible object editor of later games.
  • Even Better Sequel:
    • Super Scribblenauts by far, for improving on the clunky controls of the original, adding more flexibility with the ability to add adjectives to creations and nerfing some of the more exploitable objects (like the black hole or Death).
    • Scribblenauts Unlimited got even more praise thanks to its story mode and the mechanic to customize objects.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Black holes were an infamously broken way to eliminate enemies and obstacles in the first game, since they were only a danger to Maxwell if he was in their range and could be moved around to different places if you were fast enough to stay under par. Super Scribblenauts turned black holes into an immobile screen-wipe to remove this strategy, and while Unlimited reverted the change, they still aren't very useful most of the time.
    • In the first game, the "blob" creature can only be killed by fire. This lets it kill many enemies with no risk, and since it's a small monster it fits into more places than other powerful creatures. An alternate method was using Death, who was person-sized and could kill enemies with a single touch. Both of these were made weaker in later games.
    • The adjectives in Super Scribblenauts are very powerful. You can stop those bomb-spawning pipes by just putting an "immobile invincible bar" right beneath it. Applying "invincible" to anything can make it very strong in general.
    • In Super Scribblenauts, the bomb disposal expert, makes bombs disappear instead of blowing them up like in Scribblenauts. Give him the adjectives "tiny invincible flying diving" and you can clear away any minefield easily.
    • In the sequel, the adjective "cannibal" or "cannibalistic", when applied to an object, will allow it to destroy anything, even steel doors and spiked steel balls.
    • The armed remote control car or armed remote control helicopter in Super. You can't use adjectives on yourself, but you can use them on either of these and then directly control them. They're capable of doing anything you can (the armed adjective is necessary to pick things up), and even if they do fall in lava or get destroyed you can just make more. You cannot control them in Unlimited, but you can apply adjectives to yourself.
    • In Unlimited, you can apply adjectives to anything already on the field, including Maxwell. There are a number of challenges that can be solved just by making Maxwell impervious with "invincible" or erasing enemies with "gone".
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Louisiana torrented Scribblenauts Unlimited more than any other state relative to the national average in 2014.
  • Glurge: At one point in Unmasked, Maxwell has access to a time machine, which he uses to go back in time and prevent Barbara Gordon from getting shot (it should be noted that this is the New 52 version of Barbara, who eventually regained the use of her legs). It's supposed to seem sweet, but the implications of one kid going back in time to change a major character-defining moment are a little unsettling when you really think about it.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • In the first game, handcuffs that were summoned by the player can be attached to anything anywhere in the level, including the Starite. If the other end of the handcuff is attached to a container, the option to put the Starite in the container appears. If the container was summoned by the player, it can then be dragged next to Maxwell and opened, instantly winning any Action level.
    • In the first game, you can use the same item multiple times in Challenge Mode by putting a space before the word. This doesn't work in later games, since they have adjectives that actually do go before the word.
    • In some levels of the first game, there are obstacles that constantly spawn dangerous items to impede your progress, such as bomb dispensers. Spawning enough objects to fill up the object meter will prevent these from creating any more items as well.
    • For some strange reason, if an ox is summoned, ridden, and then "used" on something, it will shoot high-velocity buttermilk at whatever it is used on.
    • The @ method in Unlimited, which grants access to objects not normally available. Examples include Gender Blaster and Monster Gun (two rays that change NPCs into the opposite gender and a random monster, respectively), Maxwell and Lily's parents, and different types of magic. Here's a video showing how to perform the glitch.
    • One mission in Super tasks the player with getting to the front of a long queue line without cutting in front of anyone. Inexplicably, the NPCs in line will disappear if pushed to the far left edge of the screen by something like a fan or bulldozer, allowing you to get the Starite with ease.
  • Hype Backlash: Once the period of praise for the size of the dictionary and its secrets died down, the first game ended up getting a lot of complaints for its janky control scheme and the limiting nature of the dictionary (many items didn't work as players expected, which encouraged using the same effective things repeatedly). The later games addressed these issues and the series is still well-liked, but it wasn't ever quite able to live up to its hype, and 5th Cell only got to make four games before laying off most of its staff.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A common critical reaction to Unlimited, where almost all tasks can be solved with obvious everyday objects. Super was also criticized for this due to the introduction of adjectives and fewer levels.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: While the focus of the game is its puzzle stages, most people like Scribblenauts for being able to summon anything by typing it and for the Video Game Cruelty Potential, leaving them on the sandbox screen most of the time.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Post 217 (a NeoGAF post in which a poster named Feep enthusiastically described killing robot zombies with a dinosaur in the E3 demo) ended up being a major contributor for the original game gaining traction. It led to the terms "Feep" (a synonym for the robot zombies) and "Post Two One Seven" getting added into the final game, the latter spawning a picture of the event.
    • The ESRB page created several, including "Steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions", due to their brutal descriptions of Video Game Cruelty Potential.
    • Dead lions.Explanation 
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Lily being Taken for Granite in Unlimited, mostly with how it happens gradually over the course of the game.
    • Also in Unlimited, if somehow Maxwell winds up with the adjective "Decapitated" attached to him, he'll be running around headless. It's both goofy and creepy.
    • Parallax in Unmasked. You thought the embodiment of fear would just become fun-sized like most everything in these games? Think again.
  • Polished Port: The PC version of Unlimited has elements of both this and Porting Disaster. On the one hand, being able to type in words with the keyboard is a godsend. On the other hand, the user interface is basically unchanged from the Wii U version, there are minimal options for optimizing graphics, and if you get a framerate of less than 60 FPS, the entire game will slow down to compensate. That being said, it's still far from broken and quite enjoyable in the long run.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The first game's controls. To make Maxwell move, you need to tap a point and he will frantically run there. This is the only way to move, and it can be very touchy and lead to deaths in action stages. Super Scribblenauts slowed down his walking speed and added the option to move using the D-Pad or face buttons, which were very well-received. This new control scheme was then added to the first game via the 2-in-1 Scribblenauts Collection re-release, making it the definitive way to play the first game.
    • Unmasked saddles you with a 50% penalty if you summon the same item or adjective more than once in one level. This can get annoying when you have to cycle through several different forms of flight mechanics, ropes, and so forth.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The title screen sandbox mode is all you need to have a good time. Everything beyond tapping the "START" icon is just a bonus.
  • Spoil at Your Own Risk: There was a massive GameFAQs crackdown resulting from an early release of the first game, in which hundreds of topics were moderated for discussing gameplay before the street date.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: Unlimited lets you wander around helping people and making friends. Good Feels Good indeed.
  • That One Level: Constellation 8-5 in Super Scribblenauts, which is also one of the advanced level, meaning it's one of the levels you have to complete three times in a row using different words each time to get an achievement. The premise of the level is that you have to get the key to the gate behind Maxwell's starting position to free the princess. The key is on the other end of a hallway filled with boxes stacked on top of each other, chandeliers, and a sleeping dragon in the middle. Touching any object will almost certainly knock it down and wake up the dragon, and of course touching the dragon will have the same result. You also can't spawn anything to kill the dragon, as the dragon will wake up anyways. The only solution is to spawn wings or a similar object and carefully fly all the way to the key, then all the way back to the gate, which goes against the game's usual tendency to encourage the player to be creative.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In the first game, writing "Sambo", an offensive term for black people, would spawn a watermelon, which is stereotypically associated with black people. The creators pointed out that the reason for this was that there is a fruit called "sambo" that looks like a watermelon, and that they had no idea Sambo was an offensive term.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: In the first game, the Samurai, Ninja and Clown are female despite not looking so, because they turn into goddesses when fed ambrosia.

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