As E3 gets underway, expect lots of new games and major updates to existing ones. One of the first in the latter category is to the hugely popular create-any-object puzzle and sandbox game Scribblenauts Remix.
Earlier today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment launched version 2.0 which comse with what they describe as a “free playable “God” Avatar”. There is now also a World Pass extension pack which hosts worlds six, seven and eight, making up a total of 30 new puzzles. The extension pack is available as an in-app purchase for $.99, but if you already bought the furst extension pack these new worlds are included as a free upgrade.
Another new IAP, “Mystical Creatures” gives players nine unique avatars to choose from including Baba Yaga, Kappa and Doppelgänger. You can take on these mysterious identities instead of always playing as Maxwell. You can now also gift the app directly from inside the game, instead of going through the App Store.
I’m unclear on what, exactly, the new avatars do, besides add a cosmetic change, but the World Pass will add a lot of replay value. If you’ve updated and upgraded already, let us know what you think of the new features in the comments.
A good many people have been enjoying collecting starites since Scribblenauts Remix first hit the App Store. It’s a pretty nifty game, after all. The down-side to games like this is that they eventually end once each level has been completed. There’s always the fun of revisiting completed stages in order to see what other bizarre ways its puzzles can be solved, but once it’s done it’s pretty much done. Until the developers release more levels for it, that is.
5th Cell has just made a new batch of 20 levels available for purchase, on top of the preexisting 50. I’m sure there are at least a few players out there who’ve been wishing there was more for them to do since they ran out of content, and an announcement like this should certainly brighten their day. Now they’ve got 20 more levels to bombard with adjectives and nouns as they attempt to grab that starite and have a good laugh in the process.
The level pack is available right now via in-app purchase, and will only set players back $0.99
What is the best way to make a great game even greater? Developers 5th Cell and Iron Galaxy are hedging their bets that the wave of the future is voice recognition. For this very reason the recently released Scribblenauts Remix for iOS is getting a much deserved revision, exclusively for iPhone 4S users.
Expanding on the already amazing feature set of the Scribblenaunts universe, all that iPhone 4S owners will need to do is talk to their phone in order to populate the game world with a multitude of awesome objects. Unfortunately if you own any other iOS devices you will be on the outside looking in. That said, this is still an exciting development for what is arguably one of most innovative games on the platform.
There is no word as to whether there are plans to add voice support to other devices down the road, but we can all cross our fingers. Check out the trailer below to see the new voice controls in action.
We had the opportunity to do a quick email interview with Jeremiah Slaczka, Creative Director for 5th Cell, developer of the Scribblenauts franchise. Recently released to iOS, Scribblenauts Remix is the latest in a line of highly regarded games, first released on the Nintendo DS in September of 2009.
We covered the game extensively at The Portable Gamer, so were really excited to see an iOS version, which comes in as a $4.99 Universal app (as opposed to the DS game, originally released at a $29.99 price point). While Slaczka was not able to comment on the pricing difference or strategy, he was able to answer a few of our more general questions.
We noticed that Remix seems to contain levels from both the original Scribblenauts game as well as the sequel, Super Scribblenauts, which added the ability to modify items names with adjectives. Our assumption, however, was a bit off base.
“Actually, the game is mostly based on Super Scribblenauts because that installment is superior to the original in every way,” said Slaczka. “The only things we borrowed from the first one were some original levels that we loved, and added adjective support for them.”
The touchscreen of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad seems ideal for a game that was already based on stylus-based touchscreen controls. However, there were many criticisms of the original game due to its difficult and almost loose control of protagonist Maxwell. Slaczka says that this issue was fixed in Super Scribblenauts, and that fix has come over to the iOS platform. A second control scheme via virtual joystick was also added.
“Making the virtual joystick as good as it can be was a big concern. Overall, though, Apple’s system is very nice to work with in porting the game over, and the functionality of the touch screen is really ideal for Scribblenauts.”
We also wanted to know Slaczka’s opinion about the future of handheld gaming. This is a pretty amazing transitional time between the traditional handheld console market, with gaming-centric features, and the new smartphone world, with games only one of the features included with a device. What does this veteran of the traditional handheld console market (5th Cell also developed Drawn to Life and Lock’s Quest, two highly regarded game releases) think of the current trend?
His initial response is fairly non-committal, which makes sense. Don’t want to burn any bridges, right? “Well, all of this generation’s handheld consoles are not even to market yet, so I think it is much too early to call any clear winner,” he said. “The 3DS is still in the early stages of its lifecycle, and we can only speculate on the PS Vita, but I’m really interested to see how they both hold up as their game selections mature.”
Continuing, Slaczka says, “However, I really like the iOS setup. It is concise and accessible to anyone who wants to develop for it, which has really changed handheld development. We will definitely be working more on this platform.” Great news, indeed. When asked about future plans, of course, he was less than forthcoming. We can only continue to keep our eye on this developer into the future, and will share details as we find them out right here.