5th Cell has brought the second Scribblenauts game to the Wii U with Scribblenauts: Unmasked. 5th Cell has tried to do something different with Unmasked by adding over 2,000 DC characters. With that many characters, I am sure the most hardcore DC fans will have something to get excited about.

I was very impressed how different Unmasked felt from its predecessor, Scribblenauts: Unlimited, and it honestly came as a great relief.  Releasing another Scribblenauts game so soon after the release of Unlimited ran a risk of player fatigue. Obviously Unmasked is still a Scribblenauts game, with most of the normal Scribblenauts features, but the addition of the DC storyline and mechanics finally gives the Scribblenauts franchise a fresh new feeling.

In Unmasked, players once again take control of Maxwell and his magical notebook. This time Maxwell and his sister find themselves sucked into their DC comic and joining forces with some of their favorite DC heroes.

In the beginning, Maxwell and his sister find themselves in Gotham City under the watchful eye of Batman. Understandably, Batman is cautious about this boy and his magical notebook. After some discussion, Batman decides to allow Maxwell and his sister to join his team (because we all know you team with Batman and not the other way around), while they try to gather all the Starites before the evils of the DC Universe find them.  After sometime helping to clean up Gotham, Maxwell runs into his doppelganger, which has teamed up with the Joker to cause all types of problems. It is up to Maxwell to help Batman defeat the Joker and outsmart his doppelganger, who has the same ability to summon objects out of his own notebook.  This doppelganger theme is found throughout the game as Maxwell and the DC heroes try to stop the doppelganger and a variety of villains from capturing the Starites.


Like I mentioned earlier, Scribblenauts does follow a different formula than the norm.  I have not played every single Scribblenauts game, but Unmasked seems to offer a deeper and more intriguing story than the others. The introduction of the doppelganger gives the game a central villain and focus. Adding stories from the DC Universe brings a different and refreshing dynamic.  The game also offers one of the most in-depth encyclopedias about the DC Universe. Players can easily pull up a running index of villains and heroes from the DC Universe to learn more about their backstory, powers, and abilities.

There are three new gameplay mechanics that make Unmasked different from the other Scribblenauts games. The first is the addition of a reputation meter. The game is about heroes and villains. What do all heroes and villains have in common? Reputation, no matter how good or bad. Maxwell’s reputation can be gained by helping solve problems, like a hero needing a disguise or fighting a monster from another dimension. The higher the reputation, the more worlds Maxwell will be invited to visit including The Batcave, Arkham, Metropolis, Oa (oh-uh), and more. Reputation can also be lost by doing wrong or using a word that was already used in the area previously. So no summoning Superman each time a gang of villains or monsters appear. Yes, that is always the easiest thing to do.


The second big mechanics change is the way Maxwell collects Starites. Normally Starites were achieved by helping solve puzzles or people’s issues around the Scribblenauts world, which led to collecting hundreds of Starites in a game. In Unmasked, Maxwell only collects a Starite after a battle with the Doppelganger and a super villain. This normally only happens once a world.

The third change, and possibly the most important, is the ability to return to a world to continue to fight the good fight. In past Scribblenauts games, once all “missions” were completed in a level, that level was finished. Unmasked gives the player the ability, and a reason, to go back to a previous world in order to gain a stronger reputation. Each new visit to a world offers a totally different experience. The missions that were available during the first visit will be different during the second. This gives each world a new feeling every time it is visited. I am not sure if this gives the game a higher replay value or makes up for smaller and fewer levels.


Hero Creator

It wasn’t like Scribblenauts didn’t have enough to do with over 2,000 DC characters, but it also allows the player to create their own hero. Similar to the Object Editor in Scribblenauts Unlimited, Hero Creator allows the player to develop their own hero to share and download online. Ever wanted to take Batman and give him Aquaman’s powers (fish talking?) or change Superman’s Iconic Red and Blue into Pink and Yellow? Boom, I did that! A variety of combinations, powers, weapons, and clothing can be used to create your ultimate hero. Or just anger every DC fan by making Batman a Kryptonian and ultimately a million times better than Superman. The only glaring difference between the 3DS and Wii U versions of Unmasked is the lack of the Hero Creator on the 3DS. 

At the core, Scribblenauts: Unmasked is the typical, and possibly tired, Scribblenauts formula. The addition of the DC Universe is what makes this game enjoyable. To have another Wii U Scribblenauts so soon is a little tiring, but making Kryptonian-Batman makes it all worth-while.


Kryptonian-Batman art link.