Hands-on at E3: Scribblenauts Unmasked

Considering the Scribblenauts series is published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, having the DC Comics characters show up to help or hinder Maxwell was probably inevitable. It’ll soon be a fait accompli as Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure is set for release later this year, and even the early version on the E3 floor was dripping with comic geek goodness.

Like the previous games in the series, Scribblenauts Unmasked asks you toaid Maxwell, a boy with a magical notepad. He can bring to life whatever you can think up for him, enabling him to solve puzzles and complete quests. If he needs to climb up a tree, for instance, you can type ladder into the notepad interface, and voila, he can climb.

Scribblenauts Unmasked

That’s a really mundane example, since the notepad can recognize tons of items and can even modify them with adjectives. The twist this time is that Maxwell’s notepad can summon characters from the full scope of the DC Universe. Or maybe that should be universes, because the number of heroes and villains in the game’s library is truly jaw-dropping.

A big part of the fun during my hands on (and stylus on, as I was playing a Wii U build) time was just thinking up characters to see if they were in there. All-Star Squadron stalwart Tarantula? Yep. Obscure Batman villain Magpie? Sure. The Dark Knight himself? Child please! There are over a dozen different versions of Batman, including Pirate Batman, Batman Beyond and the Knightfall Azrael Batman.

Heroes are completely customizable, which I discovered by putting Hal Jordan’s head on Batman’s body. He may no longer have been the world’s greatest detective, but at least he could still kick butt and master his fear. When I dropped in the Penguin, they started battling it out, and I quickly gave Maxwell a flaming chainsaw so he could help out.

 Scribblenauts Unmasked

Just to make sure justice would prevail, I also summoned Cyborg to help out. When I found out that you can do whole teams, I called upon the Teen Titans (New 52 version, as there are several lineups in the game), and I tried to get Darkseid into the fray but ended up crashing the demo unit.

No matter, as it was more than enough time to see how fun this is going to be for longtime comics fans. The more you know your DC, the more you’ll appreciate it. There are quests to complete and randomized puzzles to solve, but just trying to stump the game will be a hoot. And just so Maxwell doesn’t get left out, there are unlockable super hero and villain costumes for him too.

You’ll have to wait for at least a few months to try it out, as the game has only the murky Q3/Q4 release window for PC, Wii U and 3DS. On the plus side, that gives you a great excuse to dig into all those DC back issues. Get to it!