I Need a Hero: The Finale

I Need a Hero: The Finale

Note: I’m in the middle of switching Internet providers, and they never showed up yesterday to activate my new connection. So sorry for the delay. I’m writing on my lunch break. Assuming TWC actually shows up today, tomorrow should go on as planned.

Now to make up for the delay, two Top Threes–one that’s helpful and one just for lawlz.

Top 3 (Probably) Game-Intended Hacks:

3. You can create health potions and medicine with your notepad.

2. Abuse adjectives. While you get zero reputation points for words like “invincible” and “poisoned,” you can consistently rename Maxwell “fast flying regenerating super-strong Maxwell.” Also add the word “flaming” and all of its synonyms to your enemies.

1. Keep conjuring vehicles because they act like armor. When enemies attack, they only hurt your monster truck, not you.

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Top 3 Melodramatic Solutions:

3. Use a fighter jet in a full-frontal attack against a group of ninjas.

2. Then use the same jet to kill an angry cricket., making sure it only ever picks on someone its own size.

1. Give Wonder Woman a submarine to use as a weapon to beat up Cheetah. I thought she would ride around in it, but instead she picked it up and used it like a baseball bat.

After this Scribblenauts, I don’t think I can play another in the series without superheroes. They make the fighting mechanics so much easier. For example in the final battle, the mysterious archvillain clones himself multiple times. With Maxwell’s hand-to-hand combat pretty useless even with a sword, and using any kind of gun or flamethrower only enough for one or two enemies, it’s hard to manage a win. But all you have to do is conjure the members of the Justice League and then hover above them and supervise, avoiding any stray laser beams.

After finally finishing this game, I can say that this installment’s attempt to make it more of a traditional game is the only thing that made it weaker. The implementation of common tasks like escort missions and fetch quests don’t fit with the mechanics. Maxwell’s notebook gives you the power to help everyone without having to hold their hand, literally and figuratively. You can provide citizens with a vehicle that will get them there faster than if you stayed to help them. You can make exactly what the person is looking for instead of going to grab it for them.

The most absurd was when I ran across a guy upset about not having a donut. I made him one and gave it to him only for him to keep complaining about a donut shortage. A few minutes later I came across a bakery who wanted me to deliver donuts to three engineers and finally understood. But the donuts weren’t even special! They looked exactly identical to the ones I had made before. It just doesn’t fit with the game’s logic.

Now I’m sorry this game’s last installment is late and shorter, but I have to go make money. Stay tuned to find out what I decide to play next.

I Need a Hero: Part 3

I Need a Hero: Part 3

I’m back with a vengeance, y’all, you guys, everyone–whichever you prefer.

And to start this time, Top 3 Puns and References:

3. One mission consisted of reaching to top of the flagpole. The reward was called “World 1-1.”

2. After giving an artist a muse, the reward is called, “Paint me like…”

1. The museum forbids “Flash photography.”

Now I don’t know if I’ve built up a better tolerance to the hurricane of dog fur in my house or a fluke to make this cold Monday morning bearable, but I’ve been rocking and rolling all day, The only practical next step was the save the world again and again.

The randomly-generated levels are growing on me. I find myself constantly resetting the homeworlds to get more reputation. With only one story mission per location, there are endless possibilities that are feeling less like a completionist’s nightmare and more like an a former arts-school kid’s dream. So far the missions only feel repetitive if I stick to a particular solution for everything (i.e. flamethrower, black hole, Cthulhu). The only constant trick I try to use is adding the adjectives “fast” and “flying” to Maxwell. Otherwise the worlds have so much backtracking that not being able to take shortcuts adds to the tedium; also Maxwell acts like his shoes are made of molasses and maple syrup.

The single story missions also make the game have that weird set-up of many open-world games. Here I am arriving in a foreign universe after receiving an alert that people were in danger, and at my briefing with the local superheroes, they tell me I can come help right away…or whenever you feel like it. No big deal. The havoc is on pause until you get bored with the odd jobs around town. Scribblenauts is definitely not a franchise based in any kind of realism, so it really doesn’t affect my opinion of the game. It is just a little jarring at the beginning of each new world.

It is how often fulfilling an NPC’s request causes more harm than good. Like last week when I mentioned the seal turning into a sea monster, this kind of problem occurs more often than not. What’s weirder is that you only earn reputation points for the first task. All you get for saving the citizens’ lives after you unknowingly unleash terror on the city is good karma and maybe avoiding the death of a quest giver.

The hardest missions are those that make it impossible to be creative and still win. Three citizens were suffering from a nondescript plague, and you to cure them. I tried just deleting the adjective “sick” from them, but this workaround wasn’t, well, working. The only solution I could come up with after that was giving them all a cure. I had to sit and try different synonyms for “cure” to solve the problem. “Medicine” and “vaccine” were the other winning words, but I’m hoping I don’t run into one with even fewer options.

Hopefully I’ll be finished by the time I write on Wednesday. I can’t wait to finish the origin stories. One is Aquaman, and I can’t wait to see what parts they choose to make him sound as heroic as his counterparts. Stay tuned.

I Need a Hero: Part 3

I Need a Hero: Part 3

I’m back with a vengeance with Scribblenauts Unmasked, y’all, you guys, everyone–whichever you prefer.

And to start this time, Top 3 Puns and References:

3. One mission consisted of reaching to top of the flagpole. The reward was called “World 1-1.”

2. After giving an artist a muse, the reward is called, “Paint me like…”

1. The museum forbids “Flash photography.”

Now I don’t know if I’ve built up a better tolerance to the hurricane of dog fur in my house or a fluke to make this cold Monday morning bearable, but I’ve been rocking and rolling all day, The only practical next step was the save the world again and again.

The randomly-generated levels are growing on me. I find myself constantly resetting the homeworlds to get more reputation. With only one story mission per location, there are endless possibilities that are feeling less like a completionist’s nightmare and more like an a former arts-school kid’s dream. So far the missions only feel repetitive if I stick to a particular solution for everything (i.e. flamethrower, black hole, Cthulhu). The only constant trick I try to use is adding the adjectives “fast” and “flying” to Maxwell. Otherwise the worlds have so much backtracking that not being able to take shortcuts adds to the tedium; also Maxwell acts like his shoes are made of molasses and maple syrup.

The single story missions also make the game have that weird set-up of many open-world games. Here I am arriving in a foreign universe after receiving an alert that people were in danger, and at my briefing with the local superheroes, they tell me I can come help right away…or whenever you feel like it. No big deal. The havoc is on pause until you get bored with the odd jobs around town. Scribblenauts is definitely not a franchise based in any kind of realism, so it really doesn’t affect my opinion of the game. It is just a little jarring at the beginning of each new world.

It is how often fulfilling an NPC’s request causes more harm than good. Like last week when I mentioned the seal turning into a sea monster, this kind of problem occurs more often than not. What’s weirder is that you only earn reputation points for the first task. All you get for saving the citizens’ lives after you unknowingly unleash terror on the city is good karma and maybe avoiding the death of a quest giver.

The hardest missions are those that make it impossible to be creative and still win. Three citizens were suffering from a nondescript plague, and you to cure them. I tried just deleting the adjective “sick” from them, but this workaround wasn’t, well, working. The only solution I could come up with after that was giving them all a cure. I had to sit and try different synonyms for “cure” to solve the problem. “Medicine” and “vaccine” were the other winning words, but I’m hoping I don’t run into one with even fewer options.

Hopefully I’ll be finished by the time I write on Wednesday. I can’t wait to finish the origin stories. One is Aquaman, and I can’t wait to see what parts they choose to make him sound as heroic as his counterparts. Stay tuned.

I Need A Hero: Part 2

I Need A Hero: Part 2

To start, my top three unpredictable encounters:

3. After trying many weapons to take down a Tyrannosaurus Rex conjured by my doppelganger, a meteorite caused its demise because science.

2. While trying to use an already-existing plane to destroy a lighthouse, I used adjectives to modify it. Sadly, using “weaponized” did nothing but tape a sword to the side of it. Setting the plane on fire and sending myself on a suicide mission did the trick though.

1. After a seal said he was thirsty, I stuck him in a bathtub. He then morphed into a sea serpent. An angry sea serpent, as the game specified.

Now that I’ve gotten a laugh in to soothe my Monday headache, let’s get down to business. I mean, playing. I mean…let’s just move on. If only putting Magikarp in water made him that strong that fast.

What makes this installment different from past Scribblenauts‘ games is that the quests and problems are procedurally-generated. While this made me initially feel like I wasn’t getting anything done–if you die, the world resets with new objectives–the game is set up to make the infinite possibilities feel necessary. See, only the home worlds of Batman, Superman, and the Green Lantern are accessible without using in-game currency, or reputation points. Each world has its own kind of points, meaning you have to consistently play in each to be able to progress.

The initial missions are what you would typically expect out of Gotham, Metropolis, and Oa. Batman fights the Joker. Superman deals with Lex Luther. The Green Lantern fights Sinestro and his minions. But to me, the most fun I have had so far has been with the origin stories. Ignoring the calls for help for locked areas of the DC Universe because I’m an unfeeling miscreant, I went and played through Batman’s and Superman’s coming-of-age tales. Each goes through the loss of their parents, their call to action, their eventual acquirement of the superhero identity. Despite predictable and what is probably the most linear part of the game, I loved the interactive storytelling of comic book classics.

What was frustrating was when the game’s punishment for a lack of creativity–half the reputation points–collided with the linearity of the stories. For the foreshadowing alone, I gave Bruce Wayne a stuffed bat toy when he needed comforting after his parents’ death. Two scenarios later, and I needed to give him something that would inspire him, leaving me with only one option–a bat. After trying everything I could, including a baseball bat, I had to suck it up and take the reduced compensation.

The lack of choices did allow me to act out my own comedy show the same way the open-ended nature of the rest of the game did as well. Batman needed a way to exercise and my repeated attempts to give him a Thighmaster, and Suzanne Somers as an aerobic instructor failed. Baby Superman looked like he was twerking, but the game was not happy with me giving him a stereo. I haven’t played the Green Lantern’s yet, but watch me have to give him his real ring and not a green Fruit Loop.

Now off toto wreak more havoc than every iteration of the Joker combined. Stay tuned.

I Need a Hero: Part 1

I Need a Hero: Part 1

I was so stoked to finally get to start this game, and it is so easy to make shenanigans happen that this post is practically going to write itself.

The game starts with Maxwell and his sister arguing over who is better–Batman or Superman. To settle their argument, they decide to enter the DC universe but are immediately trapped there. They have to go around the different cities created in the DC comics and do good deeds to gain reputation and starites to get back home.

Sadly you get docked points for repeating words which means I can’t summon Cthulhu for everything. Of course it’s not always a good idea. The worst was when I summoned him to fight Sinestro for me, but Sinestro immediately killed him and used his ghost to attack me. My small child body could not handle the wrath of a tentacle monster spirit.

I get a huge kick out of adding adjectives to Maxwell to make my own superhero. Whenever I don’t want to bother backtracking, I give him the ability to fly so I can get everywhere more quickly. I did learn the hard way that using the word “invincible” is cheating. By this logic, Superman is a little unfair bastard.

The game doesn’t always follow the logic you would expect in a series with infinite possibilities. I don’t know why, but at the moment Maxwell has a clone running amuck who can also conjure items. To fight him you have to counter whatever he brings to life. He was riding around on a giant wasp, so I summoned a huge can of bug spray–it did nothing. After trying to be clever and it not working, I just resorted to my rotating roster of real weapons to win.

With a game falling solely on the player’s creativity, this installment sometimes has limited possibilities. Along with what I described above, another task was to take a traffic light to a museum. I tried to do more than just carry it but my efforts were futile. I tried to pull it with a dog sled and a tow truck, but the museum didn’t want to spawn for me until I just carried it there. This could be a weird bug, but I don’t know how it happened in the first place.

Also, a little piece of advice–black holes do not discriminate between good and evil. They will devour all.

Now that I have full access to the Batcave, get ready for me trying to steal all of his rich man gadgets to rule the world. Stay tuned.