Scribblenauts Remix for iOS Proves the Pen is Mightier than the Sword (or Zombie Dinosaur)

Originally released in September 2009 for Nintendo DS, the first game in the Scribblenauts franchise was a hit — in fact, it was the number one best-selling DS game that year from a third-party publisher. The secret to its success: creativity. Scribblenauts is an unexpected combination of the platforming and puzzle genres. Players must solve levels by creating objects using natural language.
The game’s protagonist, Maxwell, can ride a polka-dot robot giraffe while shooting a laser, if that’s what players choose to type in. Now the franchise is on iOS, and this might just be its finest moment.

Scribblenauts Remix combines levels from the first game in the series, Scribblenauts, and its sequel, Super Scribblenauts. It also features levels that are entirely new for this iOS release. The overall goal in the game is to collect stars in each of the 40 levels. As Maxwell, players can run left to right in the levels and jump using screen touches and swipes, but pretty much any other actions, such as climbing, flying, and so on, require that players interact to actually create the means by which this is possible. For example, if the star is on a high platform, players can use the on-screen keyboard to type in “ladder” to create the object and then climb it. Or they could type “jetpack” and fly up to get it. Or “pterodactyl” to have one appear and fly them up.

Some of the levels require more specific approaches. One early example asks players to provide a teacher with the things they need to start their class. In this case, players have to create books, desks, chairs, paper, pencils, a blackboard, and so on in order to earn the level’s star. Some of the levels, especially as the game progresses, take some serious creativity to complete, often involving several steps and outside-the-box thinking.

In addition to the pre-designed levels, the game features a sandbox mode that allows players to play around with the game’s huge vocabulary to create some truly wild things. Scribblenauts Remix is one of the first iOS 5 games, taking advantage of iCloud to synchronize the game’s state between devices. Since it’s a universal app, players can stop at one point on their iPhone and pick right up from there on their iPad, for example.

Scribblenauts Remix is a collaboration between developer 5th Cell and publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which also published the first two games in the series. 5th Cell, headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., was founded in 2003 and has primarily focused on handheld titles. Its first, SEAL Team 6, was released on mobile phones by THQ Wireless. It went on to developer two original titles, Drawn to Life and Locke’s Quest, for Nintendo DS. 5th Cell is entering the world of console development with its 2012 title, Hybrid, for Xbox Live Arcade. Started by Joseph M. Tringali, Jeremiah Slaczka, and Brett Caird, the company is privately funded.

Selling for $4.99 on the App Store, Scribblenauts Remix has made the top 10 paid apps list since release and currently resides at No. 18. The title is also on the top grossing chart at No. 11. The title does not feature in-app purchases, and neither 5th Cell or Warner Bros. have announced any plans for downloadable content.

You can follow Scribblenauts Remix’s progress using AppData, our tracking service for mobile games and developers.