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Scribblenauts is a side-scrolling action game based on puzzles. The goal is to have the character Maxwell overcome obstacles by summoning objects based on a dictionary of more than 20.000 words, partly based on the concept of the real-life game Mad Libs. This is done by writing an object's name on the touchscreen, letter by letter. When the word is recognized, the object spawns in the world, where it can be manipulated or act on its own. This leads to an endless amount of possibilities to progress through the game. For instance, when an item needs to be retrieved from a tree, you could summon a ladder to get it out, a football to hit it, or just a helicopter or an albatross to fly over there. There are also more bizarre examples, such as summoning a time machine, going back in time to fetch a dinosaur egg, make it hatch and then use it in the future to defeat an army of robot zombies. The list also includes weapons, historical people, and even references to popular cultures and internet memes. Profanity and trademarked objects are not recognized. There is also a spelling checker included to offer suggestions.

This game is a logical sequel to the gameplay mechanics of Drawn to Life, an earlier title by 5TH Cell, relying on the same concept of emergent gameplay, where the actual game is more of a toolbox, shaped through the player's interaction and different in each session. During the game Maxwell needs to collect starites. To do this, two to four objects are often summoned at the same time. There are general, slow puzzle levels, but also faster action levels filled with enemies, platforms, switches and traps. Often, the summoned objects and characters need to interact with each other. Players can earn "merits" for not using weapons in a level for instance and finding a more creative approach. When a level is completed, a silver star is awarded and the Free Play mode for the level is unlocked. When the level is then completed three more times, using a different approach each time, a gold star is provided.

By solving puzzles, Ollars are awarded, the game's currency. It can be exchanged for different avatars or visual changes. The game includes a level editor and support for Wi-Fi to share the levels. The existing levels can also be edited and the way certain summoned objects interact with each other can also be modified.


There are no Nintendo DS user screenshots for this game.

There are 6 other screenshots from other versions of this game or official promotional screenshots.

Promo Images

Scribblenauts Screenshot
Scribblenauts Screenshot
Scribblenauts Screenshot
Scribblenauts Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Wordplay" -- Working title
  • "Scribblenauts: Write Anything. Solve Everything." -- Tag-lined title
  • "Scribblenauts: Überlege - Schreibe - Löse" -- German tag-lined title
  • "Scribblenauts: Schrijf 't op en los 't op." -- Dutch tag-lined title
  • "Hirameki Puzzle: Maxwell no Fushigi na Note" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for this game.

Critic Reviews

Gaming Age Sep 23, 2009 A- 91
Game Observer Sep 19, 2009 87 out of 100 87
Game Arena Sep 18, 2009 8.5 out of 10 85
Play.tm Oct 26, 2009 85 out of 100 85
Cheat Code Central 2009 4 out of 5 80
Game Revolution Oct 06, 2009 B 75
Cubed3 2009 7 out of 10 70
videogamer.com Oct 05, 2009 7 out of 10 70
ZTGameDomain Jan 22, 2011 7 out of 10 70
Gamestyle Nov 08, 2009 7 out of 10 70


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1001 Video Games

Scribblenauts appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The developers were accused of racism, as typing in the word "Sambo" would produce what looked like a watermelon on screen. 5th Cell claimed this was simply a coincidence as the word Sambo is an Ecuadorian name for "fig leaf gourd" and the supposed watermelon is actually a gourd.

Japanese version

The Japanese version of the game has summonable cameos of characters from other Konami games, such as Old Snake, Alucard and the Vic Viper.


  • 1UP
    • 2009 - Best Puzzle Game (Editors' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Puzzle Game (Readers' Choice)
  • 4Players
    • 2009 – #3 Best Dexterity Game of the Year
  • AceGamez
    • 2009 - DS Game of the Year
  • game Developers Choice Awards
    • 2009 - Best Handheld Game
    • 2009 - Innovation Award
  • Game Informer
    • 2009 - Best Puzzle Game
  • GamePro
    • 2009 - Best Innovative Game
  • GameShark
    • 2009 - Most Overhyped Game
  • Gamespot
    • 2009 - Best Puzzle Game (Readers' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Original Game Mechanic (Readers' Choice)
  • Gamespy
    • 2009 - Thinking Outside the Box Award
  • GameTrailers
    • 2009 - Best Innovative Game
  • IGN
    • 2009 - Best DS Puzzle Game
  • Machinima (Inside Gaming Awards)
    • 2009 - Most Original Game
Information also contributed by M4R14N0

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Sciere (832062) added Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS) on Sep 13, 2009
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