When you've already adorably illustrated pretty much every conceivable object in the known universe for your word-based puzzle game, where do you go from there? 5th Cell, the developers behind the much-loved Scribblenauts series of games, which began their life on the DS before moving across to the 3DS and Wii U, think they have the answer, as their next game will ditch Maxwell's colourful world in favour of the parallel, superhero-filled DC Universe.
Following on from Scribblenauts Unlimited, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure sees permanent protagonist Maxwell and his sister Lily somehow manage to get transported to the DC universe via his magical notebook. Following a somewhat similar path to the previous games, it'll then be up to you to solve a number of puzzles by summoning a variety of common or garden items and objects to help you out. Summoning objects is as simple as typing in the name of the object in your magic book, at which point it'll be instantly summoned into your world - from conjuring a ladder to help a cat down from a roof to magicking a fire-breathing, rideable, flying tomato just for fun.
Apparently the game will have over 2,000 different DC characters you can summon, with pretty much every imaginable variation included in that figure – such as 33 different Batmans (or should that be Batmen?) and a whopping 130 Green Lanterns, including a sentient planet called Mogo. Each of these characters have their own abilities, and each comic book-specific person or object has their own biography to read, letting you in on the DC lore. Even the areas you visit have been modelled on the places you'll find in the comic books, letting you take in the sights and sounds of a Scribblenauts-ified Bat Cave, or the Green Lantern's headquarters. The DC-ified objects also interact a bit differently, too - while in your bog-standard Scribblenauts game summoning a dog and a cat will end up in a furry pursuit, if you summon the Red Lantern superhero cat Dex-Starr, he'll start punching the poor pooch instead.
The game also comes with a hero creator, which lets you mix and match various parts of famous super heroes to make your own character, which will also be shareable online - we give it a week before you can download your own Scribblenauts Iron Man, Hulk and Spiderman. With Scribblenauts being published by Warner Bros. (who also own the rights to DC) we're imagining that making your own characters will be the only way to get your virtual Marvel fix for now – although if Lego can do both Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes, perhaps we'll be in for a Marvel-ified Scribblenauts sequel too?
But while we're undoubtedly incredibly excited for the new game, it does raise a few questions over what's going to happen to the last game in the series, Scribblenauts Unlimited? Originally set to launch alongside the Wii U, and published by Nintendo, Scribblenauts Unlimited was mysteriously - and indefinitely - delayed just before release in the UK and Europe, despite launching in the US and Australia. With the game now simply down as TBA at most retailers, and as a game that would undoubtedly have a huge amount of appeal to the casual, family audience that Nintendo apparently wants to attract with the Wii U, will we ever see Scribblenauts Unlimited on our shelves, or will Nintendo simply let it fall by the wayside?
On the bright side, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure is set to be another Nintendo console exclusive, currently scheduled for a release this autumn on the 3DS and Wii U. With possibilities of similarly hidden Nintendo characters dancing in our brains – Bat-Link and "Super" Mario anyone - and still smarting from having come so close to, yet just missed out on Unlimited, this has jumped straight to the top of our most wanted. Why not check out the trailer below, for what we really think should be called Scribblenauts Unmouthed: