Sim Scribblenauts: Lexicopolis A-B-City

By Adam Smith on July 30th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

The screenshot shows the precise moment when I gave up for the night. You may be reading this on Wednesday morning but I wrote it late on Tuesday night. The first time I played Lexicopolis, which is free and browser-based, I abandoned my civic duties after a couple of turns but the picture above shows decent progress. Lexicopolis is Urban Scrabble, in that it’s a word game that’s also about building cities. The terrain has a grid of letters and bonus tiles scattered across it and placing a building captures the tiles beneath its foundations. Using the collected words, you must spell new buildings into existence, aiming for a high score. It’s simple but very well executed. But I’ve given up the majoral medallion for now.

Look at the picture again. Do you see the lack of imagination? Two sets of two red cross buildings in the same area (two ‘hospitals’, one ‘clinic’, one ‘doctors’), and the two apartment blocks (one a ‘tenement’, the other a ‘hotel’). There are two universities as well, side by side, which I justified in my head by referring to them as separate campuses of the same institution.

The game rewards variety, halving the score of each repeated word, but there are also bonus points available for careful placement on top of numbered tiles, and balancing leisure, residential and employment structures. That adds some depth to the scoring but I struggled to find enough residential building types and didn’t have any use for my high-scoring ‘x’ tiles.

Go on. Embarass me. List buildings with an ‘x’ in their name. You don’t want to know how many zoos I built.

Lexicopolis is the seed of something magnificent though – or the foundation stone, I should say. Perhaps even the blueprint. The frustration is that so many words, like my ‘Hellmouth’, leave the game drawing a blank. And even those with obvious functions, such as a hospital or fire station, only have points as their purpose.

A Scribblenauts building game though? That would be something. As someone who has always liked the idea of Scribblenauts more than the execution, Lexicopolis seems like a step in a direction I’d like to see that series take. Management rather than clunky side-scrolling interactions. Imagine if these buildings produced goods and people, if they performed basic actions in the world and the city hummed like a machine.

It doesn’t. But Lexicopolis is an entertaining browser game and I hope it grows from a settlement into a city.

Via Games We Care About.

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18 Comments »

  1. wu wei says:

    I could’ve sworn RPS covered this 12+ months ago when it first appeared but I appear to be wrong.

  2. Sareband says:

    Tried Sweatshop, no go. Tried to make lemonaid; Sweetshop, also no. And then, SweetShoppe. Still no. Making cities is harder than I thought.

    • Porcelain Avenger says:

      I was only mildly disappointed by the lack of SWEATSHOPs, but when I couldn’t build a SEAPORT to import tea or a TEASHOP to sell it in I was made mildly more disappointed.

      • ribby says:

        Teashops aren’t really a thing though… cafe works. It’s quite American in many ways (mall works but flats/block of flats doesn’t. Also just put port and it works.

  3. bad guy says:

    I found SHIT in the middle OLL

    • Gilead says:

      Sounds pretty realistic based on most of the cities I’ve visited.

  4. CKScientist says:

    I was surprised to find ‘Arcology’ is an option.

    I found that finding entertainment and work buildings is easy, but finding different kinds of houses is hard.

    • ribby says:

      Me too! I’m having to get really imaginative now- igloo, teepee, tent, log cabin, tree house (these all work)

      EDIT: I now have a few people living in a cave!!

      • ribby says:

        Part of me wants to build a police station and a fire station but I already have enough jobs…

    • Baf says:

      I was very pleased to find I could build a maze. Labyrinth also works.

      • Baf says:

        To add to this: what I didn’t notice initially is that the maze and the labyrinth have different graphics. I’m even more impressed now.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    A quick trip to the wikis yielded only ‘Duplex’ and ‘Taxi Station’ for buildings with an x in their name.

    To this I’ll add my own ‘Fixer’, but that could mean a bunch of different things.

  6. JonClaw says:

    snip

  7. valrus says:

    Yay! Happy to be featured on my favorite site. There’s a new version in the pipeline with new buildings, maps, objectives, etc. I have no idea when it’ll be out.

    There aren’t many buildings with X in them currently: just SANDBOX (and some other kinds of BOXes), DUPLEX (and a few other -PLEXes), and REFLEXOLOGIST(S).

    You can leave building suggestions for me here or at Gamejolt. (I’ve got a backlog of about 200-300 buildings that aren’t in the game yet, but people are still coming up with buildings no one else has ever thought of.)