Drawn to Life – NDS – Review

If there was one DS game this year
that really had me expecting great and unusual things, it was Drawn To Life,
an original platformer title from THQ. While it only lives up to part of the
hype, drawing aspects are really great and hopefully will be more strongly
implemented in future iterations – I smell a Wii-quel!

What sets Drawn to Life apart from
any other platformer/action adventure though is the creation aspect. You play
the stylus-wielding role of “The Creator” as you draw in the “Book of Life” and
even design, draw, and paint the main hero. The game is technically very
impressive; when I first drew in my character and saw my “Shadow” as a fully
animated character in the story, I was impressed.


As the game progresses and you begin
your platforming journey collecting pages from the “Book of Life,” freeing
Raposa prisoners (the species in the story that you’re are helping), and
destroying shadow goo you’ll draw in various objects in the world on the fly.
For instance, maybe you approach a chasm; the game will then say you need to
draw a fluffy cloud to carry you across. A painter’s palate will appear with a
little template in the general shape of the cloud, which you proceed to color
in.  While you can’t draw anything exactly in the beginning (only within
the lined template), creative minds out there will have no problem exploring
within the limits.

While that is the shining part of
the game, Drawn To Life is not so brilliant when it comes to the actual
gameplay part. The game switches between a 2-D top-down overworld map and 2-D
platforming levels. The platforming itself is inherently uninspired, as opposed
to the creation aspect, and for the older gamer it’s pretty boring. There is
coin collecting and hidden hearts scattered throughout, but you’ll be racing
through these clichés to get to the next interesting cloud or bobsled that
you’ll have to draw. Obviously the developers were focused on the creation
mechanic, and not the platforming. But it’s simple for a reason, and that brings
me to my next point…

This game is for kids. The
bubblegum-color scheme, simple mechanics, and monosyllabic dialogue all reflect
the puerile direction of THQ with this title. While I was playing it, I couldn’t
help but wonder how awesome this game would be if the story was more mature, let
you alter levels with the touch of a stylus, and featured New Super Mario
. graphics. But, the younger gamer will absolutely love this game. The
story plays like a Saturday morning cartoon and will instantly be engaging for
that age group (if you’re 40 and consider that to describe your age group, more
power to you).


The touch screen is used very
effectively to draw, but during the platforming you are required to keep your
thumbs on the buttons while also “scratching” out the shadow blobs. It’s awkward
and almost impossible to do without reconfiguring your grip somehow. Most
younger gamers, and this game is intended for them, will get sheer joy just from
doodling on the touch screen.

In the following breakdown of
Gameplay, Concept, etc… it is very important to not just read the numbers. This
game does different things; some well, some not so much. Drawn To Life is
strongly recommended for younger gamers, but because it didn’t appeal to me as
an experienced gamer (reflecting the readership of this gaming site) I’m giving
it an average score.

Review Scoring Details
to Life

Gameplay: 7.0
The drawing mechanic excels and is the highlight of the game; however, the
platforming is excruciatingly simple.

Graphics: 7.0
Simple, cartoony graphics. Having your drawings animate, though, is very

Sound: 8.0
Very solid soundtrack and effects.

Difficulty: Easy

Concept: 7.0
Again, the concept of creating pieces of the game is fantastic; the platforming
is the low point, however. 

Multiplayer: N/A
Aside from multi-card sharing, this game has none.

Overall: 7.5
This game has a very solid presentation and is absolutely perfect for younger
gamers seeking an animated coloring book; however, I think older gamers will be
somewhat disappointed. Hopefully THQ can continue this great new franchise with
some more interesting uses of the creation mechanic.