VG REVIEW: Drawn to Life
“DRAWN TO LIFE”
THQ, for Nintendo DS, rated E for Everyone (mild cartoon violence), $29.99.
“Drawn to Life” has an utterly winning premise: You hand-draw the main character of the game, using the DS touch screen to configure and color a pixilated hero.
That’s not all, though. You’ll also be asked to design and color various machines, platforms, clocks, clouds and more, putting your own artistic stamp on the game.
It’s a great idea, because theoretically you’d have added incentive to see the game through to the end because you had a hand in its creation.
Unfortunately, the game quickly shows itself to be little more than your average platformer, with the hand-drawn aspects serving as little more than a gimmick.
The plot centers on a little village populated by sickeningly cute critters called Raposas. The village has fallen on hard times, surrounded by darkness and threatened by an army of evil shadow monsters. Beseeching their creator (that would be you) for aid, their prayers are answered in the form of the afore-mentioned hero you create.
From then on we’re in “Super Mario Bros.” territory, as your hero must collect items like coins, rescue lost Raposas and butt-stomp the various enemies that attempt to keep him from his appointed rounds.
Some variation is provided in having to swipe the screen with your stylus to get rid of shadow goop, and there are the aforementioned drawing bits, but these feel like add-ons and ultimately don’t influence the game play significantly.
It’s not that the levels themselves are dull — they’re not — so much as they’re overly familiar. You’ve played this type of game before, many, many times.
“Drawn” is ultimately too restrictive in its execution. Why, for example, does my rocket have to look like a rocket? Or my ray gun a ray gun? Why can’t I make it any shape I want? Why doesn’t my drawing palette give me more color and shape options? Why can’t I use my painting powers to attack or defend, as I can in “Okami,” a much better game centered around similar notions.
Despite my reservations, the core idea of “Drawn to Life” is strong, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel. One, perhaps, where the initial premise is a jumping-off point and not an end in itself.
Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007
Labels: video games