Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Drawn to Life - The Next Chapter [Wii]

Drawn to Life is a platformer with a drawing mechanic that appears both in light puzzles and in decorating your world. The game draws (no pun intended) on a number of other games including flash mini-games you could find on Miniclip. However, I feel that the combination provides an enjoyable and varied single player experience.

The platforming is, on the whole, good. I could gripe about the controls, which don't feel quite as right as Mario. However, the game makes up for it with nice level design that provides a couple of new platform elements mixed in. One of my favourite bits was when you were trying to get down through a maze of trampolines that bounced you up whenever you touched them and you had to use your wings to glide you through. It put a different spin on a mechanic you had been using for the past few levels.

In the game you are invited to draw a number of things. These can be either puzzle elements or elements of the game world. Drawing parts of the world is quite a nice gimmick and makes the world feel your own with your wacky flowers and your bizarre spiders. However, each time you want to draw something, you must sit through a loading screen which really slows down the pace of the game.

You must also draw things to solve puzzles. You won't be stuck on any one of the puzzle for long and quite often they can be beaten using a brute force approach. However, they are quite rewarding. When you draw in to the world, your drawings take on properties based on where you have drawn them. For example, there is one colour where what you draw obeys the laws of physics so you must first build foundations for whatever you need. As I said, they aren't real head scratchers and a lot of the challenge is in the execution but they are still fun.

The game also has some vehicle sequences which are silly but highly entertaining. They require no thinking and minimal skill but they are an absolute blast to play them and provide variation from the platforming.

The single player is respectably long, coming in at about 10 hours. Each level is surprisingly long, normally about 20 minutes. This means that you will feel like you are exploring them. The drawback is, at that length, you never really feel compelled to try and beat your fastest time for them, which reduces the replayability. Each level has loads of coins hidden throughout them and some can be really challenging to get. However, the game doesn't distinguish between the really hard coins and ones that were simply on your path, which means there is no real satisfaction is collecting them.

The game does feature some multiplayer, however it is not worth the time it takes to load. It features 3 almost identical minigames with finicky controls and no replayability. It is a shame the game does not have any co-op, even if it was more like Super Mario Galaxy's as it means the game has virtually no replayability.

Technically this game is acceptable. The long loading screens are a massive pain, and the games graphics aren't going to blow you away. However, it integrates your artwork in to the game well. Sometimes things are a little small and lack the contrast required to make them easily noticeable. The drawing tools are fairly easy to use - even if some of the buttons are a bit small - and provide plenty of options. If you are a perfectionist, there are some things which you will irritate you like not being able to draw a perfect circle.

Overall, this is a really nice game. The lack of decent multiplayer is quite a considerable floor, but the mixture of platforming, puzzle solving and car driving makes for an enjoyable single player that will entertain and challenge most age ranges. The technical floors are a pain, but it is a quality title in many other respects that they can be overlooked.

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