The original Drawn To Life was a game that managed to turn heads by allowing players to draw their own characters and weapons, among other things.This mode of play was particularly suited to the DS, since the stylus obviously allows for a more natural medium for drawing than the Wii Remote. However, it’s probably fair to say that underneath this novel form of interaction, the game itself was little more than a mediocre platformer, which people were prepared to ignore the first time around.
Unfortunately, this sequel is really just more of the same, and the drawing mechanic really isn’t enough this time, particularly on the Wii, which makes creating your own characters and objects highly inaccurate and frequently frustrating. That’s not to say that there isn’t some enjoyment to be had from seeing your terrible squiggles rendered into the gaming world, but just don’t expect it to look how want it to. If you want, you can simply use the pre-drawn objects that the game offers you, but then that takes away the whole point of the game, and explicitly reveals its shortcomings.
Without the drawing aspect, Drawn To Life would be a decent but fairly unremarkable platformer, with all the usual staples of the genre, such as coin collecting, jumping on enemies’ heads to kill them and so on.
Children will be particularly entertained by the colourful design and the interactive nature, but it’s worth pointing out that some of the puzzle elements and even the platforming itself can be slightly more challenging than you might expect from a title like this.
However, probably the worst thing about this game is the bit that comes between levels, which is kind of like a miniature level in itself, where you have to talk to the residents of a village and take on tasks for them. Although this kind of thing is common in videogames, the way it’s done here is completely pointless and tiresome.
You often have to go from one end of this village to the other to get a task, then you have to go right back to the end you came from to enter the level to complete this mission, and when you’re finished, you have to go right back to other side again to say you’ve done it. It only takes about a minute to get from one end to the other, but during those 60 seconds you’re likely to start questioning your will to live, as you run and jump over the same objects that you’ve been running and jumping over all day long.
In order to break up this monotony, perhaps, the developer threw in a few mini-games, such as basketball and football. These multiplayer games are extremely basic, but this simplicity should appeal to children; anyone older than ten will probably never play them more than once.
All in all, Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter is a reasonable purchase for children, but isn’t worth buying for older gamers.
However, if you or the person you’re thinking of buying this for has DS, then you’re probably better off buying that version, since it’s far better suited to this kind of game.
Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter is out now.