|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 5th Cell||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 10, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
August 20, 2007 - As a platform, the DS continues to generate a lot of innovation in the industry. It has spurred many developers to go the extra mile with game designs in offering up new gaming experiences for players. On any other system Drawn to Life would probably be a mediocre title, but with the DS's touch controls the game is poised to give players a level of unparalleled freedom for creativity and customization. It's the kind of game that can really only be accomplished properly on the DS.
Drawn to Life immediately drops players into the position of "The Creator" who comes to the aid of a small village of cute beings called Raposa. Your job is to rid the realm of the encroaching darkness that manifests in the form of black inky splotches and evil creatures. Using a robust built-in drawing program, players must first create an avatar - the earthy manifestation of their omniscient artistic greatness - which they will control while traversing a combination of side-scrolling action platform levels and a birds-eye-view village environment. From there you will send your hero out into the realm to save the Raposa and wipe out the darkness in four different themed worlds comprised of 60 sub-levels. Time in-between missions will be spent interacting with NPCs in the village, which serves as a hub for the platform levels.
The gameplay styles used in the game will be familiar to many. The side-scrolling platform areas have a distinctly Mario Bros. feel to them, while the village area is visually very similar to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES. Aside from bashing baddies and cleaning up inky muck, players will collect coins and other items which can be used to unlock various features.
While some DS titles have previously incorporated drawing elements into the game, none have done so quite as extensively as this one. They key concept in Drawn to Life, surprisingly enough, revolves drawing things and then watching them come to life. Drawing various elements in the game is half of the fun, and playing the actual game, which is populated with your animated creations, is the other half. A total of 150 images, including land features and equipment for your hero, among other things, can be drawn and utilized throughout the game. At times you will be called on to create clouds, trees, houses, vehicles, and much more. Other times you will be drafting items such as flippers, swords, wings, underwater breathing apparatus, and even a blaster for your hero to use. How you choose to draw each item is left completely up to the imagination. It appears you will have the option to go back and edit both your hero and your drawings often. Players will also be able to wirelessly swap and share their creations with others.
Developers 5th Cell have likened the imbedded drawing program to a "fun version of Photoshop." The user-friendly interface features swappable parts, 25 different color palettes, several drawing tools, pixel-by-pixel editing, and a huge number of stamps which can be unlocked by playing the game. At any point you can call up the editing program and make adjustments to any of the things you've drawn. In drawing mode the stylus is used exclusively, but in the rest of the game a simple classic d-pad and a/b button control scheme is implemented. The game's colorful, simple graphic style, basic controls, and light-hearted content should make this a great casual title for all ages. Even so, the extreme level of customization should be equally appealing to adults and nefarious-minded individuals as well. The game is slated for release in September, but it's already tugging at the creative strings of DS owners.
CCC Freelance Writer