PictoImage Review
PictoImage box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Skonec 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 2, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Guess the Word…Fast!
by Maria Montoro

One of my favorite board games of all times is Pictionary. It allows everyone to be creative by having you draw pictures while your teammates try to guess the word. The kind of doodles and sketches that come out of a Pictionary session are quite unique, to say the least. - What?! Don't you see it? That's obviously a squid! See the head and the tentacles? - Mmm... Whatever...

PictoImage screenshot

PictoImage is based on that same premise, which is what piqued my interest; unfortunately, it doesn't manage to capture the excitement, laughter, and fast-paced rhythm of the board game. I truly expected a bit more from a SEGA game. Too bad! I guess this one is actually targeted for kids, so grown-ups like us won't have much to do with this game, unless we're going to play it with a child for the fun of it. Then it may be worth it.

This DS game offers both single-player and multiplayer modes, though it's obviously intended for more than one person. As an individual, all you can do is take the tutorial and learn how to draw basic and less-than-basic things, from animals to objects and food. There's a decent library with over 100 items, so kids learning how to draw could find it to be entertaining. The problem is there's no way to save your creations in tutorial mode! That's really a bummer, because if you take all that time to learn how to draw, you might as well save it and show it to your friends later…or even to yourself!

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You can also draw a few things and save them in Gallery mode, but there are only ten save slots available, so unless you don't mind to part with your creations after a while and overwrite them, the fun will be over far too soon. I wonder why the developers didn't think of adding a few more save slots so everyone can be happy. Perhaps there isn't enough space in the game cartridge…but I doubt it.

PictoImage screenshot

To top it off, the drawing and coloring tools available in the game are not complete enough. You can choose from a couple different colors, brush width, and that's about it. There's an eraser, a trash can, undo and redo buttons, and a bucket tool, which you have to select every single time you need it, as it defaults right back to the brush as soon as you use it. What a pain! That said, these tools are okay for Pictionary-style gameplay, but not to use the game as an entertaining art creator. Grab pencils and paper for that!

The main single-player activity consists in guessing what people of different genre and ages drew. There are about 300 pictures to guess, but it's not very entertaining. Maybe it would have been cooler if you could submit your own stuff and guess what other players created, although I can see how there would be some issues with people letting their imagination run "too free" while online and harming the wellbeing of the younger ones with foul pictures. I guess it just wasn't meant to be for this game, so you'll have to deal with just playing it with your closer friends.

PictoImage screenshot

Like I said, PictoImage is more fun when played with other people. You can play multiplayer modes with just one game cartridge, though player one has more control than the others and even gets to set the rules. These multiplayer modes are for a minimum of two or three players and can go up to eight. One thing I've never liked about two-player Pictionary is that if the goal is guessing, wouldn't your opponent just draw poorly on purpose so you can't figure out what he or she's doing?

Screenshots / Images
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