PictoImage Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

PictoImage Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Guess the Word…Fast!

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!

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?

Luckily, there a few different ways to play that make PictoImage somewhat interesting. There’s a mode called PictoImage for Two where you don’t even need two Nintendo DS in order to play with someone else. All you have to do is draw when it’s your turn and pass the DS to your friend when it’s his/her turn to guess and vice versa.

PictoImage screenshot

The fastest guesser out of the five rounds is the winner. If you rather play each with your DS, you can select Classic Play, Team Play, Picture Race, Grade Play, and Picture Pass. These modes are available in the Multiplayer section of the game. The goal of the game is the same, but some modes let you play with partners, others will have you cooperate to draw and guess as fast as possible in order to help Penzel to reach the goal. In Grade Play you’ll be awarded scores depending on your guessing speed. Finally, Picture Pass tests your teamwork abilities by making everyone work on the same picture till it’s completed. The last person will have to try to guess what the word is.

And…that’s all there’s to PictoImage, pretty much. In the Extras menu you can enter up to 50 of your own words. This may add some spice to the game if there’s stuff you and your friends like to chat and laugh about. Imagine if you were to add the names of all your teachers and then someone gets to draw the teacher and the other has to guess! I can see this part of the game adding more excitement and complicity to the formula, equaling a bigger dose of fun. If they allowed you to enter more than 50 words, you could even use it to play in another language! It would be a good way to refresh your memory and enhance your vocabulary knowledge.

The visuals in the game, which I didn’t mention yet, are okay. It has a somewhat childish look that may not be appealing for everyone. It’s part of the reason why the game seems like it was made for kids. You’ll find cute drawings, crayons, colors, and a simple menu interface. There’s really not much to it. Same with the music; there’s a silly tune you’ll hear over and over while in the menus, and a couple others you’ll hear during gameplay. They’re too simple and just continue to loop throughout the game.

If you’re a parent thinking about picking up this game for your kid, I think you may be on the right track if you just want your kid to be creative, learn how to draw, share something with his friends, etc. However, it may not be as exciting for them as playing MegaMan, LEGO StarWars, or Animal Crossing, so you may have to give it some thought.

As in most cases, they get the job done. PictoImage looks fine but somewhat childish. 3.9 Control
Drawing with the stylus is easy, and word recognition works well. Selecting the paint can every time gets annoying. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Simple tunes get repetitive, plus they are also a bit childish. 3.5

Play Value
Fun for kids, but not so much for adults. Guessing words is boring, but drawing is fun.E

3.2 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Battle it Out in a Match of Wits: Fun multiplayer modes pit you against your friends in an intense battle. Eight different modes ensure the party never stops.
  • Challenge Your Friends with the Ad Hoc Download Feature: Party it up with PictoImage – you only need one copy of the game for eight friends to join in the fun.
  • Enhance Your Skills with Practice Mode: Featuring tips and tricks to help improve your game. Over ninety different practice examples to choose from guarantees you’ll be the quickest on the draw.
  • Show Off Your Masterpieces with the Picture Gallery: Become a regular Picasso using the gallery feature. Save your drawings to show off to your friends. It’s like having a digital sketch book in your pocket.

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