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Drawn to Life DS

Published by: THQ
Developed by: 5th Cell
Release Date: Out Now

When Nintendo created the DS they allowed game developers to create games that just weren't possible beforehand. Drawn to Life is one such game. Drawn to Life is essentially a platform game which in itself is nothing remarkable. What is remarkable however, is that you get to draw a whole host of things that you can use in the game. The ability to customize so much of the game allows you to inject a little of your personality into the game in a way that no other handheld title has allowed so far.

Drawn to Life tells the tale of the Raposa and their fall from happiness to despair. Their god, the Creator, created their planet, everything they use and even the Raposa themselves. Under the protection of the Creator life was wonderful. One day however, the Creator went away. A rebel Raposa named Wilfre created an army of evil shadows to spread darkness over the land. He tore pages from the Book of Life, which held the designs of the Creator, and hid them in various locations around the world. These pages contained the templates for the stars, the moon, the sun and many other important items and possessions. Without the book, the Raposans began to leave their village.

Before long only a few of the Raposa were left in the village. Most had given up hope of the Creator returning to help them. One of them however, named Mari has called out to the Creator asking him to return and help the Raposans. The Creator hadn't responded to the previous calls for help but on this occasion an answer was forthcoming. The Creator not only agreed to help but also to breathe his essence into a mannequin in order to create a hero to help the Raposa remove the darkness and restore their village to its former glory.

In Drawn to Life you play as the Creator. As the Creator you'll be expected to draw the Raposans' world, draw their forests and even the people themselves. You'll even get to draw the game's hero. Of course being able to draw all of this stuff wouldn't be much fun if the drawing tools weren't a lot of fun to use. Fortunately the game provides a nice selection of drawing tools and a friendly interface that makes drawing the many things in the game fun. You don't have to draw everything from scratch. You can use a template to draw your hero for instance or you can simply choose one of the pre-made characters and edit various details. You can zoom in quite a bit too so that each pixel is actually quite large thus making fine detailing far less problematic than it could have been. Whilst drawing/colouring we did have a few occasions where the accuracy of the stylus wasn't as good as it could have been but these instances weren't that frequent and any mistakes were easily rectified. With many items you do have to draw within a boundary which can be a little limiting at times. Whatever you draw outside this boundary will not be recognised so you have to make sure the whole item details remain within the boundary.

Great drawing and colouring features aside, how's the game play? Well it's a rather decent but simplistic platform game to be honest and there's nothing here that you won't have seen before. The game has been targeted at young children and the ease of the game reflects this quite well. Whilst the drawing aspects of the game might appeal to a wide range of gamers, the ease of the game itself definitely confines the game's appeal to the younger gamer. Even the few side-scrolling sections in the game won't pose much of a challenge to anyone who has played a game of this nature before.

Knowing that you'll be drawing quite a few things in Drawn to Life, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the game might be a little disappointing in regards to the quality of the game's graphics. In fact the game has quite a charming look to it that completely suits the mood of the game. The hero and objects that you draw don't ever appear to be as detailed as the other items in the game. If anything the animations of the objects you draw is disappointing.  The hero you draw moves in a very unnatural fashion and quite a few of the other objects you draw animate in a very limited fashion. This is hardly surprising to be fair and in truth it's a minor disappointment that certainly won't spoil your enjoyment of the game.

Deaf gamers will have no problems with Drawn to Life. There isn't any speech in the game and all dialogue is text only which means you'll have no problems in following the game's events which is certainly good news. The text is placed in dialogue boxes for maximum clarity and you'll need to press the A button or tap the touch screen in order to move the dialogue forward. All tutorial messages are shown in text so you'll have no problem in learning how to play the game. The game manual, while brief, is quite informative and will answer any questions you have regarding the drawing sections of the game.

Ignoring the customization aspects of Drawn to Life and taking the game completely on its platform game merits, it would be fair to say that it's a simplistic title that wouldn't hold much appeal for fans of the genre. Such a judgement would be a harsh one however, and would completely miss the point of the game. The ability to interact with the game in such an unusual way and in a way that wouldn't be possible on any other handheld system is certainly an impressive one. Being able to create your own character and the various items the character uses in the game is something that's going to appeal to many gamers out there (and not just the younger ones although this is primarily who the game is aimed at). In fact you could argue that this isn't a game at all and that's it's more of an interactive colouring book and in this respect the game is not only unique but also enjoyable.

Overall Game Rating 7.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
(Click the letter or here for details)

Drawn to Life might not be the most impressive platform game you've encountered but it's certainly one of the most innovative games I've seen in a while. It should definitely be classed a game that showcases what the DS can do when the developers are imaginative enough.