Drawn to Life Review
By Gary Kearney
I like sports games although I can't say I'm very good at sports in real life. Same goes for first person shooters and I can only guess that I'm not good at really shooting people, not do I care to find out. I really dig Guitar Hero although I have no musical talent. For the most part my abilities in real life doesn't hamper my enjoyment of a game. That changes somewhat with THQ's Nintendo DS release Drawn To Life. To find out why please keep on keeping on...
Drawn to Life is mostly a side-scrolling platformer with the tiniest bit of adventure thrown in. The story is more than run-of-the-mill with an evil seeping into the world and covering it all in darkness. You play the role, more-or-less, of God. The people, or in this case the Raposas, call you Creator and pray to you for help. How can you help them? By using the DS stylus and drawing of course!
It seems that as Creator you haven't been very involved in your creations lives or at least not since your drew up the world in the Book of Life. Maybe you were too busy playing slots or trying to get tickets to a sold out Hannah Montana concert. Whatever the reason while you weren't paying attention some little ink blot of a Raposas decided he could do a better job and snagged the Book of Life and preceded to tear out the pages and scatter them across the world. Then the snot goes off and steals the sun and creates some creepy shadows to help him. So now most of the Raposas have given up hope and have determined that you no longer exist and the whole world gets all depressed and stuff. Finally a little girl prays to you for help and you leap into action. (I was actually a bit put off by all of the "Creator" talk and the heavy handed religious overtones, but I really doubt if most people will see it that way. Just for some reason it was just too in-your-face and too much for me.)
Your first task as the Creator is to create a Hero for the folks. A special design screen comes up where you use the stylus to draw the hero. You can choose to use a few templates as guidelines or just wing it yourself and draw whatever you want. I have negative artistic ability so even with the help of a template my hero looked rather odd. But nevertheless it was something I created, flaws and all, and it was soon romping around the game. And that is the joy to be found in Drawn to Life, what you actually draw ends up being a part of the game. As the game progresses and you gather different pages from the Book of Life you will be asked to recreate what used to be on the pages. Many of the objects you draw become integrated into the world and you interact with them throughout the game. For example, the sun and stars or maybe some sort of gun that shoots snowballs, clouds that you can jump on, a spaceship, or whatever. Draw a spring and you'll be using it to leap higher. Make a rain cloud and it will be used like an elevator in different levels.
Aside from the drawing Drawn to Life is a simple 2D platformer. You go from level to level gathering up lost pages from the Book of Life and in the process save the world from the darkness that covers it. If you've played platformers before than you know what to expect here. You run, jump, use your butt so smash enemies, gather coins, etc. It very old school and some gamers will probably find it nostalgic. There are the traditional snow, underwater, and forest levels with a boss battle at the end of each. None of the levels are what I would call challenging, but then again it's not really suppose to be as it's a game that is undoubtedly aimed for a young audience.
The problem, at least for me, is how much drawing is required. Granted it's pretty obvious from the title, but I'm not good at it and therefore it got a little frustrating to have to keep doing something I was so bad at. It was fun the first few times I needed to draw something and see it in the game, but it did grow old for me. Maybe if the platforming parts were more original I would have had a better experience, but the actual gameplay was just too simple.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 73%. While many gamers may not be drawn to Drawn to Life, the youngsters will probably enjoy seeing their creations in the game and the simple gameplay.