A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game has only mild cartoon violence, about on par with what kids will see in Mario games. Players stomp on baddies and shoot things to make them disappear. At its heart, this game is a platform puzzler in which you get to draw your own main character and loads of other stuff. But don't be afraid if you can't draw: The game helps you if you need it, and even the simplest drawings end up animating well.
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What's it about?
In DRAWN TO LIFE on the Nintendo DS, you draw your hero that comes to life in a world you help create. The game revolves around saving a village of creatures called Raposas from the evil doings of a character named Wilfre. He has torn pages from the Raposas' Book of Life, the source of all things that exist in their world, and scattered them across the land, causing things like the moon, sun, and stars to disappear. You become the Raposas' hero and Creator.
You use the DS stylus to draw within a template and color your creations, and your drawing is incorporated into the game and animated. You'll be asked to draw more than 150 things that become part of this world, including walking platforms, weapons, and vehicles. The game is also a side-scrolling platform puzzler with lots of moving platforms to navigate, coins to collect, and baddies to defeat. As Raposa Village comes back to life and expands, you will find Mini games to play, including snowball fights and wishing wells.
Is it any good?
What makes this game so good for kids is that they are in control of what their gaming world looks like and they can modify or customize it as they play, becoming vested in the outcome of the game. They also can influence the mood of the game with their drawings. A dark ominous cloud creates a feeling of foreboding, whereas a bright blue cloud creates a happier place to play. You can also create a silly mood by drawing zany things.
While the opportunity to draw so much of the game makes Drawn to Life special, you don't need to be an artist to play. The animation is quite good, no matter whether you draw a stick figure or a detailed puppy dog. You get to watch your hero walk, run, and jump throughout the game. This is the most unique Nintendo DS we have seen to date -- don't miss this one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes this game special. How did your ability to design your main character affect your involvement in the game? Did you ever go back and redraw something because you didn't like the mood created by your earlier drawing? Would this game have been better if you could draw more things? What would you like to see in a sequel?
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