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 is a basic platform game with mild cartoon violence including karate chopping baddies and stomping on their heads. It's a spin-off of the original video game Drawn to Life with a new SpongeBob SquarePants theme. Players get to draw their own hero, along with vehicles, buildings, furniture, and many other things using an MS Paint-style program and color palette. The game provides templates for players who can't draw as well.
What's it about?
The unique draw-your-own-adventure concept of Drawn to Life was heralded as one of the most creative and ingenious Nintendo DS games to date, and thankfully DRAWN TO LIFE: SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS EDITION retains much of the original's charm while grafting a SpongeBob SquarePants theme over top.
The story begins when a DoodleBob sketch that Patrick has made comes to life and starts wreaking havoc in Bikini Bottom by kidnapping people, creating an army of bad guys, and covering the land in ugly graffiti. Equipped with a pencil of your own, it's your job to clean up Bikini Bottom (by using the stylus to rub out all graffiti you see), stop DoodleBob and his army, and rescue the citizens that have been kidnapped.
Is it any good?
Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition features action-oriented gameplay that involves punching or stomping on bad guys and leaping across platforms to make it to the end of each level. The gameplay itself is basic at best, but, like the original Drawn to Life, where this game really shines is in the way it lets players draw dozens of different objects that become part of the environment. You draw the actual character you get to control complete with animations, as well as furniture, buildings, platforms, vehicles, save points, and extra lives.
It's a shame that the gameplay itself couldn't have been more exciting, but Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition still scores points for sticking true to the original game's spirit –- that of encouraging unbridled creativity and giving players a taste of what it's like to actually design their own video game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the creative objects they were able to draw. Did you stick to what the game asked you to do (i.e. draw a car) or create something whacky and different instead (like a banana with lime-wedge wheels for your hero to ride)? Are you tempted to replay this game and draw all new stuff?
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