Drawn: Trail of Shadows

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Pretty game melds hidden object, adventure, and puzzle play.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game rewards determined players who patiently scour scenes for clues and then amalgamate them into solutions to complex puzzles. It associates the use of logic and reason with a sense of satisfaction.

Positive role models

Players assume the role of a person who journeys into living paintings in an attempt to catch an evil wizard scurrying through watercolor worlds. This hero does not speak and is not represented via an avatar, but your in-game actions suggest he is curious, resolute, and selfless.

Ease of play

The point-and-click interface is highly accessible. The hidden object portion of the game isn’t particularly challenging, but many of the puzzles are. If you can’t solve a puzzle on your own, optional text hints provide good clues as to next steps without spoiling anything. 

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Drawn: Trail of Shadows is a downloadable game for Windows PCs and Mac computers that combines aspects of hidden object, adventure, and puzzle games. Content is pretty tame -- there’s nothing spookier than a trip through a large, dark tree hollow, and sexuality and profanity are completely absent -- but the tasks and puzzles can be pretty tricky, even for adults well acquainted with games of this type. Its challenging nature means it will likely prove unsuitable for many kids, especially those who become easily frustrated. However, they may enjoy playing cooperatively with a parent.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension

Math

  • patterns
  • geometry

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction

Self-Direction

  • work to achieve goals

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Pastel colored visuals are beautiful and often highly interactive, and puzzle lovers will find these conundrums challenging yet fair. A great game for a parent and child to explore together.

Learning Approach

It's essentially a collection of clever brainteasers. Problems range from visual to mathematical, from geometric to textual. Kids need to apply logic and reason throughout.

Support

If you can’t solve a puzzle on your own, optional text hints provide good clues as to next steps without spoiling anything. External support is limited, though the game does have a moderately vocal online community of fans. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension

Math

  • patterns
  • geometry

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction

Self-Direction

  • work to achieve goals

Kids can learn about puzzle solving in this challenging collection of brainteasers. They will reason out solutions to dozens of different problems that range from visual to mathematical, from geometric to textual. The game challenges kids to apply logic throughout, both to discover and define problems and to noodle out solutions. Drawn: Trail of Shadows cleverly incorporates logical thinking into a story and provides kids with many ways to practice reasoning skills. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Kids say

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What's it about?

Players journey through the pages of a storybook while exploring a rich fantasy world composed of beautiful paintings in DRAWN: TRAIL OF SHADOWS. Their goal is to find an evil wizard who is after a boy possessed of the power to turn pictures into portals. Strange creatures such as fawns and talking shrubs offer riddles that force players to examine their environments for clues and hidden objects. Some of these objects are necessary to solve certain puzzles, many of which involve coloring or painting in clever ways. Many of the puzzles are set in a picture book filled with moving elements with which players interact by pulling paper tabs. Hints are provided via optional text clues, and typically provide useful guidance without spoiling the puzzles.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Drawn: Trail of Shadows expertly melds several types of traditional casual game activities, including seek-and-find scenes, adventure-style investigative tasks, and clever puzzles that require a bit of thought. The pastel colored pictures are beautiful and often highly interactive, and the puzzles, while challenging, are fair and rewarding. One of our favorites involves selecting stencils to create layers of color on eggs in an effort to identically reproduce complex pictures. Such conundrums require both creativity and reasoning skills and prove quite engaging.

Note, though, that while the fantasy characters and storybook settings may seem geared for young children, the game’s difficulty makes it an experience better suited for slightly older kids and grownups. They may not always be easy, but solving these puzzles can make for a highly satisfying gaming experience. This is a perfect game for a parent and child to explore together.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of perseverance and the rewards it offers. Do you appreciate something more if you have to work hard for it? Do you feel a greater level of satisfaction if the obstacles you overcome are truly challenging?

  • Families can also discuss the appeal of fantasy games. The notion of being able to step into a painting is patently silly, and yet it sets our minds to wondering at the possibilities. Why do we like to imagine such far-fetched things? Do you think this is something you’ll ever outgrow?

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Mac
Price:$9.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:Big Fish Games
Release date:October 1, 2011
Genre:Puzzle
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Fairy tales
ESRB rating:NR for NA (Mac, Windows)

This review of Drawn: Trail of Shadows was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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