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 features the same kind of violence as TV cartoons: Silly creatures pummel, smash, freeze, burn, and electrocute each other. The game has nothing to do with spray painting or tagging; the title is a reference to the unique drawing feature. The game does allow players to express their creativity and draw their own 3-D-modelled creatures.
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What's it about?
In GRAFFITI KINGDOM, players assume the role of Prince Pixel of Canvas Kingdom in his quest to save his family and people from an invasion of demons. He uses Graffiti Power, which has nothing to do with spray painting or tagging but is a tool that allows him to capture demons and create his own. Pixel's fight will take him through three bright, cartoonish worlds with scores of enemies that, when defeated, sometimes leave a collectible card Pixel can use to assume the appearance and powers of the vanquished foe.
Players can use Pixel's Graffiti Power to modify the demons or create new ones. The tool gives gamers access to a relatively easy-to-use 3-D modeling program. As players advance they earn more and more drawing abilities, such as acquiring a pen that can draw patterns or the ability to copy body parts. The drawing feature is very engrossing, and players probably will spend hours perfecting the appearance, attacks, and even sounds of their own demons.
Is it any good?
Graffiti Kingdom overhauls both the gameplay and drawing dynamics of its predecessor with mixed results. The new drawing tool is particularly enjoyable. Unfortunately, that can't save the game's fighting dynamic: It's a button-masher. Whether battling demons in the Canvas Kingdom or fighting a friend's creation, players probably will end up wildly pushing buttons or employing one simple attack ad nauseam, tactics which quickly grow tedious.
The mediocrity of the gameplay parallels the mediocre presentation. The main adventure falls victim to predictable 3-D adventure pitfalls: bad camera controls and lackluster graphics. Add fun but repetitive music and it is hard to escape the impression that this game with a lot of promise suffers from a lack of vision or inspiration on the part of the developers. The game's saving grace is the monster drawing tool, a feature that should inspire visionary creations from gamers themselves.
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