Imagine getting the chance to design your own town, right down to the appearance of the buildings, but then having the drawing tools not quite sensitive enough to make your dream a reality. LeapFrog LeapTV: Mr. Pencil Presents DoodleCraft has so much promise. Finally, we see a game for younger kids where they can roam freely, take on quests, and create their own environments. Brilliant. But the lack of fine control inherent in the system and the clunky drawing tools keep things from becoming truly masterful. The first challenge comes from using the thumbstick or, far worse, the light pointer to draw on the screen. It's hard to be accurate, even for an adult. But it's also slow going when you're trying to fill in a large shape. There's no paint bucket for quick-filling areas with patterns, and it's a major flaw.
What kids will love are the tools that allow you to shake on glitter or paint splotches, as well as the tool that can rapid-fire all the stickers they've collected. If you don't have a budding Picasso on your hands, chances are they won't really care if their artwork is playfully abstract because it's still pretty cool to watch the virtual cardboard pieces with your designs origami-fold themselves into a building on-screen. And the motion games, though not all that accurate, are still fun. There's a sort of strange grown-up humor among the residents of this town, and much of their witty banter (such as the coffee shop owner who talks way too fast due too caffeine) and personae will be lost on little ones. It does make everything a bit more palatable for adults. The bottom line is that this creative title sneaks in some learning while doing plenty of entertaining. There's quite a bit to do, and kids can play on and on, removing, adding, or editing as they go. So long as they aren't looking to create the perfect piece of art in each drawing, this is bound to be a favorite title with a lot of replay value.