The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When Drawn to Life first hit the scene on the Nintendo DS, players
created their own hero and level elements using the stylus as a drawing
tool. After playing Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter and dealing with
the frustrating inaccuracy of the Wii Remote as a drawing tool, it's
clear the stylus is a far superior choice.
As you traverse worlds
in The Next Chapter you come across easels that open the game's
drawing program after a slow load. In this mode you're encouraged to
hold the Wii Remote as you would a paintbrush; however, doodling with
no direct contact to the surface on which you're drawing is as
difficult as it sounds. Creating something as simple as the sun
(basically a yellow circle) was a free-hand nightmare. A variety of
drawing impements, stamps, and fill tools are helpful for those of us
with the artistic talents of a kindergartner. But even with this
toolset, the poor Wii controls make creating anything with even the
slightest detail a chore. I found myself frequently using the game's
pre-generated templates to avoid drawing altogether. Adding your
personal touch to Drawn to Life was the title's biggest draw, but in
practice it's the most discouraging activity in this game.
Next Chapter's 2D levels are mostly standard platforming fare, with
plenty of items to collect including coins, stamps, and stickers. In
addition to drawing platforms to get across these levels, you can also
design utility items that may or may not work, such as claws to scale
walls, hot air balloons to fly over rooftops, or a monkey tail that
allows you to swing across gaps. To add variety to the levels, Planet
Moon added the new Action Canvas to the Wii version. When dotted lines
in the form of a square or rectangle appear overhead, your scribbles in
these spaces will create new ways to traverse based on the ink color
you use. Blue ink creates steady platforms you can jump on, red ink
creates dropping platforms you can use to climb, and green ink creates
a trampoline platform to catapult you to higher areas. To get the most
use of these platforms you'll need a steady hand and luck, because
the poor controls turn most of your rectangular drawings into deformed
hexagons that do little to help your progression. It usually takes
multiple tries before you finally create something that can help you
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter's multiplayer lets
two players compete head-to-head in sports minigames. Players can
engage in soccer, hockey, volleyball, and basketball, as well as design
their own uniforms and equipment. These games, though short and
seemingly misplaced, are a fun diversion from the frustrating
The idea of empowering user-generated art as
a gameplay element is a concept that works well on the DS. However,
with poor execution and clumsy controls on the Wii, you'll find more
fun with a coloring book and a 64-pack of crayons than you will in
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter.