Innovation really is what you make of it. For some, it comes from how a song is written, or how a game is designed. For others, it comes from the controls a game has, or the artistic techniques that are put into the games. Innovation can come in many packages, but sometimes it feels incomplete, or only one aspect of the game is fully utilized.
Case en point, a game like Drawn for Life, a little DS game tailor made for children and lets you create the characters and items in your story. You heard me right; you now can conquer a fictional world as anyone you like, from Megaman
The game uses the DS stylus as a launchpad for success. The point is to create your character, in game objects, from walls to platforms to spaceships, to help your character, and watch it all move around on the DS screen. It is a bit satisfying, if not creepy, to see a hand-drawn stick figure fight in a quasi 3-D world. Your character has a versatile move pool at their disposal, no matter how you draw them, and the animation is fluid and works for the games otherwise sunny kid graphics.
And to me, at the very least, this is an achievement on it’s own. I am surprised that a small developer like 5th Cell
conjured up such a cool idea, and not some of the big boys. Props. Games like Drawn to Life need more, well, life, into them. We don’t see great innovation like this every day.
Sadly, that is where the innovation ends. The other elements of the game are standard
, sub par platforming mechanics at it’s best. There is an attempt to mix it up, such as quick fetch quests in between platforming and a few side scrolling shooter levels, which do add some variety into the mix, but overall it just feels boring and too simple. Sure, you can color in platforms to your style, but you can’t draw your own on the fly or use the stylus to puzzle solve during the game. Adding that would give the game more life in it.
To be fair, this is a kid’s game. Parents will be purchasing this little baby after Mario Kart DS and Phoenix Wright are finished with. The simplistic game play is definitely for five year old and any five year old needs some innovation in their life. Despite this, the game does feel incomplete. The creation process is phenomenal, but the other parts, such as the game play, are mediocre.
In the end, I applaud THQ for taking a chance on something that is different, and I hope that Drawn to Life becomes a staple in the DS market. The ideas here are fresh and innovative, and could easily make a killer franchise in the future. The gameplay needs to be fine tuned, however, to achieve that status, and in a gaming world where you are the creator of your own hero, that alone should warrant a sequel, or at the very least a rental on this obscure title.