Drawing from inspiration.
If you have a liking for pocket monsters, the little animals that have crawled into the American consciousness since the 1990s, you may enjoy a story I have to tell before I even get into my critique of a new downloadable video game for Nintendo 3DS. See, I was a Pokémon master before anyone else and I learned that the real secret to enjoying the life of an obsessive collector comes from knowing what to catch and what to keep. Decades ago, on the shore of a lake my family frequently visited I hunted around in brush for anything interesting to play with.
I found a small field mouse pushing his own grass this way and that way, about as delicately as my pudgy legs could hope to accomplish in much the same way. See, when you go around looking for pocket monsters (at least in the upcoming Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire remakes), you have to be careful if you hope to nab anything truly wild. Anyway, I reached down to pick up this small field mouse and it replied by biting my right index finger. Rather than give the little critter a toss as if it were a Pokéball, I did what anyone would do and dropped it on the ground. It scurried off and I admired my wound. If you’re nursing the same kind of wounded gamer sympathies, I’d say Pokémon Art Academy will do the trick when it comes to smoothing out artistic sensibilities.
Pokémon Art Academy is the antithesis to hardcore gaming in one of the best ways. It offers a fully guided look at what it means to draw Pokémon with your own style and flair. Starting with simple tutorials, even offering the customary choice of three “starter” lessons, Pokémon fanatics will find everything they need to progress through the ranks and draw ‘em’ all… or something to that effect.
While you can jump into free painting exercises and see how your own stylus-controlled inputs look on the dual Nintendo 3DS screens, I heavily recommend the walkthroughs with Professor Andy as they not only boost your confidence in creating layers, adding new colors, drawing outlines, and effectively honing the level of artistic merit you’ll find in drawing with the 3DS. For one, a partner follows you through these drawing lessons and actually gives you quite a laugh when you see the result or her efforts.
The dialog itself can drone on and eager players will no doubt want to speed beyond the natural progression of guided tutorials, that doesn’t mean that pacing yourself fails to become key as you get through more and more drawings. Thankfully, the overall cheery atmosphere maintains everything fans will love about the personality that has propelled the Pokémon franchise thus far.
I won’t waste your time with the viability of Pokémon Art Academy given that you should know exactly what you’re getting into should you decide to spend the $20 to download the game on your Nintendo 3DS. I still can’t help gushing about the sheer variety of monsters to choose from, especially as you complete lessons and even more choices fill the various menus. I would also caution art lovers with the mention that Pokémon Art Academy takes its tools and various options for colors, line controls, and snap-to-it style forgiveness. I know I’ve been getting a lot of crap for the scores I’ve been issuing lately, though Pokémon Art Academy does sing to its most dedicated fans by knowing exactly who they are and what they’ll want from the experience.
Pokémon fans have often clamored for the kind of depth-in-genre that Art Academy shows, despite wanting to see that kind of dedication in other types of games, like an open-world RPG or even an action game. What Pokémon Art Academy does well it often does without mistaking its medium as one that requires a lot of precision and discrepancy for the astute artists out there. I’ve been dabbling in painting and drawing a little more, and while I like to think that my skills grow from experimentation, more often I feel like they’re coming from an awareness as to what I’m trying to accomplish.
Pokémon Art Academy has all of that and it won’t cost any money when it comes to supplies given that the digital platform it resides on doesn’t asking the consumer for any canvass or paint. It forgives most errant swipes of the fine line tool and offers easy undo and redo options via the 3DS shoulder buttons as well. Where the title lacks the ability to teach you real art skills, it’ll provide dozens of hours of entertainment for a gamer aware of what they’re getting into.
Code provided by publisher. Available exclusively on Nintendo 3DS.