Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter
Some problems keep it from being a work of art.
When THQ released Drawn To Life two years ago, it opened a creative doorway for players, letting them generate characters and other items to interact with. The sequel, The Next Chapter, works in the same manner. You battle the evil Wilfre, a lunatic who wants nothing more than to suck the color out of your world. To stop him, you'll not only draw your character's basic design, but also which weapon they'll use and some items they'll interact with. It's still a neat idea, but a few flaws keep this game from being a masterpiece.
Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter utilizes a fun drawing system for item creation. Using blocks that you can fine tune, you're able to build whatever you please, whether it's using words as platforms or creating a pink flamingo as a melee weapon. There's almost no limit to what you can create, and it's something that makes the Drawn To Life series appealing. Unfortunately, the creations don't pop up in the game as often as we would've liked. Platforms disappear midway through, only to pop up again closer to the end.
A lot of imagination went into creating weapons, but the same can't be said for the gameplay. It is fun to go through each stage, bopping enemies on the head and/or striking them with your weapon, but the gameplay never goes above and beyond.
Worse yet, conversations almost completely ruin the momentum. Over the course of the game, you'll talk to fellow residents of the Raposa race, getting information on Wilfre while becoming familiar with those around you. Some of them provide a few details, but for the most part, they take forever. The only way to skip past these convos is to manually press A multiple times. THQ should've given us the option to skip them.
If you can put up with the heavy amount of talking and basic platforming, you should enjoy the game's presentation. The simplistic, hand-drawn design from the first game returns, and being able to fill in the lifeless worlds with color is also cool. (Kids will dig this portion of the game, since it's easy to fill in the blanks and bring it back to life.) A helpful map system on the top part of the screen ensures you won't get lost, either, making it easy to see what's around.
Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter will appeal to fans of the first game, as well as kids who love building things. Just make sure you understand there's very little evolution in the gameplay, and way too much talking. For the next chapter, THQ should consider letting the artwork speak for itself.
What's Hot: Charming presentation, re-coloring worlds and designing your own character and weapons is a delight.
What's Not: Conversations take way too long, your creations don't show up that often, platforming is made up of basic moves and lacks creativity.