Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter (Wii) (Wii) Review

Review for Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter (Wii) on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Games that allow players to customize their experience far beyond character creation have always been in demand from those with overflowing imaginations, from the Super Nintendo's SimCity allowing for your dream metropolis to be realised in pixelated form, to the complete customisation that the Playstation 3's LittleBigPlanet puts at your fingertips. Not long ago a DS game saw release that allowed players to take on the role of God, and create a hero in any image of their choosing, to help out the people in need below. Drawn to Life, from ambitious developers 5th Cell, delivered on its promise of conception, yet was hindered by the weak platforming aspect. Has the sequel, now on Wii as well as DS, improved on past mistakes?

First off, you'll notice that this version of the game wasn't actually made by 5th Cell, but instead packaged off to Planet Moon Studios, developers of Smarty Pants and Battle of the Bands. That bit of knowledge would set many alarm bells ringing, but Planet Moon have kept surprisingly close to the formula the original studio established. Perhaps a bit too close...

The game loads up in a typical fashion; click one of four profiles, write a name and you're away. Except then there is a twist rather dissimilar to usual start ups in that the game shows you how to use the creation tools by creating the Earth, Sun and Moon in whatever manner you wish. After that you meet your people, the Raposa, and send to them a hero, created however you want, to defend them from the villain Wilfre and his dark creatures.

The design is Drawn to Life's biggest strength, and in this game the concept has been improved greatly. Much like before you can create your hero, and at points in the adventure you can fill in the gaps for platforms, grappling hook points, creatures, even cars. The IR on the Wii remote will never match the pinpoint accuracy of sketching that a stylus can provide, and here the cursor is annoyingly floaty, but the tools at your disposal help remedy this until you get used to it. From zooming in and out, redo and undo, paint fill and erase, to pre-existing Templates if you don't particularly want to create anything (this applies to everything you are required to make), patience yields some rewarding results. Fancy putting Mario up to another adventure? You can. Want to give Zool a much-deserved second chance at the limelight? No problem. Maybe you have a desire to see Sonic in a console 2D game - much like yours truly - again? Not an issue. What is, however, is the actual platforming and exploring itself.

Screenshot for Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter (Wii) on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

While setting design is varied between each group of levels (with old favourites jungles, shadows, and snowy environments), the requirements for actually getting to play these levels will put you off even beginning them. Opening up a level more often than not involves strolling across the Raposa village to find a certain someone, speaking to them, and then strolling back to the entrance to the world housing the levels, which will then open the level. Adding to that is a swarm of load points, which seem to pop up with every environment and area change, and are particularly irritating in-between gameplay and the editing menu. There is no excuse for the sheer amount of loading in this game, especially bearing in mind that nothing in Drawn to Life seems like it would tax the Wii hardware. Visuals look lush and clear, sort of LostWinds-like if you will, and the music is cheery and upbeat, if fairly repetitive, but nothing special or memorable. The levels themselves, the main meat of the game, take far too long to finish because of the pauses, and even with the solid controls and impressive physics of the platforms and lines you draw in, you'll grow tired of the stage long before you reach the goal. Vehicle use though, which you also get to design yourself, is a lot of fun to mess around with, and these sections are in a fair few of the levels.

The multiplayer offers four very poor minigames that completely fail to capitalise on the game's standout point of editing. Collecting coins littered in the levels allows you to buy new templates, and body features and parts in a shop located within the village. It is this, not the multiplayer, that extends Drawn to Life's longevity, despite adventuring being marred by a multitude of loading screens. As such, Dawn to Life: The Next Chapter would be ideal for young patient minds packed with imagination, or those that love making a gaming experience entirely their own, and nabbing everything along the way.

Screenshot for Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter (Wii) on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Solid creational aspects, and the extent to which you can change your experience is impressive. Play flows nicely, but is greatly hindered by lots of backtracking and far too many loading screens.


Lush, relaxing visuals that complement the world of the Creator and his (i.e. your) creations to a tee. Nothing breathtaking or taxing, but a bit of a 2D looker nonetheless.


The tune that plays in the editing screen will wear down your tolerance levels, considering how long you'll be in there. A small quantity of backing tracks for the stages keep things chugging along, but there are no iPod worthy offerings here.


The main game will last a fair while, if for the wrong reasons, and whilst the four multiplayer minigames are slim pickings, there is a miniscule amount of enjoyment to be had from them. Collectables answer the call of the 100% completionist.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


About this score

2D games are enjoying a resurgence on Nintendo's home console this generation, and with its unique premise, Drawn to Life could have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them. It's unfortunate, then, that the series' transition to disc has brought about new problems that have, if anything, made the basic platforming ever more apparent, and made it rely even more on the editing tools, which cannot hold the rest of the game up.

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C3 Score

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