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Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter (Nintendo DS) Review

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

5th Cell have been one of the most well-established developers on DS for quite some time now. Their titles have included ambitious game editor that was the first Drawn to Life, to a library-boosting RTS in Lock’s Quest, and of course the mind-boggling experience that is Scribblenauts. For the first sequel to one of their own properties, 5th Cell have returned to their first DS project, with a sequel also appearing on Nintendo's home console courtesy of Planet Moon. With the engine from the first game established, is The Next Chapter a good read or will it have you slamming the book closed?

The Next Chapter gives a larger focus to the plot of the Creator’s (i.e. your) universe than its predecessor, and continues the story from the first game. The village of the Raposa race sees its new mayor, Mari, elected after the defeat of main bad guy Wilfre. A good villain is never kept down for long though, so sure enough the evil Raposa returns, this time with a plan to drain all colour from the world, and thus trap the peaceful Raposa in limbo. Once safely away on a gigantic turtle village, Mari again begs the Creator for help, and this is your cue to inject some artistry into the world. As a way to keep the game going and hold the player’s interest, the stronger focus on events does complement the rest of the game, yet cutscenes take a bit too long to get through. Think Golden Sun style, without much of the same charm, and you get the idea.

Your first task, aside sketching a scene depicting the events of Drawn to Life 1, is to create your chosen hero. Thanks to the standard but effective tools available on the touch screen, this is quick and painless, even more so with the templates feature for those wishing to jump in easily. This creation menu is used frequently throughout the game, for certain points that require you to make objects to get past levels, and all designs are editable in the central village.

The Next Chapter’s main focus, aside from drawing objects and restoring colour to inhabitant areas of the game, is to find said colour within the game’s levels, by way of 2D platforming. There certainly is larger variety and better design for these levels than the prequel, and using the weapons together with the hero’s shapeshifting properties makes for interesting gameplay, but they still feel far too easy and basic as a whole. Control via the d-pad and buttons is responsive and instantaneous, so no challenge will be with them, but some kind of switchable option for game difficulty would’ve helped this game appeal to an older crowd. Collecting coins along the way allows for template and music purchases later on, so there is some incentive to play levels outside of plot progression.

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

The overworld of the game is rendered in an isometric style, complementing the lush crayon-like visuals that go hand-in-hand with the art aspect. While not terribly impressive by DS standards (aside from the opening CGI cutscene), the art nonetheless remains consistent, and helps bring out the personality of the characters. The music is rather basic, and without voicework, but it does work well as background backing for when you’ll be jumping around or putting stylus to screen.

As with its big bro and dad, The Next Chapter is strictly focused on single play, without Wi-Fi trading or any kind of on or offline multiplayer. As such, the longevity relies on the main campaign. Depending on the skill of the player, in both artistic ambition and platforming ability, finishing the main game can take a while. The ability to return later to alter creations into a select theme - like Mario or Zelda - holds imaginative appeal, not to mention the many unlockables you’ll need coins for, means this game will give you your money’s worth, provided you stick with it. The Next Chapter isn’t a significant leap over 5th Cell’s first foray into the Drawn to Life universe, but it is a more engrossing one.

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

Gameplay

Drawing is a doddle, and platforming - whilst simplistic and mostly effortless - holds up well. Storyline tends to awkwardly break up the flow of play, but keeps up interest in the game’s progression.

Graphics

Well crafted world design and emotive character expressions flesh out Drawn to Life’s universe, that doesn’t amaze on the whole, yet functions well enough.

Sound

Not much here aside from backing music for each level and overworld area, but nothing requiring muting either.

Value

Solo play is the sole attraction here, with a lengthy endeavour through the story and creational aspects to tempt players back. Collectables and village colour restoration add extra hours.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Sticking close to a tried and tested formula, The Next Chapter refines what the first Drawn to Life brought to the DS, yet doesn’t solve the all-too basic platforming issue, only makes it more diverse. Tailoring your own game is still the strongest appeal and as such this game is a fitting choice for first time youngsters with new DSes.

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20.12.2009

5

7385

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Developer

5th Cell

Publisher

THQ

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Diverse and more variation is good, but definitely agree that the gameplay needed to be a lot less basic! Good to hear it's a little better but would like to see them take the idea a lot further.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Looks great and I'm really wishing for it

I'm sorry the service you'd requested is unavailible Now say Hello to Bobby
ಠ_ಠ

Never played the first, looks like a laugh though..

some dude (guest) 24.01.2010 06:41#4

i cant decide wether i want it or not.....�_�

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