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Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, Wii
Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: THQ
Developer: 5th Cell

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Wii Preview - 'Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on July 13, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Featuring an innovative new action drawing feature and enhanced drawing tools, Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter will give players new creative tools and immerse them into new worlds they create and explore.

Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter is actually going to be two completely separate games, with one coming to the NDS and the other to Wii later this year. At E3, both were on display side by side, and they both took similar, but distinct angles over their development, in spite of the 5th Cell team's involvement in Planet Moon Studio's Wii version. The floor demonstration showed that their 18 months of progress had gone well.

The game uses 3-D graphics in tandem with the series' traditional 2-D gameplay. Notably, this adds complexity to the drawing element, although the game works around this by having you draw characters as pieces a little more explicitly than before; this piece design also serves for the 3-D model articulation. Notably, however, you can move the pieces around pretty freely; while you still have two arms and two legs, you could easily make Rayman, for example, by separating the pieces, or a dwarf or whatever other size and scale you felt like making.

The Wii version of The Next Chapter is a prequel to the DS version, and it includes a few of the new features from that one, including the improved art editor (now in a more "airbrush" style that better suits the Wii Remote), but not the shrunken emphasis on drawing things in stage. You can even redraw many elements that you may discover don't seriously matter during gameplay. Notably, items you draw are affected by physics. This is often critical to solving the puzzles you'll be presented with, but it's also a source of the difficulty. You can also draw things like springs with relative ease. The developers promised 100 drawable item types, spread out over 24 levels across four worlds, with plenty of collectible items to offer replayability.

Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter for the Wii worked very well in demonstration, with a beautiful appearance (I didn't get to hear much of the sound on the loud show floor), and a pretty clear and creativity-encouraging overall design. THQ started this series pretty solidly from the start, and hopefully, this new release will turn out well for them during a crowded holiday season.
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