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Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, Wii
Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: THQ
Developer: 5th Cell
Release Date: Oct. 27, 2009 (US), Oct. 16, 2009 (EU)

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

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on July 8, 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 may be one of the more awesome DS games that you've missed.  It's a platformer where you draw the main character and his power-ups, along with many other details.  The concept was too cool to pass up, even after the first game didn't do so well, causing THQ to quickly farm out Drawn to Life: SpongeBob SquarePants Edition, which also helped somewhat increase sales of the original.  Apparently, the sales numbers were enough to get a true sequel made, with several fun new ideas to switch up the gameplay. The developer, 5th Cell, demonstrated Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter at E3 and showed off some very neat ideas.

The story continues on from the first game (SpongeBob doesn't count, for obvious reasons), with a goal of restoring villages in four different worlds. Not much was explained, but the villages are beautifully hand-drawn, so completing them should be a pleasant reward. The drawing features have also evolved nicely, allowing you to have four limbs in whatever configuration you want, along with the ability to resize each limb and have a larger color palette to work with. This extends to the weapons, which you can also have four at a time, and you can switch between them on the fly. They can all be upgraded, and you now have the ability to charge up special attacks for some variety.

The game now features 40 levels, which are generally much faster-paced than those in the original and are designed to take advantage of two new gimmicks the game offers (all the better to get you to draw more!).  You can change between your human form; a wall-climbing, web-shooting spider form; and a blob form, which is capable of squeezing through narrow spaces.  The other gimmick is that you can go all Katamari on objects.

A couple of things have been removed in an attempt to hone the gameplay.  You no longer draw all of the enemies; instead, your drawing has been consistently cast as a heroic action. You also will only draw in items to solve puzzles at specific and clearly marked times so you can focus more on general platformer gameplay.

What I saw for Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter looked very fun. It builds on the great ideas from the first game and puts them into a new experience.  Look for it to hit store shelves later this year.


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