Scribblenauts meets LittleBigPlanet. That's the tantalising description we've come up with for cute side scrolling platformer Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter. Aren't we clever?
The game's clever, too. You use the Wii Remote to draw objects that magically appear in the levels: things like platforms for you to jump on, and cars for you to drive in. Unfortunately, Drawn to Life doesn't allow you to go nuts with object creation and just mess about. You're limited to only drawing within dashed-line rectangles, which are strategically placed throughout the levels. It's an understandable design decision: developer High Moon Studios wanted to craft clever puzzles and challenging platforming sections, and without some degree of restriction the game would probably collapse in chaos. Still, slightly more freedom would have been welcome.
Other areas of the creation mechanic are, frankly, pointless. Dotted throughout levels are drawing easels that task you with drawing a specific object such as a butterfly or a lizard. After a lengthy loading screen you're transported to the drawing tool, where you apply brush strokes with the Wii Remote on a canvas. Once done, your drawing appears in the level. The problem is these creations rarely affect gameplay. The end result is levels cluttered with loads of poorly drawn bits of "stuff".
Drawn to Life is at its best when it challenges you to solve platforming riddles with objects drawn directly into the levels. Some rectangles allow you to create objects that are affected by gravity, and so fall to the ground. The game's solid physics then let you push these objects around, rolling a big red ball down a hill, for example. Others have bouncing properties, enabling you, the wonderfully named "Creation Hero" (you play the Creator), to fly high into the air. When you have to combine both of these elements, while employing nifty old school platforming skills, Drawn to Life comes into its own.
If the game reminds you of Japanese platformer Klonoa then give yourself a pat on the back. You're a smart cookie, aren't you?
An example: to progress you might need to reach a platform that's too high for a conventional double jump. Three creation boxes are present, one allowing an object that remains where you draw it, another is affected by gravity and the third has bouncing properties. Above them is a pivot suspended in mid air. Above that is a lever that, when swung on, rotates another platform somewhere else. You need to draw and create platforms in such a way so that the gravity platform falls onto the bouncy platform and is propelled high enough that it balances perfectly on the pivot. You can then use it to reach the lever. Clever, isn't it?