Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.

The subject of this installment: Drawn to Life: Two Realms available on Nintendo Switch, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS, developed by Digital Continue and published by 505 Games. 

Remember how great the Nintendo DS touch screen and stylus were? Sure, the library had ton of licensed games, shovelware and edutainment experiences, but those that took advantage of the handheld’s unique features were among the best. Developers 5th Cell knew this, and created the Scribblenauts and the recently-dormant Drawn To Life series.

The Drawn to Life games were a series of action-platformers where players created a character by drawing on the touch screen. During play they would run, jump and draw platforms to defeat enemies and solve puzzles. Simple? Sure, but the novelty of playing as a character created by drawing it yourself was unique.

New developer Digital Continue has revived this series with Drawn to Life: Two Realms, a stylish but shallow attempt. 

The main hook of the original — physically drawing on the touchscreen — is nowhere to be found, so characters must create one using the control sticks and face buttons. It’s a bummer considering that this method of control isn’t as responsive as I would have liked. DTL:TR does have “stickers” that can be placed on the custom character to give the player more options, so I ended up with a chicken man sporting robotic arms and a bowler hat. As funny as that was, the process was still disappointing overall.

Gameplay consists of travelling an overworld and completing various tasks for NPCs. The tasks vary, but the way to complete them is the same — complete a platforming challenge. Some might task the player with reaching the end of a level while others see them defeating enemies, and most levels allow players to add custom elements to accomplish their work, but not being able to draw these things takes away from the overall enjoyment.

The quality of the platforming is fine enough, but there isn’t much deviation from just running, jumping and occasionally attacking. 

I can’t really say I enjoyed what I played here. Drawn to Life: Two Realms simply fails to capture what made the series great. Fans might be better off digging up their old DS systems and tracking down the originals instead. 

Cj Salcedo

Cj Salcedo

CJ has loved video games ever since he watched the opening cinematic to Sonic Heroes (with that killer Crush 40 song) back when he was six years old. Nearly two decades later, he’s found himself at GameCritics writing about the things he loves.

He has a knack for talking about movies and games he‘s passionate about. If anyone ever needs an expert on Jim Jarmusch, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Donkey Kong Country or Kanye West, he’s your guy. Don’t say we didn't warn you, though.

He can be found on Twitter and his weekly podcast, The Waypoint Set Podcast, where he manages to get some important guests before promptly talking their ears off.
Cj Salcedo
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