Review: Drawn to Life: Two Realms (Switch)

Cute art and overall visuals, but very little actual drawing (or draw) for the player.

By Achi Ikeda. Posted 01/27/2021 23:43 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Some creative and fun puzzles; nice visuals
Poison Mushroom for...
The main draw to the game, drawing, is flawed; weak story; fun puzzles outweighed by bad ones

Most heroes engage in epic battles with stylish armor and awesome weapons. But not all heroes. In Drawn to Life: Two Realms, the hero saves the world by solving non-playable characters’ (NPCs’) inner turmoil through platforming.

Drawn to Life: Two Realms is the third sequel to the original DS game Drawn to Life by Digital Continue. What was interesting about Drawn to Life is that the game’s design took inspiration from the touch controls on the DS. Players were able to design and draw aspects to the game including their own hero to play as. This concept is brought back as players can draw their own hero, choose from a selection of templates to mix and match, or use a combination.

The main gameplay is platforming. The hero will approach characters with various problems such as being angry that their brother didn’t attend their birthday party. To make these characters feel better, the hero completes platforming levels. The platforming is simple but sometimes adds a twist likely inspired by Super Mario Maker.

The objective for each level varies from making your way to the portal door finish, defeating all the enemies, or herding a certain character before time runs out. There are also levels that require the player to place enemies, also known as “toys”, within the level. This level design mechanic is very similar to the interface for Super Mario Maker. The obvious choice would be to place them where they are either easy to kill or easy to avoid, but sometimes enemies are necessary to jump off of to reach the exit portal or to reach coins. Therefore, placement is important. This level editing mode is straightforward and easy to use. The puzzle aspect is enjoyable and was even satisfying a few times when I solved levels. Unfortunately, the difficulty is erratic with some levels being too easy and then followed by levels that were frustratingly difficult and back again.

Despite the platforming and puzzle mechanic making up the core gameplay, the game stretches these moments out with NPC dialogue and an overworld that is slow to traverse through. The developers addressed the slow traversal with speed fruit littered around the overworld, but they wear off so quickly that they barely feel worth it and just bring more attention to the slow walking speed. I also ran into a few bugs that caused me to quit and reopen the game which only made these issues seem even longer.

At least there are plenty of side missions in the overworld to participate in. They earn you coins and give you a break between story elements. However, they are often much easier than the levels in the main story and though they offer coin rewards, which you can use to buy more templates, stickers, or toys to place in levels, coins are so plentiful to find that these missions did not feel worth it.

At least the art design is pleasant. Drawn to Life: Two Realms combines a pixel art overworld, cute animated enemies, and the players own drawings. I wish I could have also enjoyed a fun look for my hero, but the controls for drawing were difficult to use. Despite having a plethora of tools, the actually drawing is done with the joystick. The developers don’t even let you use the touch controls in handheld mode to draw. As for drawing other objects in the game, there are a few opportunities. These objects don’t do much in the game. Also, instead of having the player draw from scratch, the game gives you an image to color in which was a bit boring. This was all pretty disappointing as the gimmick of the game is adding your own drawn creations into the game world. In the end, I used a matchup of the templates offered to create my character. Luckily there is a large variety of templates to use, and as you keep playing, you can purchase more along with stickers to stick to your hero.

Though the game has nice visuals and is the continuation of a creative series, Two Realms failed to maintain the magic Drawn to Life had on DS. Unfortunately, my disinterest in the story kept me unmotivated to wait through cut scenes to get to the next levels. Levels could be fun, but they could also be terribly too easy or frustratingly hard. The best moments in the game are dispersed too far apart and they don’t feel worth the hassle to get to.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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