Plot Driven Adventure
Drawn: The Painted Tower is a plot driven adventure game aimed at the casual gaming market that combines story and puzzle gameplay into one cohesive fantasy experience.
Drawn has an interesting twist on the standard save the princess theme by having players save a magical child named Iris. Her drawings come to life, and players will spend a good amount of time exploring her creations.
Drawn Defies Genre Through Varied Gameplay
This could be categorized as a hidden object game, a point and click adventure and a straight up puzzle game all at the same time, and this is key to the title's appeal. Real life rarely hands us more of the same day in and day out and Drawn is much the same way. It all feels so natural and intuitive that players will rarely stop and ask themselves what genre the current puzzle would fall into. It's all common sense; players do what needs doing during their adventure and this gives the game a genuine, honest feel.
Drawn never asks players to complete an objective for no reason and each successful action furthers the plot. If only real life goals were so clear cut!
Fantastic Graphics and Artwork
The art in Drawn: The Painted Tower is consistently an absolute pleasure to behold. The level of detail and the depth of each area are simply amazing. The backdrops and scenes found in the world of Drawn would easily be at home in an animated motion picture, so it seems pretty surprising to see them in a computer game.
Hopefully this innovative title will serve to inspire more games of this caliber; it's like playing an interactive painting! Who wouldn't enjoy that? Even the unattractive and mundane things in the game such as the character Franklin are beautiful in an artistic way which makes the game a very interesting gameplay experience all the way around.
The world of Drawn is delightfully dark and dreary. The art style of this game is very edgy and highly stylized, yet it still has a childish, whimsical vibe at the same time. It brings to mind The Nightmare Before Christmas, only cleaner and more polished. Very immersive.
The creators of Drawn have enabled themselves to reach beyond this nightmarish style whenever they please through the magic paintings throughout the storyline, which was a stroke of genius. Iris paints all kinds of different pictures containing all sorts of different imagery and players often have to enter her paintings to complete objectives. These areas are often bright, sunny and cheerful; complete opposites of the 'real world' outside. Thanks to this wonderful plot device the shift in tone and mood never feels cheap or jarring, yet having the contrast keeps the entire game fresh and surprising puzzle after puzzle.
Noteworthy Sound and Score
The sound in this game is truly amazing and is honestly a huge part of the Drawn experience. The haunting music blends perfectly with the artwork to create a depressingly beautiful and melancholy feeling. The audio is crystal clear with perfect production quality. Many computer speakers will not do it justice.
Thoughtful Hint System Helps Without Spoiling Gameplay
The puzzles in this game get pretty hard and inevitably players will get stuck somewhere. When that happens, it's actually possible to get help in game without having the whole thing ruined. Asking the guide for help will bring up a submenu containing current objectives; clicking on the one you need help with will give a hint pertaining only to the selected objective. This is so much better than skipping the puzzle or getting a bunch of hints that are irrelevant to the problem area.
Once the guide gives a hint there is a cooldown period where players may not ask for another hint; this is sometimes annoying but overall it's perfect because it forces players to stop and think, even if they still feel like they're stuck. Puzzles are tricky because players can't be sure of how difficult they are until after they've been solved. A player may think they're stuck but in all actuality just need a nudge in the right direction in order to figure things out. If the hints don't work out at all the game will eventually spill the beans about the entire objective, meaning players of all skill levels can work through and enjoy this plot driven game.
Drawn is Dramatic Without Becoming Melodramatic
Yes, the goal is to save a little girl from destruction, but the game never really takes advantage of this plot device. It's up to individual players to either find the storyline emotionally compelling or not; nothing is ever forced on players. This is refreshing and keeps the game from feeling cheap.
The writing in this game is also worth mentioning because it's quite good; Drawn could have translated very well as a novel. Things are worded skillfully and the narrative is exceptional.
Very Little Replay Value
Once players know the answers to the puzzles and riddles there isn't much to the game. It's kind of like a good mystery book; once it's been read it won't hold any more surprises.
Does this stop mystery fans from purchasing the latest mystery titles? Of course not. If someone is looking for a game with strong replay value, they will find themselves disappointed with Drawn. However, if they are simply looking for a solid gameplay experience, Drawn will deliver.
Conclusion - Great Puzzles, Great Story, and An Excellent Game Experience
Drawn: The Painted Tower offers a robust combination of great puzzles, rich storyline and perfect production which work together to create a gameplay experience that really has no equal in the computer gaming market today. This level of thought and planning usually only goes into titles for the gaming consoles.
Those who hate puzzles with a passion should probably pass on this title, but everyone else owes it to themselves to experience all this game has to offer. This is as good as the casual gaming genre gets.
Review by Alice Flynn
Alice Flynn is a gaming enthusiast and journalist from Los Angeles, CA. She is currently obsessed with obscure foreign dramas, making tofu taste edible and the latest, greatest computer games.
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