Drawn to Life is a game I remember seeing but never playing way back in the year 2008. It was always on the shelves of the game shop I worked in as a staple of the pre-owned section. One of those titles that I could tell you every finer detail of the case, but not something I ever sat down and played. Jump ahead 13 years (Christ does that make me feel old) and here I am with a copy of Drawn to Life: Two Realms for the Switch to finally get to grips with!
Off the bat I’m thinking maybe I should have played the first two games. There is so much charm in every little detail and within minutes I was feeling hooked.
Set a few years after the previous game (apparently) you are thrust into a fight against darkness that threatens both the real world and the fantasy setting of Raposa. Starting up I was given a character creator that was surprisingly in-depth. With the choices of a few templates or going wild with all sorts of features. So, my hero took to the streets and a chicken man wearing ninja clothes…hell yeah.
Once my boy was ready I got to playing and found the gameplay to be pretty standard platforming fare with a few objectives here and there like defeating all the enemies or guiding an NPC to a doorway. Nothing exactly ground-breaking there. The game becomes a little more interesting when you get the power to alter the levels. Things take a turn for the Mario Maker as you place bad guys and obstacles in an attempt to make life easier to get to the gates. I compare to Mario Maker but really, much like the platforming, Drawn to Life does things a little more simplistically than Mario. You can’t really alter too much and it’s there as a puzzle solving mechanic rather than a core gameplay mechanic. There is a lot of potential there but nothing we haven’t already seen or been done better, but its hard to argue against Drawn to Life as a series helping to lay the groundwork for Mario Maker.
Much like other platformers, Drawn to Life: Two Realms’ is a series of levels that you navigate from a hub world, and a charming hub world it is too. In fact, based on the name you can tell there are two worlds to explore. The real world and Raposa. You can wander about chatting to adorable pixel art NPCs and helping out with their various problems, because that’s what heroes do. Really though while its adorable to look and watch your character hilarious running gait through the towns, it doesn’t add too much to the gameplay.
A lot of the game just feels like padding. Most tasks are stretched out with slow character movements and arbitrary challenges. Sure, you can earn more stars, and you need stars to progress. Really though you can get by with the minimum of stars in each mission, giving you very little reason to actually try harder. The challenge is just there to waste your time. Couple that with controls that need some work and an interesting habit of my main character just flat out not dealing damage to my foes and Drawn to Life: Two Realms feels like a charming adventure trapped within mobile game issues, that it should have ever had to deal with!
If you’re a fan of the series, then this is probably just a nice continuation without anything too drastic or new to shake up the formula you enjoy. To an outsider though, its just glaringly okay, and this, in a video game, is almost worse than being awful.
I’m going to give Drawn to Life: Two Realms 6/10