Review – Drawn To Life: Two Realms

Originally released in 2007, 5th Cell’s Drawn to Life was one of my favorite Nintendo DS games. It took advantage of the system’s dual screens to let people create their own platforming heroes with the help of the stylus and their imagination. It spawned a few sequels, including a licensed Spongebob Squarepants collaboration, but the franchise eventually went dormant after the first iteration of THQ filed for bankrupcy. I was ecstatic to learn about the franchise’s revival with the brand new Drawn To Life: Two Realms and was eager to give it a shot. Let’s see if it was worth the decade-long wait.

Drawn To Life: Two Realms

My original creation. Don’t steal.

In Drawn To Life: Two Realms, you still create your own Deviantart-worthy original character, with the help of a MS Paint-esque tool that really allows you to let your imagination run wild. Just as long you’re talented enough with art software in order to make something worth looking at. The game does a pretty good job to detect limbs and joints on your creation, but all in all, your changes are only cosmetic. No matter how you decide to created your character, they will always have the same physique.

Of course, this isn’t just a simple character-centered Photoshop clone. After creating your protagonist, the actual game begins. Drawn To Life: Two Realms is a simple open world adventure where you go from area to area, talking to NPCs until you unlock platforming sections which comprise most of its actual action sections. The platforming itself is beyond simplistic. You run, jump, and ground pound. As straightforward as a retro Mario game could be. That’s not exactly the game’s main gameplay draw, however.

Drawn To Life: Two Realms

“How do you do, fellow kids?”

There is also a small level editor in here. This is not exactly Super Mario Maker levels of freedom, however. The game will present you with a blueprint of an almost finished level and you’re able to add in a few extra toys and enemies to complete its layout. There is a degree of strategy in here, though, as enemies can be used as platforms to jump on, for example. You can use a goopy blob as a trampoline, or a cannon’s bullets as moving platforms to jump on in order to pass through a big chasm. That’s as complex as Drawn To Life: Two Realms gets, though. Just a handful of increasingly thought-provoking platforming challenges every now and then, and some adventure bits in between.

As for the rest, the game doesn’t exactly impress with its presentation, looking just a bit better than its DS counterparts, but it gets the job done. The problem lies on the very repetitive backgrounds whenever you’re in a platforming section. The most visually striking thing in the game will always be your character, for better or worse. The musical department might actually be Drawn To Life: Two Realms‘ best feature. Just like in previous Drawn to Life games, the soundtrack is comprised of chill and enjoyable tunes. They might not exactly be instantly memorable, but they do get the job done with honors.

Jump on top of the nutty Goomba for a boost. Or keep hopping from missile to missile to get past the prickly thorns. Your choice.

Drawn To Life: Two Realms isn’t the return to form I was expecting from the franchise, as it’s a very small game in scale and scope. It is beyond simplistic in terms of gameplay, but it’s challenging enough to keep it interesting. It features some interesting level editing mechanics and it does let your imagination run wild if you’re skilled enough when it comes to drawing characters with a mouse. Given its impressively small price tag, I’d say pick it up, but just don’t expect a full-fledged sequel to the games we used to love back in the Nintendo DS days. Still better than Scribblenauts‘ revival though, that’s for sure.

 

Graphics: 6.5

While the character creator lets you come up with some really nice designs for your protagonist, the rest of the game, while cute, looks very repetitive.

Gameplay: 6.5

The character creator basically works like any computer art software: you’ll only be able to come up with nice designs if you’re skilled enough. The rest of the game revolves around pretty basic platforming and some interesting (and mandatory) level editing features.

Sound: 7.5

The Drawn to Life franchise is known for its chill and enjoyable soundtracks, and it’s not different in Two Realms.

Fun Factor: 7.0

It’s not the return to form you were expecting, but it’s still a fun little diversion. It’s beyond simple, but there are some unique level editing features that make it more interesting. Not to mention the near infinite replayability if you’re someone who actually knows how to draw characters.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Drawn To Life: Two Realms is available now on PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Drawn To Life: Two Realms was provided by the publisher.