Drawn to Life is an action-adventure/platform game for the Nintendo DS developed by 5th Cell and published by THQ in America, Europe, and Australasia. It was published in Japan with the name Drawn to Life: God's Marionette (ドローントゥライフ: 神様のマリオネット) by Agatsuma Entertainment.
The game is known for letting players create their own playable characters, level objects and accessories by drawing them using the DS's stylus and touch screen.
Drawn to Life requires the player to create a Hero in order to free a cursed village from an encroaching darkness. It features numerous platforming levels, a top down central village and other elements (such as vehicles, weapons, platforms, etc.) which are drawn and colored by the player using the stylus.
Drawn to Life is a 2D game with the unique hook of drawing your own playable character, weapons and accessories, platforms, and objects. This game is targeted towards children, young adults and non-gamers due to its lack of complexity and ease of play. The game is separated into three different play modes.
Village Mode Edit
A top-down, central "hub" where the player progresses the story and interacts with the Raposa, purchases items from the item shop using Rapo-Coins collected from Adventure Mode and also accesses levels. Players draw different items at the Raposa's request to enrich their village. Over the course of the game in village mode, the player will play mini-games, participate in a town festival, hunt for a thief and help the Raposa thrive. Here players are given their objective for the next Adventure Mode level. There are two main buildings in this mode—Creation Hall, where players can edit their previous creations, and the Item Shop, where players can purchase songs, patterns, stamps and even new abilities for their hero.
Adventure Mode Edit
A side-scrolling platformer, laid out into sixteen unique levels. Adventure Mode is where the "meat" of gameplay is done. Here the player battles enemies, rescues Raposa, and collects items. Players draw unique platforms that allow the player the progress through the level. Bosses are also battled through this mode. There are four different worlds: Snow, Forest, Beach and City, each with their own boss.
Players are tasked with rescuing three Raposa (usually one is named and two are random), and four pieces of a page from the Book of Life which will be used to create a new village object. Players can also collect "secret" orbs (three per level) that will then unlock and be purchasable in the item shop. In each section of the levels players tap on an easel icon to enable Draw Mode, which tells the player to draw some new type of platform or object. Once drawn, the player goes back to Adventure Mode and can then use or interact with the newly drawn object.
Draw Mode Edit
The tool, similar to a robust version Microsoft Paint, through which players use to create new objects, weapons and even their hero. This is done through the stylus and touch screen input. Once drawn, objects and the hero itself will animate through the game's own design. The player can design up to three different humanoid heroes using a variety of colors, patterns and stamps. Character creation also features fifteen or so pre-made character templates which can be traced, or have their body parts swapped in and used for those people who are less artistic.
An interesting side feature to Draw Mode is that the game's title screen can be drawn and saved, so players can make their own unique title screen.
Players can trade their drawn heroes and other objects via local wireless.
This article may contain major plot spoilers that threaten to ruin elements of the story!
"This is the story of the Raposas and their village. For many years, the Raposas lived happily in their village and prospered until a rebel Raposa named Wilfre, created an army of evil shadows to spread darkness over the land. He tore key pages from the Book of Life and hid them across the world. These pages contained the templates for the moon, sun, stars and other cherished possessions. With those items gone, the Raposas began to abandon the village. Those who remain cry out to you, The Creator, to draw a Hero to help them rebuild their village back to greatness."
—Drawn to Life instruction booklet
The main "race" of creatures inhabiting the universe of Drawn to Life are anthropomorphic anime-inspired fox-like beings known as the Raposa, which means "Fox" in Portuguese. They were drawn by the Creator, who also drew their world and everything upon it. But the Creator abandoned the Raposa long ago.
The story begins with a Raposa named Mari crying out to the Creator to help save the Village she lives in. Along the way, the player is introduced to her best friend, Jowee, and her father, who is the Mayor. These characters are the last remaining villagers. The player designs a hero for them, and they soon run into Wilfre, a corrupted Raposa that dabbled in creation, and spawned a legion of evil shadow-like creatures. The actual gameplay starts by rescuing the Mayor, who set off to bring back the Raposa to the Village. As the player progresses, they learn that Wilfre was once a prominent member of the Village, and he stole the Book of Life, thinking he could do better than the Creator, and tore the pages from it because of all his failed attempts. The Mayor asks the hero to find and return the pages of the Book of Life, so the Creator can once again draw the missing objects from the Village.
The hero starts by designing the Eternal Flame, which is then used to clear the darkness from each section of the village, each time he returns from completing a level. Along the way, he rescues a cast of villagers, who agree to return to the Village and open up shops, restaurants and other places of interest. Mari begins training to take over as Mayor, and the Village plans a festival to celebrate. Meanwhile, adventure-hungry Jowee sneaks into a level, and the hero has to save him and help find an appropriate gift for Mari. This reckless act causes a rift between Jowee and Mari, but they eventually make up and grow closer as they help the hero restore the village to what it once was.
After numerous confrontations with Wilfre, he finally tricks the Mayor into appearing alone, and kills him. Mari and the villagers are devastated, but after seeing the village descend into chaos, decide to band together and stop Wilfre for good. The Hero defeats Wilfre, and returns to the Village. Jowee plans to leave on a treasure hunt, and after saying goodbye, Mari reminisces about the past, upset about losing her dad and best friend. The story ends with Mari on the beach, shocked at seeing Jowee walk up behind her. She runs to him happily, watched over by the spirit of the Mayor, and the Hero, on the cliff above.
Drawn to Life was nominated for "Outstanding Achievement in Story Development" at the 11th Annual Interactive Acheviment Awards. At IGNs "Best of 2007" awards Drawn to Life won "Most Innovative Design" (DS) and was runner-up for "Best Platform Game" (DS).
In Game Spot's Best of 2007 the game was nominated for "Best Platformer" (All Systems) and "Best Original Game Mechanic." Nintendo Power nominated Drawn to Life for Best Platformer (Wii & DS) for its 2007 Nintendo Power Awards. Dawn to Life was also a finalist in the inaugural Independant Games Festival: Mobile awards for Achievement in Art and Audio Achivement.
From the game's launch in September 2007, until March 1, 2008, the game sold 820,000 units for the North American & Western European territories and ranked 61st of the top 100 selling video games of the last 12 mo.
In THQ's 2007 holiday quarter sales conference call with investors, THQ President and CEO said the publisher was pleased with the performance of the franchise and that the game sold several hundred thousand units worldwide for the holiday season. Also, over THQ's past three fiscal quarters its DS sales had risen 94%, primarily driven by Drawn to Life.
The game was very well received in Australia making its debut on the Top 10 Australian sales chart for all platforms at #3. It continued to stay on the Top 10 sales chart over the next two months until Christmas.
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