Merry Christmas and a happy new year, guys! I’ve returned after a nice long hibernation and received lots of new games for Christmas!
We’ll start with Pokémon: Art Academy, a game I’ve been using as a relaxation tool in between Hyrule Warriors and Fantasy Life (that’s right, we’re going to be talking about those too!)
Now, for those of you who are just now coming across my blog, I’m a graphic designer, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this game appealed to me; however, it may not appeal to you if you don’t like spending more than 10 minutes on a drawing to make it look like the best drawing you’ve ever created, and especially not if you don’t like Pokémon.
The game starts off by introducing you to the academy, the game will ask if you’re a boy or girl (this only affects the gender of the person who takes the classes with you in the game), what your name is, and if you’re right or left handed. You enter the academy and jump in with some starter lessons where the professor introduces you to some basic tools, such as the pastel stick and eraser. Your first assignment is to draw Pikachu’s face in a very amateurish fashion. As the game progresses, the lessons become increasingly more challenging, and if you’ve never had much experience with drawing with the DS, you may get frustrated. Luckily, there are undo and redo buttons.
Your classmate, or “rival”, depending on which gender you choose, will always be there to make you feel better about your bad drawings.
The rival never improves, but you will. Once the tools are played around with after a while, you start to get the feel for your DS’s calibration and how to manipulate the tools yourself. The professor will gradually introduce you to the new media, such as the paintbrush, smudge tool, spray paint can, and so on. If you’re not sure you’re ready to move on, you can always do the mini lessons. The mini lessons are found on the lessons screen, and are the ones with the smaller pictures.
Your next assignment is another portrait of a Pokémon, but with more detail.
Then a full body Pokémon.
After that, you’re more or less just being introduced to the various tools and techniques. You never actually have to finish the lessons either to advance in the game, you could scribble all over the canvas and skip to the end and you’d still move on to the next course.
The game allows you to add backgrounds to the drawings, or plain colors, or no background at all. As you work, you can use the D-pad to change between the eraser and your current tool. You can change the opacity, the size, and you can zoom in on your artwork to get those hard to reach places.
Your final project to graduate from the academy is to draw one final picture of Pikachu.
Once you graduate from the academy, you unlock bonus lessons. I haven’t started on these yet, but I took a peek at them, and they’re more advanced than the other lessons. You can also do any of the lessons as many times as you want. There’s also free draw where you can use pictures on your DS or draw more Pokémon, and there’s the sketchbook, where the professor gives you sketches to recreate.
As you can see, after meddling with the tools and getting comfortable with the DS’s calibration, my Chespin looks a lot better than my first drawing of Pikachu.
All the drawings you complete are able to be shared, exported, and edited after completion. Though I’ve never played any of the art academy games, and going solely off my experience with this game, I would buy another Art Academy game if given the chance. The lessons are easy to follow, and for beginner artists, creates a nice challenge with a fun subject (Pokémon), and for advanced artists, is a great relaxation method, and can still be challenging and fun.
The music is limited in the game, so if you’re looking for a nice piano solo or any inspiring music in the game, you’re out of luck. The game’s music is upbeat and whimsical, so I keep my DS turned down a majority of the time, and there’s only a couple of tracks to be played.
The graphics are not a key feature of the game since you’re drawing a majority of the time.
Pokémon: Art Academy has been one of my favorite games that I received for Christmas, I can’t wait for Toby to try the game out himself. The lessons are easy to follow, however, if your DS touch screen calibration is off, you may get frustrated. The tools, while there are several, are limited. One of the great features of the game is the ability to use photos from your DS, so you’re not stuck with a Pokémon drawing game, Pokémon: Art Academy is a drawing game, not just a Pokémon drawing game.
My Overall Rating: 8.5/10.0
This is ncdogg,
Phew! That took ages!