Nintendo sure are paving a new way for the so called ‘self improvement games.’ We had the likes of Brain Academy which claimed to increase your brain power. Then we had the number of cooking games released which of course, teached you how to cook. Now Nintendo have released Art Academy which teaches users how to draw. Art’s a funny thing. You either have it or you don’t. Can Art Academy turn art novices into people that can draw a respectable looking piece of art?
On opening the game you’re greeted by some pleasant music that would probably be suited to Zelda’s Kakiro Village or your own village in games such as Animal Crossing. You’re mentor for the game is a bearded and predicatably artistic looking man known as Vince (an ode to Van Gough?)
You’re taken through the game in a series of tutorials starting from the very basics such as outlining to the more complicated concepts. It’s a good way of taking you through as it doesn’t rush you and teaches you just as a real art teacher probably would. It could have done with better pacing perhaps as it goes on through certain concepts a little longer than desired. I found that my drawings were never as good as the in game teachers however and whilst this is expected and normal, the game could have done with a bit of an error correction system. There were times when I wasn’t quite sure whether I was doing something correctly or not. I actually continued without doing what the game had asked and it still praised me for drawing ‘correctly.’
Responsively, the DS stylus acts just like a real art tool would. You’re presented with a variety of pencils ranging from HB to 2B and a choice of different brushes. The game is pressure sensitive and the harder you push down, the more bolder the overall result will be. It’s a nice realistic touch.
The game also gives you a large variety of colours from its pallete. You’re bound to find pretty much any colour you want. Rather than selecting them however, you’re made to mix them yourself and whilst this is probably implemented to promote an awareness of the colour pallete, some might find this method a little bit too inconvenient.
The menu’s and in game icons are nicely positioned. You’ll never find that they’ll get in your way when painting and they’ll dissapear when not needed.
Once you’ve finished the short tutorial section, you can go into the free paint option where you’re given a selection of pictures to try out your new found skills with although some might get bored quickly. Art afficionado’s might not find this game very useful as it teaches concepts that they probably already know.
Overall, Art Academy is another nice addition to Nintendo’s series of self help games. It’s nicely presented and the sound is pleasant. It is let down however by its quick tutorial mode and replayability that doesn’t do much to keep you playing the game.
+ Very pleasing presentation and sound
+Definately improves artistic ability
- Feels like a beginners only game and not for established artists
- You don’t know if you’re going wrong or not.