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Pictoimage DS Guide

28/09/2007 Family Family Gamer Guide
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Pictoimage DS




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Pictoimage is a game that, like Bakushow DS, revisits some of the simpler drawing functionality and breaths new life into this much overlooked creative aspect of Nintendo's handheld machine.

It's one of those type of game genres...

Party games provide short bursts of fun themed around novel leisure activities. In contrast to sports games that try and recreate the whole experience, party games take one element and create a game around that.

As their name suggests party games are designed to be played with multiple players and work well in a party situation - either an after dinner event or a novelty in the corner of the room throughout the evening.

But why is it any better than the others...

The main set of mini-games revolve around a series of pictures drawn by people of varying ages and abilities. Successfully entering the exact name of the drawn object or scene awards the player points and unlocks further puzzles.

As with Bakushow DS, this is complemented with a variety of multi-player modes. Pictoimage is a little more prescriptive over the structure and content of each contest and as such requires less work from the player. Each of the multiplayer games revolves around identifying or drawing particular objects, places and scenes. Players can add their own additional items to the list of challenges via the options menu.

So what experience should I play this game for...

Players are attracted to the drawing puzzles that unfold before their eyes - as if someone was actually constructing the pictures with pen and paper. This, together with the original artist's name and age, create a real sense of connection to each challenge. Those that enjoyed the Catch Phrase TV series should be familiar with this format, although here there is a simply right or wrong rather than the iconic 'Good answer' or 'Good but its not right' or 'Say what you see' phrases from the TV program.

And when can I take a break...

This is the epitome of pick up and play games, and can last as long or as short as time allows. Multiplayer games tend to last longer - both because they are more competitive and the number of players involved.

This is a great game for who...

Super young players may well get more out of the drawing tutor mode than the main game. This takes players through the basic steps of creating different pictures. The main puzzles each require accurate spelling which for the very young will be a challenge. That said though, this does nudge the game towards the edu-gaming genre.

Intermediates seem the most likely target for this game. Pictoimage suites play in a group setting, particularly a family or social unit.

Expert players, who may want a less prescriptive more open ended experience may be better served by the make your own game approach of Bakushow.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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